Thursday, December 31, 2009

Broken News: America concludes, decade best forgotten

AMERICA—Today it was announced that, pending a final count vote tally, that exit polling had revealed this last weekend’s nationwide referendum on whether to remember, not talk about, or forget the previous decade had concluded with “not remembering” winning with a 74% share of the vote.

While the full scope and design of the willful forgetfulness America has elected to conjure on January 1st remains unclear, a preliminary panel has been convened to create both a plausible backstory for the memory loss as well as credible explanations for technological advancements and changes the country has undergone over the past 10 years.

Until some of the preliminary details are sketched out, Americans have been advised that when they awake of Friday morning, they are to act as if they were awaking from a long slumber, without any recollection of any of the events that happened over the past decade. Given that most of the country will have gotten black out drunk the previous night, this is expected to be rather easily initially.

Citizens are to keep from discussing history or make any references to the past 10 years until such a time as the Historical Revision Committee has issued an explanation for what happened.

“Look, it is essential that we as a country stick with this lie, I cannot stress this enough,” explained Dr. Samuel Seward, one of the newly announced members of the hastily assembled committee. “The longer we stick to it and the more forcefully we assert that it must be true, the easier it will be to convince ourselves that it is true. Just shut up, keep your head down, and when anyone mentions they can’t remember the last decade, just nod and say ‘Me too.’ Do not fuck this up for us.”

While no official explanation has yet been decided upon, sources say that the HRC currently is considering two ideas.

In the first, all manner of trees, plants, and various flora will have turned on mankind, releasing a memory altering neurotoxin that blocked out the past 10 years, much like the plot of The Happening.

One scientist on the project was overheard to remark, “People loved The Happening, right?”

The second and more popular idea floating around is that America was invaded and conquered by an alien race, who forced us to build them some great weapon for some nebulous intergalactic purpose that we couldn’t ever possibly comprehend. Once work was completed, the aliens left and wiped our memories.

“Personally I think this is the perfect explanation,” observed Adam Weiss, a historian tasked with eliminating a 10 years worth of news archives from the internet.

“First, it can explain so much. The high unemployment is from all the people left jobless now that the aliens no longer need us to build their weapon. It also explains our decaying infrastructure as the aliens would have moved all of our resources and efforts into building this space gun. It explains the shitty economy because the only thing that had been fueling our economy for a decade is now off to fight an intergalactic war. Plus it also explains why we haven’t made any progress on the environment or anything of note; because we were building a giant laser! It’s perfect!”

Following that logic, things like hybrid cars, increased internet speeds, HDTV, and the iPod would be explained away as technology we were able to steal from the aliens, which, at this stage, are being envisioned as some sort of giant space dogs that dressed like highly advanced Vikings.

When asked how this project was going to explain major events like 9/11, the war in Iraq, and the devastation of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, group members were admittedly unsure. But, they did say that while they were working on solutions to those questions, they were not deeming them a necessary priority.

“It’s not like Americans even remember or discuss them now, so why should we try to come up with an explanation,” observed one panel member. “We’ll just classify it under the subheading of ‘unexplainable magic’.”

For now, American’s are being advised to “just go with it” and are being told that the only alternative is to not only remember what happened over the past decade, but to take responsibility for it.

“Who wants that,” asked Dr. Seward. “I have hopes that we’ll be able to use this collective lie we’re entering into to actually move us forward without any of the diversions of the past 10 years, but I’m not hopeful. At the very least this will allow me to pretend that Dick Cheney, the Black Eyed Peas, that guy with the puppets who is always on TV now, the American auto industry, and my lying whore of a wife not only didn’t occur, but also didn’t sleep with any of my lab assistants.”

He concluded, “Fuck you, Judith!”

For now, the country is expected to spend the next few days walking around confused, rubbing their eyes, and asking “What happened’ a lot. Soon after they are advised to marvel at the “new” technologies they find they have and remark with astonishment that a black guy is now running the country.

As the days move on, the Historical Revision Committee will issue findings and explanations which are then to be accepted and repeated as fact. After an appropriate cover story and whitewash of contrary evidence has been performed, society will be expected to move on with a new purpose. Those on the committee expect this whole process will take upwards of a month.

“Seriously,” Dr. Seward repeated forcefully. “Do not fuck this up for us.”

America word good

That's right America, for the first time since the invention of the TV, America's dependence on the boob tube declined as its reading levels actually increased with the development of new technologies. Sure, most of what we're reading is instructions on how to properly download porn, captions of cats who think they can has cheezburger, and news stories about the decline on newspapers, but it all still counts. The average American consumed 3.6 billion terabytes of information last year, or 11.8 hours of information consumption per day.

So walk a little taller, America. You may have replaced books and magazines with Twitter and texting, but you can technically be described as reading more. And isn't that the best kind of societal advancement; one divorced from any sort of context but adhering to such a rigid classification that it counts under a stringent interpretation of the rules?

Sorry, you probably didn't understand that last sentence. Can haz read moar? Gud hoo-man, gud read making. Iz samrter now.

Video of the day

Paul F. Tompkins and Ben Acker discuss the confusing ethical and moral questions that arise in a zombie biting situation.

Not that I'll ever be bitten and turned when the zombies rise up to destroy humanity (point of fact: I'll probably rule a post-zombie apocalypse world), but I also wish to state definitively and for the record that I am also not to be shot should I be bitten. Not because of any fears over death, but because I will wish my zombie corpse to gain a measure of revenge over the incompetent lackwits that I surrounded myself with and almost assuredly caused my zombification.

Lying liar of the year

As it is the end of the year, Media Matters has come out with it's Misinformer of the Year "award". It's not so much an award as it is a call for rotten fruit to be thrown at said person and perhaps a suggestion that a national public square should be built in Washington with a national stockade, where the lying dregs of this nation can be offered up for public humiliation and eggings from disaffected youth.

Unsurprisingly Glenn Beck won the award. Really, who else could it be? His lying stats were simply Ruthian, with Beck eclipsing 60 majorly dishonest whoppers in a single television season, a staggering 4-to-1 lie to truth ratio, proved the statistical importance of crazy diagrams, bizarre skits, and weeping paens in measuring lunacy, and generally made an ass of himself on a daily basis. Not only did he do all this, but he did it while tragically not being in a fatal car accident and after revelations arose that he might have raped and murdered a young girl in 1990.

I think we all need to just take a moment to sit down and spend a few seconds remembering all that Glenn has done this year. Because what we witnessed was epic crazy of the type unlikely to be reached again. It makes me a little sad inside. Anyway, here's Glenn's highlight reel. He truly is the king.

Russia: saving our asses

Space. It may seem benign, what with all the pretty pictures of it we post in our picture of the day feature, but in reality it is a ticking time bomb of murder just waiting to lob some Texas sized kill rock at us in a wanton act of aggression. I know this. You know this. Science knows this. Most importantly: Russia knows this.

Out there, right now, some large chunk of debris is out there waiting to do to us what they already did to the dinosaurs. But where the dinosaur's asteroid deflection technology was laughably inadequate, ours is strong. You see, the thunder lizards didn't have Vladimir Putin.
In an interview today with Voice of Russia radio, Russia’s space agency chief said discussions would begin soon over a plan to save the world from a collision with a massive asteroid.

It’s not clear how, exactly, the Russians plan to deflect Apophis, a chunk of rock the size of two and a half soccer fields that was first discovered by astronomers in 2004. Anatoly Perminov, the space agency head, promised that there would be “no nuclear explosions” and that everything would be done “on the basis of the laws of physics.”

Astronomers initially guessed that Apophis had a reasonably good chance of smashing into Earth on its first flyby; NASA now reckons that the chances of that have gone from slim (one-in-45,000) to almost none (four-in-a million). But despite the lower NASA estimate, the Russians aren’t so sure. Perminov said the asteroid “will surely collide with the Earth in the 2030s.”
You can't fool the Russian with your mathematical projections and theoretical models. There is one thing that everyone in Russia knows: that fucking rock is going to fucking end life as we know it and it's up to their country to stop it. Sure, the asteroid absolutely won't hit us in 2029, but there's an infinitesimally small change that Apophis will hit a gravity well and swing back around for the kill shot in 2036. Sure the chance that it'll happen is about the same as you winning the lottery while being attacked by a shark that's being attacked by killer bees, but do you think Prime Minister Putin wears a chain-mail suit and a beekeepers outfit every time he scratches off an instant lottery ticket? For fun? No, because he doesn't trust the odds.

