Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cheap Blogging Crutch 03.31

Up In Smoke: How Marijuana Ruined States’ Chances Of Invalidating Health Care Law In Court
The passage of health care set off a rash of frivolous lawsuits from state AG's with hopes for higher office and a penchant for wasting the money of cash strapped governments in times of economic crisis. Will they succeed? No. But that inevitability isn't so much interesting as why they will fail to succeed, besides the basic "not understanding the Constitution" thing. Essentially the Supreme Court, and Antonin Scalia in particular, recently ruled in a marijuana case that the government had a right to regulate interstate non-economic activity as a part of regulating interstate commerce. So unless Scalia totally reverses his opinion for political means, any challenge that makes it to the Supremes isn't likely to even pass muster with the conservative wing. Actually, that sounds incredibly likely. Still, marijuana: is there anything it can't do?

Beijing to sweeten stench of rubbish crisis with giant deodorant guns
For some countries a sensible response to a garbage crisis would be better collection and disposal methods, moves to make sure less waste is produced, or even recycling programs. Not China though. Instead of actually responding to their crippling garbage crisis they've just decided to buy a really big can of Axe body spray and just drench their trash in it so people don't have to smell it. Efforts are already underway to paint the trash to look like land and convincing people to ignore it. I think we may have to admit that China may be taking the lead away from us in the Ignoring Potentially Disastrous Environmental Problems category. Ouch. We really seem to cherish that one too.

Art of the Steal: On the Trail of World’s Most Ingenious Thief
What if you were a savant. And not one of those crappy ones who is only good at something like math, the viola, or counting toothpicks that Charlie Babbitt dropped on the floor. No, a savant at stealing shit. Such is the skill of one Gerald Blanchard, a man with the preternatural ability to seemingly exploit any flaw in security. Wired tells his story and how he was caught by two Winnipeg cops.

The most dangerous drug isn't meow meow. It isn't even alcohol...

Charlie Brooker, the man who did this, explains how newspapers, especially newspapers covering drugs, are the most dangerous mind destroying drug on the planet. And he's talking about British ones too. I imagine if he ever had to read an American one or watch American 24 hour news, he'd take his own life.

New Study Estimates Mass Deportation Of Undocumented Immigrants Would Cost $285 Billion
In a tremendous blow to Mexican hating everywhere, it turns out that if we decided everyone in the restaurant, service, farming, and labor industries it'd cost close to $300 billion, or $922 in tax dollars for everyone in the US. Everyone American that is. Not to mention it would completely depopulate California and force white people to get their hands dirty while laboring... and maybe completely cripple US economic growth. Plus who would militias and border state Republicans and Southern Republicans and most Republicans hate then? The Polish? On the other hand, if you put undocumented workers on a path to legalization, it could add nearly $1.5 trillion to GDP over the next decade. I think we know the clear and obvious path here. You start rounding up Mexicans and I'll go door to door collecting $922 a person.

Video of the day

Via the Times Online: Christopher Lee reads Lewis Carrol's Jabberwocky. It's in promotion of the awful Alice and Wonderland movie, but we'll forgive him that. He is, after all, several different Counts and a wizard.

Picture of the day

Yes, the tea baggers have been a boon to comedy. And quasi-racist right wing movements. And probably the whole militia thing. But mostly comedy. So, with the passage of health care and President Obama's ascension to God King status, the fade into the sunset having dipped their last tea bag and faxed their last noose.

But in a bid to memorialize these people who didn't seem to understand anything about what their own movement was allegedly about --namely taxes, health care, the working of representative government, and large swaths of the Constitution-- a person named Pargon on Flickr has stepped up with a set of photos they call Teabonics: the tea baggers' various and sundry placard misspellings. Enjoy.

We're all rich

Via Clusterstock comes this look at how the US Government is set to make around an $8 billion smackeroos profit off the "bailout" of Citigroup. In fact it's also conceivable that we'll break even on our "investment" in AIG.

So if the net profit off both AIG and Citigroups is $8 billion... divided by... carry the one... each American stand to make $26 off the bailouts. Excuse me, $26 dollars... and five cents. Oh yeah baby, we're rich. "Going to the movies with a date and getting a small popcorn" rich! Which, comparatively, is like "owning a sports team" rich was before the economy had its throat slit.

So sit by the mailbox, I'm sure that as soon as Geithner finalizes these sales you'll have your motherfuckin' movie check sent out to you, post haste.

The entire economy collapses and we all get $26? I told you this would all work out in the end.

I'm sure this won't result in some sort of rash of falling deaths

Maybe some of you readers have been to Paris. Tell me, wasn't the first thing you thought when you saw the Eiffel Tower "Boy, I sure wish this durned thing was red and twisty and that any idiot with a sixpack of Natural Ice in him could climb up it if he or she wished to"? Sure, we all say that. The lack of a climable metal piece of artwork is Paris' greatest flaw. Plus, it would be better if Eiffel also built it in a place that spoke English; either the King's or Americanese.

Well London, the UK Olympic Committee, London mayor Boris Johnson, and architect Anish Kapoor heard your clarion call. Climbable red twisty Eiffel Tower!
Designs for what will be Britain's biggest piece of public art, a 120 metres tall looping tower by the artist Anish Kapoor that people will be able to climb, giving spectacular views of London, were unveiled today by Boris Johnson, mayor of London.

Kapoor's Orbit, a vast, snaking steel structure, will dominate the 2012 Olympic park. It is being hailed as London's answer to the Eiffel tower and is part of an ambition to make the Olympics site a permanent visitor attraction.

Kapoor won the commission from a shortlist of bidders believed to include the artist Antony Gormley and the architects Caruso St John. Johnson said of Kapoor: "He has taken the idea of a tower and transformed it into a piece of modern British art. It would have boggled the minds of the Romans. It would have boggled Gustave Eiffel."
Hmm, I think you're overselling it a bit, Boris. Still one does appreciate the verve with which you're opening up English citizens and tourists from all around the world to violent falling deaths from a distance of up to 120 meters. Truly your commitment to the Olympic tradition of building immensely ludicrous structures is not constrained by base notions of architectural eyesores and public safety. Well done, sirs.

Climategate officially gets the gate removed

What if I were to tell you that the whole Climategate controversy and furor that "disproved" "global warming", in fact did no such thing. Sure, most people who take the time to look at these things knew that already. I meant in an official "government inquiry" sense. And not by our shitty government either, but by the UK Parliament where they seem to take things like facts and investigations somewhat more seriously. I know, I know, noted climate scientist Dr. Sarah Palin said Climategate proved that science doesn't exist or something, but she's busy in a Twitter feud with LL Cool J over the dishonesty of her new FOX News TV show.

So I guess that mean we can officially put "Climategate" in sarcastic quotes. Done and done.
The House of Commons' Science and Technology Committee said Wednesday that they'd seen no evidence to support charges that the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit or its director, Phil Jones, had tampered with data or perverted the peer review process to exaggerate the threat of global warming – two of the most serious criticisms levied against the climatologist and his colleagues.

In their report, the committee said that, as far as it was able to ascertain, "the scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact," adding that nothing in the more than 1,000 stolen e-mails, or the controversy kicked up by their publication, challenged scientific consensus that "global warming is happening and that it is induced by human activity."
In a briefing to journalists ahead of the report's release, Willis said the controversy would ultimately help buttress the case for global warming by forcing the University of East Anglia – and other research institutions – to stop hoarding their data.

"The winner in the end will be climate science itself," he said.
Sorry Mr. Willis, climate science will never win against skeptics unless climate science invents some sort of laser wielding robot with a chainsaw hand that is able to force people to consider the merits of reason, evidence, and fact. For that is science's inherent contradiction: it cannot teach those who are unwilling to learn... unless giant robots are involved.

Plus how do you combat the immense feelings of pride dumb Americans feel by proclaiming that they know better than scientists with their fancy PhD's and that they're just using "common sense", something that fatty fat fat fat Al Gore oughtta try sometime? You can't, especially when there's an entire political party, media establishment, and industry committed to making people think that they're smart for ignoring smart people.