So don't worry about that asteroid you weren't worried about and science says that you should in no way be worried about. Russia has got a handle on it and they totally swear they won't fire nukes at it. How will they do it then? Don't know. Maybe Putin will be flown up into orbit shirtless and he'll allow the asteroid to collide with his brawny chest, destroying the interstellar nuisance. Maybe they'll attack rockets to Apophis and move it out of position. They'll probably just end up firing nukes at it. In any event, we at These Bastards commend Russia for taking unnecessary space action towards a non-existent threat. Someone has to do it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cheap Blogging Crutch 12.30

How much did Tiger Woods cost shareholders?
We all know what Tiger Woods' appetite for incredibly trashy bar skanks costs him: his status as the most ungodly boring athlete on the face of the planet, a perfectly good set of golf clubs that is now dented and covered in car paint, a car, and a number of endorsements. I heard John Daly walked up to Tiger and told him that he "really needed to pull himself together" because he was "acting reckless and damaging his reputation." There is no lower indignity. But what's happeneing to all the companies that hitched their wagon to the seemingly unstoppably mundane juggernaut known as the Tiger Woods marketing persona? They lost somewhere in the neighborhood of $5-12 billion in stock value. Ouch. Well at least Tiget got to sleep with some real classy ladies. I'm sure that's of real comfort to EA, Nike, and Gatorade stockholders.

How Algal Biofuels Lost a Decade in the Race to Replace Oil
Wired Science looks at how one of the best sources for biofuels, algae, got started and eventually fell by the funding wayside in the transition from Carter's alternate fuels programs to Reagan's OILOILOIL and tongue kissing Saddam programs. On the negative side, we lost decades worth of research into a very promising field. On the bright side, the recent stimulus package and increase in science funding has pumped money back into algae biofuel. The downside? That money is going to run out in a few years. If only we could get some way to turn algae into corn, there would probably be more support for the initiative.

Barley + Space = Space Beer!
Space beer. Do I actually have to say a third word? Fine, Japan (could it have been anyone else) sent up barley grains that spent 5 months on the International Space Station. Now, Sapporo is making 250 six packs and selling them through a lottery for $150. The money raised is going to fund science education. It should be used to fund more space beer. Is These Bastards the only ones who sees the possibility: moon water + space barley = zero G brain lubricant. Let's get on top of this shit Sapporo, if I can't actually visit a moon base, I want to be albe to get 3 sheets to the wind on space beer. Chop chop. Make it happen.

Star Wars Weather Forecast
I know what you're all thinking: what planet in the Star Wars galaxy does the weather outside most resemble? Well now, thanks to Tom Scott, you don't have to wonder. Just type in your zip code or city name and you'll know. It also helps you learn the Star Wars planet names if you're one of those uncultured swine who can't rattle off 40-50 imaginary planets in some macho display of nerd intelligence and misspent youth.

Not again! Giant Swedish Christmas goat statue gets torched

The good people of Stockholm are trying to create a Christmas tradition for their city: building a giant straw statue of a Yule goat, the Swedish precursor to God's son and the savior of man, Santa Claus. Unfortunately, Stockholm hooligans, most likely named Lars or Henrik, have decided upon their own Christmas tradition: evading the security surrounding the giant straw goat in order to set it ablaze. Guess which tradition is winning out? Fire trumps all.

Broken in Brief: After appropriate period of mourning, porn stars fight over really great porn name

LOS ANGELES—After an mourning period of over two weeks, today members of the porn community began to fight over which one of them would legitimately take over the moniker of ‘Oral Roberts,' that of the famous Pentecostal televangelist who died on December 15th.

The name, which had been successfully been kept out of porn due to legal threats from the powerful minister and his church, is now expected to provide an influx of hundreds of thousands of dollars to whomever should grab the name in what is sure to be an epic and erotic fight.

“I think we all remember the tremendous boon the death of the Reverend Buck Naked was to the career of the porn star Buck Naked,” observed Dan Hemmings, associate editor for Adult Video News.

“People in this industry have been waiting for this man to drop dead ever since we reclassified the word ‘Oral’ to have something to do with mouth sex as a prank on the old bastard. Remember that? ‘Oral’ used to mean ‘of or relating to the sheet metal fabrication process.' Now it means taking a shot in the mouth!”

Among those who are expected to vie for the name in graphically recorded detail are several established porn veterans as well as the litany of 18 year old newcomers that show up in the porn industry everyday thanks to Greyhound’s new bus service that will transit any of-age girl from the Midwest to Larry Flynt’s house for the low, low price of $49.

Hemmings concluded, “And the best thing about whomever eventually lands this name? No matter what deviant sex acts they perform under the title it won’t be enough to disgrace the name of a man who used to proclaim fraudulent healing powers in order to bilk destitute pensioners out of millions and stole money from the university he founded!”

Art of the day

From Bibliodyssey and the people of Nuclear Engineering International, comes this graphical reproductions of nuclear reactors built in the seventies and early eighties. You know, just in case you ever get caught in Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong and not only need to what the condenser tube material is made of (titanium), but also need to know whether the in-core instrumentation room is next to the safety injection accumulator (it is). It happens to me all the fucking time.

Click to really, really embiggen.

Headline of the day

This is exactly how I want to die, even down to the exact navy that guns me down in a blaze of glory. I don't even have to be a cartel kingpin, I just want people to talk about my passing in these terms: "Oh you didn't hear about Matt? Yeah, tragic shit. He was shot to death in a firefight with the Mexican navy. They gunned him down, man... in cold blood. ...Fuckin' Mexican navy, they don't fuck around."

All in all, what with the frozen shark drug bust, it's been a banner year for the Armada de México.

Quote of the day

From today's Washington Post story on e-mails from inside AIG during that whole period where they were destroying the world economy, comes a little gem from AIGFP executive Tom Athan on how much fun he wasn't having.
In late July, Goldman Sachs, one of the firm's largest trading partners, challenged Financial Products' numbers, asserting that Goldman's calculations showed a significant drop in the swaps' value. That drop, Goldman contended, triggered provisions in the swaps contracts requiring AIG to post hundreds of millions of dollars in collateral to protect Goldman against the apparent escalation in risk.

"They are not budging and are acting irrational," Tom Athan, a Financial Products executive, wrote on Aug. 2 to Forster after a tense conference call with Goldman employees.
Athan added, "This isn't what I signed up [for]. Where are the big trades, high fives and celebratory closing dinners you promised?"
Awwww, poor baby. The man signed up for lobster and caviar in the champagne room and and he got was obscenely rich off schemes that bankrupted the planet, the repercussions of which he then had actually deal with as part of his job. Oh the indignity! Oh the unfairness!

Perhaps it has just slipped my mind, but is there anyone in the whole financial and banking industries that has come off looking... well I won't say 'good', but looking reasonably like something that resembles a human being and not some sort of cold blooded, underground dwelling reptoid creature that feasts on misery and toddlers that accidentally stray too far from their parents? I'm not asking for much, perhaps an executive who killed himself and mentioned the word "shame" in his suicide note or a Goldman-Sachs rep who gave a homeless guy in excess of a dollar while cameras were rolling. Something, because otherwise I'm thinking there isn't one.

That's different

Hey, remember back a few years ago when Richard Reid tried to blow up an airplane with his shoes and failed? Remember how he was arrested, put on trial within the American legal system, and sentenced to serve a life sentence in an American prison? And how all of this happened under the watchful eye of the Bush Administration and DHS Secretary Tom Ridge? Well, if you're remembering something like that, it's probably because someone has tampered with your memories. THAT NEVER HAPPENED, DO YOU UNDERSTAND? THAT NEVER HAPPENED!