Sure, smart talking Brits can say stuff like "There was no evidence to challenge the "scientific consensus" that global warming is induced by human activities", "The balance of evidence "patently" failed to support the view that the phrases "trick" and "hide the decline" used by Jones in one email were part of a conspiracy to hide evidence that did not support his view", and "On peer review, "the evidence we have seen does not suggest that Jones was trying to subvert the peer review process"", but who is going to listen? The people who aren't listening to science already?

Sorry science, you lose again. Even when you actually win. Perhaps there's an equation you can work up to explain how that happens. Maybe it'll make you feel better.

Drilling, baby, drilling

You know what's missing from America's beaches when we walk up to the shore line and look out into the vast expanse of blue? A big, fuck off drilling rig. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. The Obama Administration knows it. Which is why they just kicked off a new announcement to make sure that an almost nonexistent change in our dependence in foreign oil and the sight of a massive oil rig needs to come to US coastlines.
The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday.

The proposal — a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations — would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.
Know I know what you're saying, "What about the pandas or some shit". I'm guessing you're referring to environmental concerns. you shouldn't have any. Why? Because it's better if you don't think about it.

But you may be asking yourself "Why Barry? Why have to forsaken the causes of progressives for no discernible reason?" To which I say... haven't you been paying attention? This is kind of the standard operating procedure of this White House. But, I wouldn't go so far as to say that this is being done for "no discernible reason". Sure, most liberals wouldn't like the idea of increased drilling, but it is a popular idea and concessions like this and on nuclear will have to be made to get things like comprehensive environmental legislation and cap and trade done. What's that, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar?
"I think the term 'cap and trade' is not in the lexicon anymore," Salazar said, adding that supporters -- including senators working on legislation -- will focus more on ideas such as slowing pollution, creating jobs and becoming energy independent. "It's in that context" the Senate will move forward, he said.
Ah, so in effect cap and trade is dead. And in return for opening up the coasts to drilling the concessions you're getting from environmental proponents are.... what? Right, I forgot, nothing. So I can see why this is such a great idea. I mean at least it'll help drive down prices by increasing flows of oil to our overtaxed supply lines that are buckling under the weight of increased demand.

What's that, MSNBC? Wall Street is driving up oil prices: Demand is down, supplies are up — but crude still rises.

Well.... at least we get those oil rigs on the horizon.... and maybe an environmental disaster or two. Everyone likes scrubbing pelicans clean, right? Bang up job, Barry. Concede early, get nothing in return. I'm sure this will all help us get a climate bill that would have been to ineffective in dealing with the environmental problems of a decade ago, let alone today.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Broken News: Entire NFL Charged in Nightclub Altercation

MIAMI—The Miami-Dade sheriff’s department announced today that they were charging the entire National Football League with aggravated assault and public drunkenness following a nightclub altercation with a woman late last week.

“After a thorough investigation, we feel we have enough evidence to proceed with formal charges against every player in the NFL,” announced Sgt. Adam Harlan, lead investigator on the case.

“On the evening of March 26th, every player was seen at Opium, a trendy hotspot on the strip,” the Sgt. explained, laying out the facts of the case. “It was at this point that every player was seen partaking of drinks in the VIP section of the club. At a later point every player approached a young woman, who will remain nameless, and attempted to hit on her. After she rebuffed the advances of every player, every player in turn verbally berated her and threw their drink at her, causing some bruising. At this point, authorities were called and police arrived at the scene to find every player intoxicated and staggering around the streets of downtown Miami. After a thorough investigation, it was decided that formal charges are in order.”

As yet, there has been no official response from the NFL, but sources close to Commissioner Roger Goodell noted that he seemed to be dismayed by the actions of every player, would be calling every player in to talk about the incident, and would be following the case closely from this point forward.

While these sources noted that talk was preliminary and subject to the results of the trial, they noted that Goodell was considering a suspension of every player in the league for anywhere from one to four games pending a conviction.