In fact, despite the similarities between the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber, even down to the explosive type, the fact that we're going to try Abdulmutallab in a court with laws and shit just proves that President Obama is a week-kneed weak weak-ass who is weakening the country with his weaky weaking on matters of national strongness. Letting this man into our legal system is a violation of all we stand for. Just listen to former DHS head and hypocrite Tom Ridge:
"I take a look at this individual who has been charged criminally, does that mean he gets his Miranda warnings? The only information we get is if he volunteers it?" Ridge said. "He's not a citizen of this country. He's a terrorist, and I don't think he deserves the full range of protections of our criminal justice system embodied in the Constitution of the United States."
Hell, even Former Vice-President Cheney came out to opine on the matter, grunting the same line of cliches he usually does out of whatever orifice it is he speaks out of these days:
"As I've watched the events of the last few days it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war. He seems to think if he has a low key response to an attempt to blow up an airliner and kill hundreds of people, we won't be at war. He seems to think if he gives terrorists the rights of Americans, lets them lawyer up and reads them their Miranda rights, we won't be at war. He seems to think if we bring the mastermind of 9/11 to New York, give him a lawyer and trial in civilian court, we won't be at war.
But we are at war and when President Obama pretends we aren't, it makes us less safe. Why doesn't he want to admit we're at war?"
Because he's a liberal pussy that hates America? I thought we were all clear on this.

But what is their response to the fact that when they had a crazy foreign Muslim come to this country and fail to blow up an airliner with a hidden cache of PETN, that they felt it OK to arrest him (the shame), Mirandize him (the horror), charge him in US courts (Constitution shattering), try him in US courts (shanking freedom in the gut), and house him in US prisons (retroactively negating America through a time-space wormhole)?
*crickets chirping* *silence* *off in the distance... a wolf howls*
I'm sure they meant to say "That never happened" or, if someone actually points out that it did happen, a nicely timed "Well, circumstances were different" ought to suffice. I just think it's a shame both of these guys couldn't come out a dramatically/hypocritically politicize this on the day it happened. We're five days past it. These guys must be slipping.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Broken News: Study reveals that most bibles are purchased in order to conceal weapons

STATESBORO—As both the Christmas season and fiscal year come to a close, today the National Association of Religious Manufacturers released a troubling statistical survey on the religious habits of Americans. According to their figures, nearly 90% of all new bibles are purchased solely for the purpose of hollowing them out and storing some kind of item inside, usually a stabbing implement.

The study, which was jointly confirmed by the National Organization of Catholic Churches, raises new questions about the beliefs and practices of the US religious community.

“I suspected the number of bibles used to hide drugs, money, or a shiv that you wish to jab in the neck of a prison snitch who knows just a little too much about your business would be high. But to see that almost no one is buying a bible to actually read it? That’s just not something I was prepared for,” remarked Jasper Boykins of the Catholic League.

In fact according to the study, the most common items stored inside on a hollowed out bible were methamphetamines, a shiv made from a bedpost, a shiv made from a toothbrush, a knife that had been smuggled inside someone’s ass, a shiv made out of mess hall utensils, and a shiv made out of a smaller, hardcover bible.

“Statistically speaking it’s mostly shivs or any object that can be used to stab or 'knife fuck' as the kids call it. Prison is a shiv and shank based society,” observed Dr. Henry Farkins, a Professor of Statistics at the University of Georgia who ran the study. “What I found most interesting is that most people preferred to use the old school method of carving out a hollow inside the bible that conformed to the shape of the object they were hiding. In my dealings with bibles I’ve found that’s the most reliable may to hide a killing implement while still maintaining the structural integrity that a bible needs to sustain to remain a sufficient object of deception.”

“Now some will just hollow out a rectangle, preferring instead to use the bible as a more generalized carrying case for all manner of murderous gew-gaws, deadly curios, and Sudafed meth. A lethal hope chest if you will,” continued Farkins. “But you’re just opening yourself up to suspicious rattling noises and an improper weight distribution in case someone picks up your bible to comment on just how devout you are.”

But while ‘concealing an imminent or upcoming attack or murder’ was the reason most commonly cited in new bible purchases, it was not the only one. Also rating highly were ‘concealing flask/alcoholism from wife’, ‘concealing stolen cash from post-church collection plate money count’, ‘using as a prop to convince evangelicals that you’ve already been converted and no longer need to hear about the miracle of Jesus Christ’, and ‘used to dramatically reveal to a crooked, religious warden that the full weight of his criminal dealings are about to come crashing down on him’.

“Ooh, that’s a good one,” exclaimed Dr. John Stephens, a mathematician whose own work studying the relation of how the size of the cross on someone’s wall was inversely proportionate to how religiously superior they wanted to feel to guests in their home was cited as an inspiration in this study.

“I mean you’ve spent all that time concealing the warden’s criminal activities, then, on the night you escape, you leave the bible with a note telling the warden how you’ve mailed off all the incriminating evidence to the authorities and media, finishing it off with a sarcastic quote from the book about judgment or justice. Classic bible usage!”

What this means for the church or religious manufacturers is not yet fully known, but already some companies are moving to scrap their bible lines in order to sell pre-hollowed out religious texts. It’s is expected that the money saved on printing and paper costs will lead to a surge in profits for 2010.

But these early measures are already being criticized as “missing the point.”

“Look, the relationship between a man and his bible is important,” explained Dr. Farkins. “When a man buys a bible he is making a commitment to himself to hollow it out to his own specifications to hide whatever it is he needs to hide from the prying and judgmental eyes of others. You can’t take that experience away from people.”

“We have to remember why the bible was created in the first place: as a means of hiding dangerous weapons or secrets, the discovery of which would result in damaging personal repercussions from the surrounding community. That’s why they call it The Good Book.”

“Besides,” he finished. “What else are you going to do with the thing? Read it?”

Picture of the day

Who is this? Why it's Craig Lynch, a September escapee from England’s Suffolk’s Hollesley Bay Prison who is using Facebook to taunt the UK police who have been searching for him for months.

Let me just check to make sure he isn't a rapist or murderer... check done. It's burglary. Alright. Well done, Craig.

If you'd like to become friends with Craig and follow his updates as he evades the police, his Facebook page is here.

Chart of the day

From the good people at, uh, comes a chart showing how you can eat locally and seasonally as a way to cut down on the carbon footprint, travel, and various economic and environmental costs that surrounds much of our food industry.

Bah, if God didn't want me to eat strawberries in December, he wouldn't have created South America and exploitative import policies.

Important climate question

Hey, I'm so science weather expert, but I was wondering something. Is it a good thing or a bad thing when the temperature goals that scientists are trying to achieve with the recent round of climate talks in Copenhagen are still filled with scenarios like this:
2C – The temperature limit the scientists want

The heatwaves seen in Europe during 2003, which killed tens of thousands of people, will come back every year with a 2C global average temperature rise. Southern England will regularly see temperatures around 40C in summer. The Amazon turns into desert and grasslands, while increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere make the world's oceans too acidic for remaining coral reefs and thousands of other marine lifeforms. More than 60 million people, mainly in Africa, would be exposed to higher rates of malaria. Agricultural yields around the world will drop and half a billion people will be at greater risk of starvation. The West Antarctic ice sheet collapses, the Greenland ice sheet melts and the world's sea level begins to rise by seven metres over the next few hundred years. Glaciers all over the world will recede, reducing the fresh water supply for major cities including Los Angeles. Coastal flooding affects more than 10 million extra people. A third of the world's species will become extinct as the 2C rise changes their habitats too quickly for them to adapt.
Might I remind you that it's this 2C temperature rise that our own government and most every other government on earth is dramatically failing to meet or even take any kind of real action on. No, it's more and more likely that we'll see 3C or even 4C temperature rises over the next few decades. What do those scenarios look like?
4C - Possible with an extremely weak deal

You mistakenly leave your hermetically sealed climate bunker with your family in some fit of malnutrition induced insanity. The sun instantaneously cooks the brain of your wife inside her skull, lobotomizing her. As you look up to the sky and plead for mercy from a God that either never existed or has long since stopped caring about humanity, your eyeballs char and explode as your children are swept away by the unruly tide that laps at the edge of your oceanfront property in Green Bay, Wisconsin. As you hear their cries and erratically attempt to grope for their flailing limbs, you start to think that maybe you shouldn't have placed so much faith in the scientific integrity of oil companies.

Man, you don't even want to see the 5C scenarios. Suffice to say "Mesquite smoked humans" become the only remaining race and the scuba industry is the world's most dominant economic force.

But I hope you're prepared for that eventuality, because even phrases like "half a billion people will be at greater risk of starvation", predictions of persistent coastal flooding, dramatically increased malaria rates, and the extinction of 1/3 of all species can't even persuade leaders to act. So start using BBQ sauce as a sunscreen, invest heavily in scuba manufacturing and you'll be sitting pretty for the future. It's really the only option.

That Iran stuff is still happening

As you may be aware, protests have sprung up again in Iran with government backed violence, political assassinations, arrests, and threats of more government backed violence occurring on a daily basis. Actually, if you watch TV news you aren't aware.

I know what you're saying, "This shit is still going on? But my Twitter location is still listed as Tehran, I don't understand why that didn't work." I know, I don't understand either. Perhaps Khamenei and Ahmadinejad just don't understand just how forcefully people meant it when they clicked on Settings and scrolled all the way down to Location. But not to worry, our political establishment, when it isn't calling for the carpet bombing of these protesters, is fully in support of these protests with all the might that cheap, cheap words can provide. President Barry explains:
The United States joins with the international community in strongly condemning the violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens, which has apparently resulted in tensions, injuries and even death.
Along with all free nations, the United States stands with those who seek their universal rights. We call upon the Iranian government to abide by the international obligations that it has to respect the rights of its own people. We call for the immediate release of all who have been unjustly detained within Iran. We will continue to bear witness to the extraordinary events that are taking place there. And I am confident that history will be on the side of those who seek justice.

So you see Iranian protesters, you have history and the rightness of your beliefs on your side. I really hope that's enough to withstand a basij guard and police force that is firing automatic weapons at you, because that's all we are going to provide right now; moral support from a distance.

Actually we do have one more thing to offer you: sanctions! Now I know what you Iranian protesters might be saying to yourselves, "How will sanctions that will almost invariably negatively affect the very people who are protesting, do additional harm to the freedom movement, while almost certainly not moving the Iranian government closer to any of your goals, actually help?" I don't know. But it will make us look tough and like we're taking substantive action, so shut up.

Fuck it, you know what I'm going to do for you? I'm going to Twitter, clicking Settings, scrolling down to Location and putting in Tehran... in all caps. Maybe I'll add a few exclamation points. We'll see if I can't get this government toppled by mid-January at the latest.

We are a serious country governed by serious people

With all the furor and scrutiny surrounding Homeland Security and the TSA over the failed Detroit bombing, you would think that the heads of both branches would be in for some criticism. Of course DHS head Janet Napolitano has been taking fire over her contention that "the system worked", but why haven't we heard anything from or about the head of the TSA for their failures? Oh, that's right, there is no head of the TSA and there hasn't been for nearly a year. That's probably a good idea, it doesn't seem like an important position.
An attempt to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day would be all-consuming for the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration — if there were one.

The post remains vacant because Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has held up President Barack Obama's nominee in opposition to the prospect of TSA workers joining a labor union.
Yeah, who needs to worry about airline security and the leadership of the organization behind most of it when there's a cheap political attack to make on the concept of unions? I'm sure complex agencies like the TSA run themselves and it's best that there's no boss type figure there to confuse everyone with uniform goals, policies, implementation, or structure. Hell, if that happens you might get confusion and some nut with C4 in his Jockey's might be able to slip through. No, thankfully Jim DeMint is there to stop the confusion that a properly run organization can cause.

Thankfully these kind of forward thinking and meaningful Seante holds are common practice on Obama Administration nominations. Out of some 200 open nominations only 75 have gotten past delaying tactics in committees to face the delaying tactics of the Senate floor. But you must understand that the reason we didn't have something like a US Trade Rep for a long time (and in this economy who needs one) is for very important reasons of principle.
One of those finally approved was Miriam Sapiro, who had become the Obama administration’s prime example of stalled nominations since being chosen in April to be a deputy United States trade representative. Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky, put a hold on the confirmation of Ms. Sapiro, an Internet policy consultant, to try to pressure the trade representative’s office to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization against Canada over a law that bans cigarettes with candy flavors.
See! Candy flavored cigarettes. Whining about unions. Important shit.

I'm just glad we have serious individuals like Jim Bunning and Jim DeMint out there looking out for this country in a serious manner. A properly run government and properly run government agencies aren't important, candy flavored cigarettes are. I'm just glad someone finally had the balls to stand up and say so.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Cheap Blogging Crutch 12.28

The Big Zero
Economic killjoy Paul Krugman, fresh of prognosticating an economic contraction for next year, rehashes all the ways in which the US shat itself over the past decade. Near zero job creation, private sector employment declines (a first!), lower median household income, no gains for homeowners, 25% of people owing more on their house than it is worth, zero gains on stocks, it was revealed that Santa and the Easter Bunny never existed, and we all found out that everyone we ever thought loved or cared for us... didn't. On the bright side, we're not all slaves to some intergalactic overlord. Otherwise, you were better off a decade ago. Happy new year!

New groups join climate lobby fray
If the inherent laziness and incompetence of the Senate wasn't enough to buckle your knees over the prospects for climate legislation, then the Politico wants to smash a five iron right into your kneecap. That's right: a rundown of all the various lobbying interests that are gearing up to make sure you die sunburned and waist deep in melted ice cap. But it's not all bad, while one half of the lobbyists won't admit that global warming exists, there a whole other side of lobbyists who will admit that climate change is real... just that nothing should be done about it now. It's that kind of debate that makes this country great.

Green Giant: Beijing’s crash program for clean energy
As our elected betters can't figure out a decent way to address either the climate problems, energy independence, or the development of new energy technologies our soon to be global overlords in China have been aggressively funding science endeavors through the 863 Program and have, in recent years, drastically expanded their energy technology programs. What aggressive scientific funding measure is the US taking? Uh, $50 million for abstinence only education in the health reform bill counts as science funding, right? Hopefully they'll give us access to all their work once we've defaulted on all the money we owe them and they take over. Maybe they'll give us extra money for abstinence education too.

7 Tipping Points That Could Transform Earth
Just in case you didn't have enough global calamities to worry about, Wired Science came through with 7 examples of conditions whereupon an irreversible tipping point could be reached and the world could spiral inexorably towards apocalyptic calamity. Strangely not on the list: dithering world leaders and governments that recognize a problem but don't actually want to do anything about it. That's probably because we've already hit that tipping point. Ah well, personally I hope we're hit with the Gulf Stream catastrophe. That's what happened in The Day After Tomorrow and I'll be damned if it was two and a half hours of white knuckle excitement.


1. the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.
2. Obsolete. the heart as the source of emotion.
3. Earning millions of dollars as a backup QB after an incident where you murdered dogs for fun and profit and went to jail.

Michael Vick’s peers appreciate his tough journey back to the NFL. Vick won the Ed Block Courage Award, voted on by his teammates on the Philadelphia Eagles. The once-disgraced star quarterback returned to the league after spending 18 months in a federal prison for his role in a dogfighting ring.
”I’ve overcome a lot, more than probably one single individual can handle or bear,” Vick said. ”You ask certain people to walk through my shoes, they probably couldn’t do.

1. the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance, rank, etc.
2. having the balls to claim that overcoming the media and legal scrutiny that came as a result of your own crippling stupidity and despicable personhood is some point of pride while simultaneously claiming that the 99.9% of the populace that isn't dumb enough to do what you did couldn't ever show the courage you did, again failing to note that this whole situation was of your own making.