What appears to be troubling the Commissioner most is the fact that out of the nearly 1,696 beverages that simultaneously hit the alleged victim, from simple gin and tonics to J├Ągerbombs to seltzer to straight Jack Daniels, initial forensic testing shows that several of the nearly 30 jewel encrusted pimp cups that struck the women we laced with a medicinal codeine syrup commonly referred to as “syzurrup” or “purple drank”.

The NFL Player's Association was not so judicious in its commentary on the case.

“While we note that every player will co-operate thoroughly with this investigation, we feel that every player will, in the end, be exonerated of any wrongdoing,” announced NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. “Besides, what kind of women hangs around almost 1,700 men and their entourages of nearly an additional 6,000 men? Perhaps she was asking for the contents of nearly three liquor stores and one-third of an ice truck to be thrown on her.”

For others, this just seems to be part of an ongoing problem the league needs to rectify and shows a lack of common sense on the part of every player.

“I think every player needs to take a serious look at the kind of positions they put themselves into. Maybe every player shouldn’t be out at the club on a Friday night,” observed Sport Illustrated columnist Peter King in his Monday Morning Quarterback football column, in between three paragraphs on lattes and a section on baseball spring training. “I just don’t think every player should be out doing this kind of thing, as I happen to know that several hundred of them are married.”

While some are unsure of what the commonly held “they shouldn’t put themselves in this position” principle exactly means when every pundit says it, most think it ranges from “don’t go out to a bar or club or anywhere where fun might be occurring” to “don’t let sunlight hit your skin or breathe outside air unless it’s for a football related reason.”

In any event, every player has retained the services of several hundred law firms and has vowed to fight this battle in court. Every player asks that you please respect their privacy and the legal proceedings until such a time as a verdict is rendered.

The trial is expected to begin in late July.

Picture of the day

A rejoinder to NYMag's A History of Obama Feigning Interest in Mundane Things, comes Dean Trippe's Barack Obama Looking at Awesome Things.

Quote of the day

French President Nicholas Sarkozy, welcoming America to a seat at the Table of Sane Nations for passing health reform. Sure, it's a seat near the back at one of the less important tables and we get served last and aren't allowed to partake in the hot fudge sundae bar, but we're there now.

“Welcome to the club of states who don’t turn their back on the sick and the poor,” Sarkozy said, referring to the US health care overhaul signed by President Barack Obama last week.

From the European perspective, he said, “when we look at the American debate on reforming health care, it’s difficult to believe”. [...]

Then to hearty applause, he added: “If you come to France and something happens to you, you won’t be asked for your credit card before you’re rushed to the hospital.”

Sarkozy also explained during his speech that it was “astonishing” to the French that a “violent debate” erupted in America over the notion that “the poorest of Americans should not be left out in the streets without a cent to look after them.”
It was astonishing to some of us as well. Thanks for the congratulations and all, it means something coming from the #1 WHO ranked health care system in the world, but could you have congratulated us without seeming so.... French? It was a tad haughty with notes of snootiness. In any event, thanks, it's nice to have a slightly saner health care system... and slightly insaner political discourse. I didn't think either were possible, but we somehow did it.

I also feel I must note that Sarkozy is from the right wing, much more conservative than France as a whole, UMP party. Again, we really got the raw end of the deal when God handed out conservatives.

And Boehner wept

We all know the health reform bill, now made horrible, horrible law, is completely racist. Why? Uhh... because. I don't know, Glenn Beck and Rush kept saying it was ushering in a new form of slavery or something. I don't have to explain it, I think we can all see how cheaper health care that is more accessible and available is exactly like owning humans as property and making them toil in your fields. It's valid.