Senate to America: Waaaah, work is hard

After struggling to kinda, sorta, almost pass health care reform this year on top of all the hard work they did greasing the skids for Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke to give everyone's money to Wall Street, moderate Senate Democrats have a message to those who want them to take action on climate change: boo hoo, addressing large, complex problems is hard, we don't wanna, you can't make us.
Bruised by the health care debate and worried about what 2010 will bring, moderate Senate Democrats are urging the White House to give up now on any effort to pass a cap-and-trade bill next year.

“I am communicating that in every way I know how,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), one of at least a half-dozen Democrats who've told the White House or their own leaders that it's time to jettison the centerpiece of their party's plan to curb global warming.
“We need to deal with the phenomena of global warming, but I think it’s very difficult in the kind of economic circumstances we have right now,” said Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, who called passage of any economywide cap and trade “unlikely.
“I’d just as soon see that set aside until we work through the economy,” said Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).
“Climate change in an election year has very poor prospects,” added Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).
Awww, it'd be hard work and Republicans would call you liberal hippie pussies. Well, guess what? It's hard work precisely because the problem is so large and you've spent decades not doing a fucking thing about it. Plus, you're going to get called liberal hippie pussies even if you nuke Tehran, so get used to it and man up. And not or nothing, but you all talk a big game about doin' stuff for the economy and makin' jobs a priority, but what exactly have you done? If it's such a large priority why are you dicking around and not solving it? The Senate can't do more than one thing at a time?

Can I break something to you? Your jobs? They're about voting on complex shit that has large ramifications to the country and world at large. I'm sorry if that's some great mental burden, but it's what you signed up for. I don't recall anyone standing around saying "Boy, we just gotta force this Ben Nelson fella to run for office" and then voting him in against his will. You don't want to vote on complex important shit that does a lot, costs a lot, and will be used to attack you politically? Well then, might I suggest you figure out what your life's work is and get to it, because being a senator sure as shit isn't it.

Sorry you're expected to do stuff and vote on things. But then again, did you run for office so you could have a nice big nameplate that had the title "Senator" on it or did you actually run to, you know, do something? Sorry, that was a stupid question. I'm sorry this legislation nonsense is getting in the way of you all being Senators. Maybe the next government we create will have some sort of workaround for that. Until then though, could you just maybe try to address more than one issue a year? For us?

The power of prayer

You know how it is sometimes. You get so worked up over pending legislation that you and your fellow group of teabaggers pray unbelievably hard that God will go and smite leaders of the opposition so that they don't have enough votes to pass their little socialist scheme. But then the next day, as you look over the voting rolls, you see that not only did God not kill any Democrats, but that one Republican was unable to make the vote. Then that moment of panic sets in: did my prayer to kill an elected leader go into the Senate floor, miss a Democrat, ricochet around, and hit a Republican?

Well, there's only one thing left to do then: call into CSPAN and ask Sen. John Barrasso if your prayers accidentally killed Jim Inhofe instead of Robert Byrd, like you wanted.

Thankfully Barrasso was there to reassure the man that Sen. Inhofe wasn't killed by an errant prayer, he was probably just holed up in his office denying climate change or evolution or something. Whew! That was a close one.

But just a word of warning to those attempting to use the power of prayer to kill: when you order God to kill your political enemies, you have to put the killing prayer inside a spiritual sniper rifle. If you just try to cram the prayer into a metaphysical missile or a dogmatic cluster bomb, you have no idea just what kind of damage that prayer might do. No, you have to focus the power of your killing prayers. Otherwise, innocent men like Jim Inhofe might get taken down when all you are simply asking God for is the death of Robert Byrd.

It's simple shit, people.

Video of the day

I'm glad there are some people who still remember the old Catholic traditions like the annual Festival of St. Lambert, whereupon a crazy person from a local village is tasked with the duty of subverting security in order to tackle the highest ranking member of the Catholic Church they can find. I congratulate this woman on taking down the big dog. Seems no one taught Benedict how to execute a proper stiff arm or forearm shiver.

So much for papal infallibility.

Picture of the day

Via Space Gizmo and the Aqua satellite comes a look at last week's massive snowstorm which broke records for December snowfall just about everywhere. If you look closely you can see just how much goddamn snow you had to shovel out of your rotten fucking driveway.

Click to really embiggen.

We need to start a new war

What with the revelation that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian terrorist who thought that the US would notice death and destruction in Detroit, had ties to terrorist networks in Yemen, it was only a matter of time before it was made clear to us that Yemen was a place that definitely needed a war started in it. As if on cue Joe Lieberman, a man only good for advocating for new ill thought out wars and stopping things that might benefit actual humans, was right out there telling us all how good America would look in a third war.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, (I-Conn) a renowned hawk and one of the foremost champions of the invasion of Iraq, warned on Sunday that the United States faced "danger" unless it pre-emptively acts to curb the rise of terrorism in Yemen.

"Somebody in our government said to me in Sana'a, the capital of Yemen, Iraq was yesterday's war. Afghanistan is today's war. If we don't act preemptively, Yemen will be tomorrow's war," Lieberman said, during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday". "That's the danger we face."
Compelling. If we don't start a war in Yemen today, we'll have to start a war in Yemen in the future. Makes sense to me. All I want to know is when we can start calling for a surge in Yemen.

I am worried though. How will Joe Lieberman's imaginary war in Yemen affect our imaginary war in Iran? I'm sure Joe wouldn't want a new imaginary war to take away from our theoretical war efforts in Iran that he has advocated for so long, but I'm concerned with the sheer weight, scope, and toll that so many fanciful "brown people go kaboom" conflicts are having. Is America mentally strong enough to have so many hypothetical wars to fight alongside our real ones?

Thankfully we don't have to grapple with such esoteric concerns. No, such serious thoughts are reserved for the very smart men in our government who think that the only solution to any terrorist threat is a bombing run or full scale military conflict in the country that can most easily be linked to said terrorist. Men like Joe Lieberman. Thank God we have him out there, advocating for dozens upon dozens of new wars.

Good to be back

Ahh, it's good to be back from the rest and relaxation of doing nothing during a holiday, to the rest and relaxation that doing nothing while the small fraction of people who have jobs in this country are heading to work. And what happened whilst we were gone? The Senate finally passed their health care bill, I got a free three-month preview of HBO and Cinemax, and a lunatic tried to blow up an airplane. Since we've hashed out the health care bill ad nauseum here and most of you are too self-absorbed and unwilling to admit just how much me getting free movies in HD means to global security and well-being, I guess that means we'll just have to deal with the fallout and pants wetting that is inevitably flowing from the failed terrorist attack.

Yes, for all the billions upon billions we spend on security, homeland defense, wars, and various measures designed to protect us, it seems that the best defense America has is a terrorist fucking up the attack in the exact place he was trying to attack after numerous threats, warnings, and specific descriptions of his goals and beliefs should have had the 5-0 hauling his ass in or, at the very least, not allowing him to board a plane. Maybe that's the future for Homeland Security: no screening, intel, or police work, we just flood the arms market with so many shoddy bomb parts that any weapon Al Qaeda does make is destined to malfunction.

But because we live in an intelligent country filled with so many smart and worthwhile elected leaders, the response to this has been swift and extremely well thought out. There's already been a call to racially profile every Muslim. Jim DeMint used the attacks as an obvious rallying point to... attack unions. Plus there were the standard attempts to Monday Morning QB and place political blame while claiming they weren't doing either. I'm sure in the next days/hours there will be calls for war with Yemen, war with Nigeria, a ham-handed attempt to point out that both the terrorist and the President are black, an attempt to place the blame for this attack on some innocuous section of popular culture (early candidate: hip-hop music), and perhaps a drive to have everyone who enters an airport rectally scanned for any components that could conceivably explode. Because the standard operating procedure of America's leaders after any high media profile terrorism event is to wet themselves and cower in fear for as long as possible while not doing anything effective.

Ahhh, it's good to be back.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Broken News: TMZ abandons overcrowded gossip market to cover real news

HOLLYWOOD—Worlds collided earlier today as the rumor-mongering gossip engine of modern media, TMZ, announced that it would be abandoning its corner of the celebrity news world in order to pursue new avenues in the field of actual journalism. The unholy brainchild of AOL and Warner Bros., which has taken great pride and revenue in directing internet-based media down a shamelessly pathetic path, hopes to re-brand itself as the go-to source for news on the world, politics, the economy, foreign policy, and other such serious journalistic pursuits

“I am sad to announce that we are abandoning the gossip based infotainment sector of the news that we so heartily and successfully pioneered,” announced TMZ managing editor Harvey Levin. “But in this harsh media environment and with the moribund future for the print industry we feel we need to shift gears to stay afloat and viable in the news landscape.”

“Frankly, too many supposed hard news organizations are horning in on our shit” he sighed, anger flashing across his red face.

Slamming his fist on the podium Levin yelled “Well, enough is enough. They want to abandon real news to cover celebrity nonsense? Well, we’ll just go cover Ben Bernanke’s confirmation hearing, Taliban influence in the Kunduz province, and the Copenhagen climate conference. See how they like it.”

Sources close to Levin and TMZ management say that they have been under increasing pressure to make up the increasing drops in revenue that have been occurring with more frequency as formerly legitimate news organizations abandoned traditional journalistic fields for dumpster diving and catty rumor spreading.

Some, including Columbia Professor of Journalism and Media Studies, Dr. William Banks, see opportunities in the field of hard news now that for former mainstream media establishment has ceded the ground.

“There used to be a time when you’d come to us when you wanted to know exactly how many bar skanks Tiger Woods was plowing, how long A-Rod had been plowing Kate Hudson, whether Brad Pitt was still plowing Angelina Jolie or if he had gone back to plowing Jennifer Aniston, and who was too fat to be allowed on TV and in movies.”

Banks continued, “Now you just flip on the network news, 24 hour news, the New York Times, the Washington Post, or wherever. Hell, I just read the Wall Street Journal editorial board writing about Courtney Love losing custody of her kid. I think there’s a real opportunity for TMZ to fill in the areas that traditional media has abandoned.”

“By which I mean all areas that don’t have to do with horse race politics and petty electoral gamesmanship,” Banks clarified.

For now, the response from traditional media outlets has been one of smug triumphalism, with CBS noting that they were content to know that Katie Couric would have to deal with less crowding and elbows while rummaging through Lindsay Lohan’s trash. ABC announced that they were happy that there would be less competition for Barbara Walters to do softball, hazy lensed interviews with the most famous hooker or mistress of the moment.

“This is just the MSM catering to the whims of the American people,” observed Oliver Tilden, media analyst for E’s Lookit! Famous Boobies! program. “The public has decided that the real world is too horrible and depressing to deal with and instead they’d rather focus on seeing celebrities brought down to their level. If TMZ thinks they can woo America with competent reporting on issues that affect their lives, then they’re just sadly mistaken.”

Tilden coldly added, “Just ask the Rocky Mountain News, Tucson Citizen, Kentucky Post, King County Journal, Union City Register-Tribune, Halifax Daily News, Albuquerque Tribune, South Idaho Press, San Juan Star, Capital Times, the Detroit Free Press, Christian Science Monitor, East Valley Tribune, Ann Arbor News, Flint Journal, Bay City Times, Saginaw News, the Hudson Register-Star, the Cincinnati Post, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Baltimore Examiner, and, after next month, the LA Times if covering real news is a good idea.”

TMZ will reportedly ease into hard news coverage, first starting with details on who Tim Geithner is plowing, Taliban weight loss tips, and State Department gossip from six-party talks with North Korea, before hopefully moving into a fully legitimate news operation in the 1st quarter of next year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cheap Blogging Crutch 12.22

COP15: Climate 'scepticism' and questions about sex
Richard Black of the BBC takes a look at why those who are skeptical to downright hostile towards the notion of climate change are almost entirely men. He goes on to wonder why, if the opposition to climate change is such a rigorous and scientific deconstruction of flawed science, why Sarah Palin is the only woman who seems to have signed on. I'm sure it's because she's the only woman smart enough to realize what a hoax it all is. That must be it.

How to Slow Climate Change for Just $15 Billion
A look at how one of the most dangerous and destructive forms of carbon, black carbon, effects temperature and ice levels and how a simple investment in moving developing countries away from using open fires towards using clean stoves would dramatically slow climate change. On the other hand you do lose that "smokehouse" meat flavor that everyone loves, so I can see why no one is really eager to do this.

Uninsured and Dying Because of It
The Urban Institute decides to be dicks and interrupt all of our bitching about what was conceded and compromised in the health care debate to point out the terrible consequences (lower quality of life, increased morbidity and mortality, and higher financial burdens) of not having health insurance in this country. Way to ruin our pity party. Don't you know your dirty facts have no place in a health care debate?

Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones
Want to know how much it costs to hack the feed from a US Predator drone? $26 bucks. That's all it takes for Iranian backed Iraqi insurgents to attempt to subvert America's endless freedom mission. I know what you're saying: "We're still in Iraq?" Well, apparently we are and our military might can be derailed by one Jackson, one Lincoln, and one Dr. Wooden Teeth. Good to know that for all the billions we spend on these weapons systems, that insurgents might have to go to the trouble of borrowing five bucks from a buddy to beat them.

Titanic iceberg headed for Australia
I don't want to alarm any reader of this site who is a big fan of Aussie rules football, but you should be making peace with the fact that the sport you know and love will soon be deader than Dillinger. Also: everyone in Australia. Precious "scientists" might not agree with me, but that's the only end scenario I can envision when a rogue iceberg almost twice the size of Manhattan breaks off of Antarctica and careens towards a nation of criminals. I know what you're thinking: "Isn't this the only disaster idea that Roland Emmerich didn't put into 2012?" The answer is no, he also didn't have the moon crash into the earth. But maybe these two incidents can form the basis for a sequel.

Fed's approach to regulation left banks exposed to crisis
The Washington Post goes out of it's way to really take Ben Bernanke to the woodshed over his stewardship of the Fed both before, during, and after the global financial apocalypse. According to them, he's terrible at his job and couldn't foresee his nose in front of his face. But rest easy; sure he might have failed at the one part of his job he seems interested in and doesn't seem to give a shit about the "getting employment up" half of the Fed's job, but he'll still be reconfirmed to his position by an almost overwhelming margin. I know you were worried about that. Don't be.

Pictures of the day

If you were wondering "Hey, is there a way I could feel any more depressed today?" the good people at the Big Picture blog have an answer for you: "Yes, yes you can. Eat misery, fuckers!"

They have put up their Decade in News Photographs post and it is a truly depressing slog through a serious of ugly events. And there's also a picture of Paris Hilton included. I knew the Washington Post was selling her influence short. That's also truly depressing. Rest easy knowing that at least it's all over.

Video of the day

From the CW's One Tree Hill, which shows us the nightmarish future of our new lives under Obamacare.

Dogs in hospitals, human organs stored loose inside ice machine ice and gas station coolers, clumsy couriers, floors that probably weren't clean either, and implausibly terrible TV dramas on our airwaves. This is what we've wrought, America. I hope you're happy.

Quote of the Day

The Copenhagen conference is over with a weak, toothless, non-binding, low target, do little climate agreement as our elected world betters (stop me if you've heard this one before) failed to heed obvious warnings, listen to experts, or take necessary action due to short term political calculations. The US Senate was blamed, China was blamed more, Gordon Brown claimed the talks were "held to ransom", Banksy unleashed snarky art, and Thom Yorke was apoplectic. Hope you like a Radiohead album full of melting arctic ice references and climate statistics.

But still, in Copenhagen we found out that there were still things we can learn from our European brethren that could be applied back here in the States. Oh, not about climate change. No, we're all fucked horribly. No, I'm talking about the way their press deals with horridly regressive and embarrassing climate change deniers like Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) who went to the Copenhagen conference to enact his "one man truth squad" and ended up bumming around Copenhagen for about two hours, before calling a press conference and getting heckled by the few press that bothered to even cover him.
A reporter asked: “If there’s a hoax, then who’s putting on this hoax, and what’s the motive?”