But they were only hinting at the racist depths that this bill sunk to. Not only is it morally and ethically the same as slavery, but it discriminates against white people who have taken the time and effort to change their racial make-up from lily white to a sort of orange-bronze. Let Glenn Beck's understudy, Doc Thompson, enlighten you.
For years I’ve suggested that racism was in decline and yeah, there are some, you know, incidents that still happen with regards to racism, but most of the claims I’ve said for years, well, they’re not really real. But I realize now that I was wrong. For I now too feel the pain of racism. Racism has been dropped at my front door and the front door of all lighter-skinned Americans. The health care bill the president just singed into law includes a 10 percent tax on all indoor tanning sessions starting July 1st, and I say, who uses tanning? Is it dark-skinned people? I don’t think so. I would guess that most tanning sessions are from light-skinned Americans. Why would the President of the United Stats of America — a man who says he understands racism, a man who has been confronted with racism — why would he sign such a racist law? Why would he agree to do that? Well now I feel the pain of racism.
Somehow this is worse than police setting dogs and the firehoses on civil rights protesters. Where is the Martin Luther King of the tanners?

First they came for the tanning bed users, but I did not speak up because I was not one of them. Then they came for the spray on tanners and again I did not speak for I was not one of them. Then they came for the tanning cream users and I was taken away because there was no one left to speak for me.

Sure, some will say that this is a preventative health measure meant to reduce rates of skin cancer, but those people are just anti-tannists. It's a full fledged racial assault and proof positive that now only white people are the victims of racism. Squirt a dollop of Coppertone on the ground for our fallen comrades and know that this injustice will not stand. My God, they could be coming for the bikini waxers next. Stay vigilant, this racist health care bill will not stand.

Terrorists will no longer be able to hide in Azeroth

We all love DARPA, the Defense science madhouse that has given us the internet, GPS, carnivorous flesh eating robots, and robot cars that can drive themselves through the desert and will rule any Mad Max post-apocalyptic type situation. Soon they'll probably have a self driving car that eats human flesh. They do wonderful work.

But, one might ask, is the intelligence community's equivalent? I know the government is coming up with better ways for robots to dominate and subjugate me, but how are they coming up with better ways to spy on me and, ostensibly, foreign enemies, but mostly me? Ask no further, IARPA has been created.
Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, said that IARPA's task was to be "an intellectual ferment or primordial stew out of which great things will come." He wants Porter's researchers to "generate revolutionary capabilities that will surprise our adversaries and help us avoid being surprised."
One program, Reynard, for example, has signed contracts with five research teams, mostly from major universities, to develop systems to observe "avatars" — animated computer images — that take part in popular "virtual world" games such as Second Life and World of Warcraft.
Another IARPA project, named ICARUS, will attempt to model the way human brains make sense of a bewildering mass of data. The ALADDIN project is meant to pick out key items in the tsunami of video images that spy agencies collect. A program called TRUST will try to help intelligence officers determine who can be trusted and who can't.
There's also ACRONYM, a top secret program to help wean the government off it's addiction to creating arcane word grouping to create a third rate acronym that explains what the project does.

But that's it? A program to analyze whether terrorists are chaining enchantments for peak mana burn in their spell casting and better lie detectors? No mind reading robots? How about a way for Dick Cheney to completely subvert the legal process in order to listen in on people's phone calls? Creating a super-soldier that not only knows Farsi, but isn't gay so the army doesn't have to discharge them? A Aston-Martin with missiles behind the headlights for spies to drive? C'mon, give us something cool to work with, here. DARPA is going to have engineered giant bugs and fusion power suits so humans can fight the giant bugs any week now.

It's OK, you're a new organization and you're just feeling things out. But pick it up, if you aren't coming up with things that bewilder and terrify the populace and have a practical home or consumer electronics application, we'll be very disappointed. Robots that feast on humans and you counter with World of Warcraft? For shame.

Video of the day

Children acting out a school play. That play being the end of Brian DePalma's 1983 film Scarface.

Your daily reminder that justice doesn't exist

You all remember the Westboro Baptist Church, don't you? Fred Phelps and his bunch of crazies? They picket anything gay related with charming signs like "God hates fags" and "God hates you" and have taken to picketing gay funerals with even more charming signs about the deceased burning in hell. They're like a deranged cult, but without that great part at the end where they castrate themselves and drink strychnine according to some astrological chart.