“It started in the United Nations,” Inhofe said, “and the ones in the United States who really grab ahold of this is the Hollywood elite.”

One reporter asked Inhofe if he was referring to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Another reporter — this one from Der Spiegel — told the senator: “You’re ridiculous.”
Ouch. That cold shoulder was so cold that might have proved that global warming is a hoax... if the snow in Copenhagen during the summit didn't already prove that global warming was a hoax.

So, American press, would it be too much to ask that when a crazy person starts yelling bullshit about science that you'd speak up and go "You're ridiculous"? Or are will still doing that whole "Some people say that they have facts, figures, numbers, decades of research, and scientific analysis, while others say they have a notion about what God will or won't allow the planet to do. Who can say who is right?" thing? Ah well, thanks Germany for shaming Inhofe, however little his capacity for shame is. Thanks for treating him like a buffoon. Here he's treated like an important man with considerable power... which he is. It's incredibly sad.

Lie of the year

As we reach the end of the year, there are many year end lists to get to along with a whole crop of all-decade lists. Debates ensue over which annoying pop song was the song of the year, whether Transformers 2, GI JOE, or 2012 was the movie of the year, and which person in America had the best emotional meltdown over the state of the economy. I think "everyone from Detroit" is the answer to the last one.

But some lists are closer to America's heart than others and such is the case for Politifact's "Lie of the Year". With the health care fight taking center stage, fallout from the bailouts, and the President trying to hide the fact that he was a Kenyan born Muslim socialist, the lie harvest was bountiful. What ended up taking the prize in an overcrowded field was the Sarah Palin classic "Death panels", also known as "The government's gonna murder your grandma."
The claim set political debate afire when it was made in August, raising issues from the role of government in health care to the bounds of acceptable political discussion. In a nod to the way technology has transformed politics, the statement wasn't made in an interview or a television ad. Sarah Palin posted it on her Facebook page.

Her assertion — that the government would set up boards to determine whether seniors and the disabled were worthy of care — spread through newscasts, talk shows, blogs and town hall meetings. Opponents of health care legislation said it revealed the real goals of the Democratic proposals. Advocates for health reform said it showed the depths to which their opponents would sink. Still others scratched their heads and said, "Death panels? Really?"

The editors of, the fact-checking Web site of the St. Petersburg Times, have chosen it as our inaugural "Lie of the Year."
Some of the runners up were "anything Glenn Beck said",the Orly Taitz "Obama was born in Kenya" birth certificate nonsense, "global warming, evolution, and all non-Bible based sciences", the President Obama "pretending that he wasn't born in Kenya" nonsense, Joe Wilson's "You lie!", "anything Michelle Bachmann said", and Joe Biden opining on aircraft air circulation and Porcine AIDS. It was a crowded field, but I think the right one won. "Everything Glenn Beck said" is just too broad a category. In fact, maybe Glenn needs his own category or immediate entry into the liars Hall of Fame, which I was told was in St. Louis, but I went and not only couldn't I find it, but people there were claiming it didn't even exist. Maybe Glenn can just be dipped in bronze.

All in all, it was a nicely played lie Mrs. Palin. It took the issue of the day and completely distorted it with irrational fear, government backed murder conspiracies, and thoughts of grandmas being shotgunned by civil servants. What's more you got other politicians to spring to action based on this lie and fight over it. All over a tiny portion of the bill that was relatively unimportant. That's how the pros do it, Sarah. I can see why you're the 2012 front-runner.

America reflects on the last decade

As we look back on the last decade and see all that has happened, America is of one mind: let's all agree to pretend we've all just woke up from a ten year coma and don't understand why Bubba got replaced by a black guy. Either that or we're just going to have to start drinking heavily until the special happy Kentucky juice washes the pain from our minds and transfers it to our livers. In fact, if someone doesn't openly weep at the mention of the last decade they are to be deemed Not Trustworthy and A Suspicious Person. Let this poll explain.
Time magazine called the past decade (2000-2009) the "Decade from Hell." Respondents in the new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll don't go that far, but it's clear that many didn't think it was a good decade.

According to the poll, a combined 58% said the decade was either "awful" or "not so good," 29% said it was fair, and just 12% said it was either "good" or "great."
What's more, the poll shows that 48% believe the U.S. gained ground over the past decade on science and technology, and 40% say it gained ground on race relations.

But 37% said it lost ground on the environment, 46% said it lost ground on health and well being, 50% said it lost ground on peace and national security, 54% said lost ground on the nation's sense of unity, 55% said it lost ground in treating others with respect, 66% said it lost ground on moral values, and a whopping 74% said it lost ground on economic prosperity.
Yes, as long as we're counting science as a form of technology and not knowledge. Because if we're talking about the ability to find porn, stalk ex-classmates, embarrass oneself on the web, and find porn, then science has brought us much this decade. If we're talking about acceptance of scientific thought like, say, evolution or climate change... it's best not to mention the last 10 years. Still, on pretty much every other issue people look at the "progress", shudders to themselves, and then produces a flask from an inside jacket pocket, unscrews it slowly, and mournfully takes a sip. Who exactly are the 26% that doesn't think we lost ground economically? Have they already blocked out this decade? Perhaps we need to learn from their example.

Unfortunately the last decade was so bad it will reach it's icy black hand out from beyond the grave to strangle the early years of the new decade. But at least this will be good for 2020 polls, as there's no way anyone can possibly view the next 10 years as a regression unless a meteor hits and the humans that survive have to duke it out with rats and lizards for global evolutionary supremacy. Plus the last few years of misery combined with the aught year prefixes will make us some of the crotchetiest old men this world has ever seen. We'll be able to bring a grandchild to his knees with tales of the global financial apocalypse, Bush, and life without hover sexbots. So we'll have that to look forward to, if we survive. Which is nice.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Broken In Brief: James Cameron to direct $400 million Bull Durham remake

HOLLYWOOD—Following a $77.3 million dollar weekend for the film Avatar, a movie which was criticized for a striking resemblance to the 1990 Kevin Costner film Dances With Wolves, director James Cameron announced that he had already selected his next project. However, those who heard Cameron's description of the project quickly realized that it sounded remarkably similar to Kevin Costner’s 1988 baseball-themed romantic comedy, Bull Durham.

“Unlike the last time, when I made you wait twelve years between Titanic and Avatar, I have already started pre-production on my next film,” Cameron announced on his blog.

“While it is yet untitled, I can reveal that it will cost upwards of half a billion to make, involve mo-cap CG characters in a photo-real CG environment, 3-D, and concern the story of a young, hotheaded space marine who lands on a foreign planet and is taught by a grizzled alien how to play the native’s sacred game of ba’se ba’ll at a competent enough level to succeed in the alien’s professional league. There will be a wizened space hooker who teaches the kid the ways of love and life, giant mechs, and a hilarious shower scene where a grizzled 10-foot pink space dog admonishes the team for lollygagging.”

Cameron then signed off by saying, “I’ll start printing up the money now.”

While no one is quite sure what is driving Cameron to spend hundreds of millions of dollars re-purposing old Costner movie plots around the technological framework of his Aliens movie, friends have noted that Cameron has more money than Jesus’ stock broker and, as such, can do whatever the fuck he wants.

When asked for comment, actor Kevin Costner wished to state for the record that not only was he not dead, but that he was also not retired from acting. Costner was careful to note that if Cameron was game, he would be willing to don a mo-cap suit to play any number of CG characters, “just to get out of the house.”

Chart of the day

From Jonathan Cohn of Kaiser Health News/the New Republic and MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, comes a look at how the "soon to be passed before moving on to another tedious and infuriating conference committee negotiation" Senate health care bill actually affects peoples lives and health care costs. The verdict? Pretty good. An improvement. But not as good as things could have been ... FUCKINGJOEIEBERMANANDTHEFUCKINGWHITEFUCKINGHOUSE!!!!!