In recent years they've taken to protesting military funerals with their atypical tact and class, choosing to blame the military deaths on America's tolerance of homosexuals. Well one father who had to go through their hateful idiocy at his son's funeral decided to sue them on the basis that they invaded his privacy and intentionally caused him emotional distress. He originally won millions in judgment. The appeals courts decided to see it another way.
The father of a U.S. Marine killed in Iraq has been ordered to pay $16,510.80 to a family that protested his son's funeral in Maryland.
The judgment is a setback for Mr. Snyder, who has been fundraising to cover the costs of the Supreme Court action with hopes of finally bringing Phelps' followers to their knees.

"Armed the with knowledge that the U.S. Supreme Court decided to review the case, the Court of Appeals made the decision concerning assessing costs," Mr. Snyder's lawyers said in a statement. "This decision is tantamount to adding insult to injury."
Not only did he have these assholes picket his son's funeral, he got to pay them for the privilege of them doing so. Because, as the court ruled, "as utterly distasteful as these signs are, they involve matters of public concern." Because where would this country be if inbred fundamentalists weren't able to invade someone's funeral to chastise, insult, hurt, and abuse mourners? I'd thank the courts for ordering the continued funding of Westboro, but Snyder will likely have to go into bankruptcy because he can't afford to pay Fred Phelps.

Rest easy, the courts today affirmed your right as a God given American to act like a completely subhuman piece of shit and get rewarded for it. So, happy day. American justice strikes again.

Monday, March 29, 2010

In Other News, the World Ends Tomorrow

When Matthew and I predicted that the Large Hadron Collider was actually an instrument designed to murder God and end the world, we were derided as clueless fools. Come tomorrow, my friends, the shoe will be on the other foot. Well, actually, the shoe won't be anywhere. Neither will the foot for that matter. But I digress...
Two beams of protons began 10 days ago to speed at high energy in opposite directions around the 27-kilometer (17-mile) tunnel under the Swiss-French border at Geneva.

The beams have been pushed to 3.5 trillion electron volts, the highest energy achieved by any physics accelerator — some three times greater than the previous record.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, plans to start trying Tuesday morning to use the powerful superconducting magnets to force the two beams to cross, creating collisions and showers of particles.
So that's that. Dogs and cats, just before being wiped from existence, will most likely be found living together. I wish I could say it's been nice knowing you, but most of you people are assholes and I lack sufficient evidence to support any claim suggesting the universe won't be better off without us. If you'll permit me a small pun, godspeed, creation.

Broken in Brief: Oooh ahh, you know what I’m talking about, uhh, ahhh, Christ

THE KITCHEN TABLE—Moments ago sources close to your father revealed that oh, uh… shit, Christ… he just had it on the tip of his tongue …shit. These sources also said that it was, in fact, completely relevant to the conversation at hand.

“You know what I’m talking about,” the man who raised you said quizzically. “You know… the thing? Fuck, stop being so obtuse. You know what I’m talking about! The thing! The thiiiing! Jimmy’s boy had one. Weren’t you friends? What do you mean you weren’t? Aw, hell!”

Sources claim you know goddamn well what he’s talking about and he doesn't appreciate your attitude.

Representatives from your mother asked if they were talking about how Jimmy’s boy majored in finance at Bowling Green, but these concerns were quickly dismissed as “damn fool nonsense” and “immaterial to the point.” The point, which if he could just remember, would have made sense within the context of the discussion they were having, whatever the hell it was about.

Furthermore, it is going to be noted that it’s your goddamn fault anyway for distracting him when he was about to say something and that, fuck it, it doesn’t matter anyway. Spokesmen for your father note that, no, you’re the one who shows symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s, and that he’s had enough of this shit and he’s going downstairs to watch basketball.

A source close to your mother revealed that he gets like this sometimes and its best just to let him be.

Chart of the day: Happy fuckers

We all know what the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale is, right? It's so ubiquitous as to not even merit explanation. But as I'm sure there are a few, let's call them "special needs readers", I'll just say that it's a way to measure personal well-being, judgment of quality of life, and feelings, among other things. It's also the basis entitled Just a Little Too Happy Considering The Fucking State of World Affairs Right Now or Depressed and Demoralized Enough: A Look At Global Well-being.

In a nutshell, people are asked how they're doing, and those who don't respond "Fuck off Gallup" are classified into categories of "thriving," "struggling," or "suffering", compiled, and ranked on a country-by-country basis on a cool little interactive map midget that the bastards didn't make embeddable.

So what is the most miserable nation on earth? Togo at 1% "thriving". I would have put money on Haiti, but they only come in with a 4% "thriving" marker. True, that does represent most of the Fugees and those who were airlifted to the US, but it's still shockingly high. Taking the most miserable crown in Europe is Bulgaria at 6%. I wouldn't have guessed Bulgaria, but then again, I never would have thought of Bulgaria for any reason. Which I guess is part of their economic problems.

Which country is the most "thriving"? Was it ever any wonder: every Scandinavian country. Denmark (82%) and Finland (75%) top off the world rankings, with Norway (68%) and Sweden (67%) ranking highly as well. Now do you see the perils of socialist government?

And where does the United States of Freedom rank? With 57% "thriving", though most of those reporting they were thriving were in the banking and finance sectors and most of this survey was conducted between 2005 and 2009. I wonder if they're still doing all right? Where does that big shit 57% put us? Only behind Costa Rica (63%) and Canada (62%), Panama (58%), and Brazil (58%)..... and New Zealand (63%), Israel (62%), and Australia (62%)... and the Netherlands (68%), Switzerland (62%), and Austria (58%). But not Turkmenistan (52%)! So, uhhh.... yeah!

We do however rank #1 in... the region where the highest percentage of "thriving" countries are. Americas 42% thriving - Africa 8% thriving. You lose again, Africa. Americas, Americas, Americas!

So if you're ever feeling down about the state of America and feelings about self worth and happiness, at least you can always say "At least I don't live in Togo" and have a statistical well-being analysis to back up that supposition.

Bigotry follies

Back in October President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard Act which added "perceived or actual sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability" to the 1969 federal hate crimes law. While some saw this as a long overdue addition to our legal code, others saw this as a trampling of free speech. I mean sure, this only is for violent acts of murder, assault, intimidation, and terrorism, but what about those who fear that this might affect them or their churches ability to bash an demonize gays? The law says that isn't going to happen, but can't people just whine about it anyway as some sort of flimsy pretext for stripping protection for gays from state law? Sure they can.

Such was the case in Oklahoma, where they didn't buy into this notion that gays are people too, so they set off to seriously de-gay their hate crimes laws. HOW DARE YOU REFER TO THEM AS OKLAHOMO! So they decided to write a bill that tried to severely hamstring those rights under state law and not allow state or local authorities to report or share hate crimes information with the feds pertaining to Title 18 U.S. Code Section 245. That's where the problem began.
Protections for sexual orientation and gender identity are actually under Section 249.
Section 245 of the Code refers to race and religious protections. Therefore, Oklahoma actually passed a statute allowing state law enforcement officials to keep information about crimes motivated by race or religion out of the hands of federal authorities.

“The bill in its current form doesn’t take away rights from gays and lesbians,” Oklahoma State Senate Minority Leader Andrew Rice explained. “It takes away rights for religion and race.”
I'm sure the race protections being stripped out was just a happy accident, but they'll be hopping mad about religious persecution being stripped out. That's what this whole thing was pretending to be about in the first place. First they try to knock out protections for violence against gays based on "uhhhh.... religion and stuff" (caution: legal terminology), but end up stripping hate crime protection from religion. It's almost as if God was trying to tell them something about hate and using religious cover as a pretext for bigotry. Or He was at least trying to make a point about the general stupidity of state lawmakers and reading comprehension levels in Oklahoma.

Well done Oklahoma, we do love a good petard self-hoisting. Quit while you're ahead, otherwise you'll have legalized murder by the end of the week.


As we are a massive blog empire with millions, nay billions, of committed readers (read: a few dozen of our friends... if that) we are likely to assume that our vast demographic variety (read: a bunch of white liberals in their twenties) also includes some Republicans.