Excuse me. So whenever the rage boils up inside you, just look at the chart and say to yourself "Alright, they actually did something of some discernible value." Jsut don't think what could have been passed if anyone in the White House or Democratic leadership had pushed harder (or at all) or what could have been passed if our government was actually committed to considering real ways to reform health care in this country. That way lies madness.

Picture of the day

From the Smoking Gun comes a look at the kind of man who, a few short days from now, is going to rappel down your chimney, eat any pastries you have lying around, "gift" you a present from his "sack", and leave on a chariot pulled by serially abused animals.

I don't know, I think half of these guys are Billy Connolly and the other half are Randy Quaid.

God and health care

You thought that just because the Senate health care debate was over that the time had finally passed where you could read a paper or watch TV without seeing some asinine plea to God or biblical allegory told for why you should oppose health care reform? Stuff like Chuck Norris intimating that Mary wanted to abort Jesus but didn't because she couldn't find an easy and cost effective way?
Lastly, as we near the eve of another Christmas, I wonder: What would have happened if Mother Mary had been covered by Obamacare? What if that young, poor and uninsured teenage woman had been provided the federal funds (via Obamacare) and facilities (via Planned Parenthood, etc.) to avoid the ridicule, ostracizing, persecution and possible stoning because of her out-of-wedlock pregnancy? Imagine all the great souls who could have been erased from history and the influence of mankind if their parents had been as progressive as Washington's wise men and women! Will Obamacare morph into Herodcare for the unborn?
You thought that stupid shit was over? You dumb bastards. You forgot about the lamentations over the voting.
Huckabee says the vote on health care reform is a pivotal moment in American history, and he took Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson to task for deciding to support the measure.

Huckabee went so far as to compare Nelson to Judas in the biblical story of Jesus' betrayal. He said the last time a deal like the one Nelson negotiated with Democratic leaders was when "30 pieces of silver exchanged hands."
Hell, you forgot the calls to pray that some Democrat drops dead on the way to the health care vote.
Speaking against the health care bill on the Senate floor just moments ago, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) expressed his hope that a Senator of the majority caucus would not be able to make the vote:

"What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can’t make the vote tonight. That’s what they ought to pray."
There's no confirmation to reports that various GOP Senators were hiding behind pillars and coat racks in hopes of jumping out and yelling "Boo!" as the 92 year-old Sen. Robert Byrd passed by. I would just like to let Sen. Coburn know that we here at These Bastards would like to extend the same "drop dead" courtesy to you. If you wish to be struck down by lightning or trampled by a rampaging elephant we are amenable to those ideas, though we would instead prefer the scenario "Afflicted by a rare debilitating virus, dropped from health insurance, forced into medical bankruptcy, and finally dropping dead."

I'm sorry to report that even though you thought our elected betters, pundits, and bearded karate superstars had moved on from simplistic scaremongering and Jesus invoking on health care and were merely awaiting the next legislative priority to invoke all sorts of new simplistic scaremongering and Jesus invoking, well, they haven't. You still are supposed to pray that any attempt to make your health care scenario a little easier be defeated and if you don't, you'll be killed by the New Herod or branded as the greatest betrayer in human history. Apologies abounds, but we're still stuck on stupid on health care. It'll be a few more weeks before we can move on to hearing the reasons why Jesus doesn't want the government to act on jobs or the environment. I await it eagerly.

This explains so much

We've all taken our fair share of shots at the Bush Administration for their conduct during the eight years they prosecuted the war on terror. Hell, some of us have taken more than our share of shots. But for far too long we've been laboring under the misapprehension that they were acting with some sort of nefarious disregard for the laws of this country. That their actions were a means to some overarching sinister end. Well it turns out they weren't. They were just really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really stupid. Really, really, really, really, really, really, really, fucking stupid.
A self-styled Nevada codebreaker convinced the CIA he could decode secret terrorist targeting information sent through Al Jazeera broadcasts, prompting the Bush White House to raise the terror alert level to Orange (high) in December 2003, with Tom Ridge warning of "near-term attacks that could either rival or exceed what we experience on September 11," according to a new report in Playboy.
The man who prompted the December 2003 Orange alert was Dennis Montgomery, who has since been embroiled in various lawsuits, including one for allegedly bouncing $1 million in checks during a Caesars Palace spree -- and whose former lawyer calls him a "habitual liar engaged in fraud."

Working out of a Reno, Nevada, software firm called eTreppid Technologies, Montgomery took in officials in the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology and convinced them that technology he invented -- but could not explain -- was pulling terrorist-produced "bar codes" from Al Jazeera television broadcasts. Using his proprietary technology, those bar codes could be translated into longitudes and latitudes and flight numbers. Terrorist leaders were using that data to direct their compatriots about the next target.
Eventually the CIA found out he was utterly and completely full of shit. But not before the Bush Administration had already been using his proclamations as means for action and raising threat levels. And not before he inked another $3 million dollar contract with the Air Force in January. At the very least, no one in the CIA gave Montgomery a nuke when he claimed he could build a Cylon detector.

Seems the only code this guy found out was the one embedded in the Bush Administration: tell them what they want to hear in a way that can benefit their aims and you get millions of dollars. In retrospect, it was not a hard code to crack. But this explains so much. A man claimed he had a magic bean and before anyone could verify if he was as obvious a con man as he seemed, the government was handing him millions and acting the information he divined from said bean. I think our jaws would drop if we ever found out how much money, time, and action was taken on similar ideas and various magic protective rocks.

But just in case you were thinking "Surely this stupid scam I conceived of couldn't possibly fool the CIA and US Government to the tune of millions of dollars", you're either underselling your idea or overselling the intelligence of the United States. Both, as we've learned, are mistakes.

Your Christmas miracle

If you were hoping that in the next few days that a lonely rich miser would learn the value of humanity, sharing, and good will to all, that some workaholic father would learn the value of time spent with family appreciating the little things, or that a precocious mutt from the pound would reunite an estranged couple and teach the neighborhood the meaning of Christmas, well, you're out of luck. All the Christmas miracle sauce got used up this weekend by the Democrats to get 60 votes for the health care bill and what little was left over got used by the Steelers last night to beat the Packers.

Would we all have liked something a better Christmas miracle than Ben Nelson being sufficiently bought off by the Democratic leadership to pass a compromise of a compromised compromise health care bill? Yeah. But time are tough for everyone, even Santa, and all he could give us was a discount Christmas miracle. The first votes have been finished and things look to be on track for Senate passage of the bill by Christmas day. What did they have to compromise to get this passed?
Under the deal, states could choose to prohibit abortion coverage in plans offered through insurance exchanges that the bill would set up for people who lack coverage through their jobs. The compromise is less restrictive than the abortion language contained in the House bill.

Nelson also secured full and permanent federal funding for his state to extend Medicaid eligibility to everyone below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The bill would require all states to do so, but Nebraska alone would not be required to pay a portion of the additional cost after 2016. And he won concessions for some nonprofit insurers and for providers of supplemental Medicare coverage from a new insurance tax, and he was able to roll back cuts to health savings accounts.
So under the abortion compromise, which may be unconstitutional, you essentially are at the whims of the states to decide if it's allowed and you have to pay for the transaction with two checks.Nice to see that as part of his principled objection to women paying for things with one check, he also had a principled debate over whether or not his state should get extra Medicare goodies that no other state got. He won that argument of course, but Harry Reid was able to keep out an amendment that declared Nebraska the "most ball out fuckin' radical state ever created." The Senate does have some principles.

If you want to read what's in the actual bill, go here. If you want to read someone lamenting the state of the bill, but saying the bill should still be passed, pick anyone but Howard Dean and Kieth Olbermann. But here are some good ones: Jacob Hacker "The Godfather of the public option", the Washington Post's Ezra Klein, Paul Krugman, and.. well fuck it, you have Google. Just type in "smiling while eating a shit sandwich" and it ought to take you to the most relevant articles. I swear on Sean's life that you won't find anything other than health care analysis if you Google that phrase.

Merry Christmas, you got health care, of a sort, to be put fully in place in 2014. Maybe some of this country will even be back to work by then. Enjoy.