Perhaps in a fit of pique or some race based vapors over Obama or health care, you might have decided to donate some money to the RNC to help retake the House, Senate, and overthrow the socialist network that has been built in this country in one short year. Why? Because it is marginally more entertaining than flushing that money down the toilet. Plus, it doesn't enrich the sewer people. Scofflaws and government teat suckers the lot of them.

But you might wonder what your donation to the RNC will get you. Well, the answer is "a hell of a good time for RNC Chairman Michael Steele".
The Daily Caller reports that “FEC filings suggest Steele travels in style”:

Once on the ground, FEC filings suggest, Steele travels in style. A February RNC trip to California, for example, included a $9,099 stop at the Beverly Hills Hotel, $6,596 dropped at the nearby Four Seasons, and $1,946.25 spent at Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex.

Although Steele’s high-flying ways have angered GOP donors, RNC communications director Doug Heye explains, “It takes money to make money.”
Ballin'! Though as I would know Sean would know, no "nightclub" that has dancers lezzing it out in bondage gear has them "simulating" anything. Maybe the bondage thing was a metaphor to illustrate how they're using procedural tricks to tie up Congress and the lesbian thing was a thematic expression piece to illustrate the dangers of gay marriage and gays in the military. Or maybe it's just the only way Michael Steele can relax after a hard day of yelling "Armageddon!" on the TV.

My favorite part of the story is the $.25 part of the tab. It either suggests that the person signing it was too cheap to bump the tip up an additional $.75 (it would just encourage the lesbian stripper's poor life choices and wouldn't empower them to find better work) or Steele was there with a bank roll of quarters, tossing them up on the stage and asking for fifty cent lap dances. Possibly nickel lap dances.

Takes money to make money. And trips to bondage clubs, it also takes trips to bondage clubs to make money. Just imagine the cash they'll rake in for next month's Palin/Bachmann duo show at the Spearmint Rhino in Vegas. $100 buck cover, three drink minimum, and no touching.

A census taker once tried to test me...

If there is one thing to respect about the tea baggers -- and believe me, saying there's one thing to respect about them might be giving them way too much credit -- it's their steadfast commitment to staying crazy and abiding by their principles of not understanding anything in every field, not just the fields of taxes and health care.

As you may know, it's a census year. Which means the government takes up it's Constitutionally mandated duty to count the number of Americans for means of Congressional seats, electoral votes, and government funding. As with all things tea bagging, there is apparently also some sort of nefarious conspiracy also attached to the census. Michele Bachmann used to be at the forefront of raging against the census conspiracy, feeling that it was just a front for a future Japanese-style internment among other things, before it was explained to her that if Minnesota ended up losing a Congressional seat because of the census... it would be her seat. She seemed to see the error of her ways.

But she didn't seem to sway many of her fellow tea baggers in believing that the 2010 census isn't a conspiracy between Muslim Caliph Obama and the lizard people to punish and eat those who opposed health care. You thought that with all their whinging about health care and its unconstitutional nature, they would have read the part in the Constitution about the census. Nope. And that has many states worried.
Texas is counting on the 2010 Census to deliver four new congressional districts, four new Electoral College votes in presidential elections, and millions of dollars in additional federal aid. But, as some elected officials are starting to worry, Uncle Sam can't deliver anything to the rapidly growing Sun Belt state unless Texas residents deliver their forms back to the government.
Instead, a new and growing threat to an accurate national head count is coming from anti-government conservatives who may not fill out their forms to protest against “Big Brother” in Washington.
There is a reason for the enthusiasm gap on the census: A number of prominent conservative and libertarian Republicans have been blasting the census for months.
“We've got that hard-to-count element, along with these fringe (anti-government) groups that are advocating resistance,” she said. “They think they are hurting the government. They are really hurting themselves and their communities.
It's funny because it's happening to Texas. Aside from the electoral vote and Congressional representation issues, it is estimated that every uncounted American means a loss of about $12,000 in funding for their state over the next decade. But then again, you do get to take a massive sense of unjustified pride knowing hat you really stuck one to the man and that when the black helicopters come for the people that buy Sean Hannity's books, your ingenious move to not fill out the census will have save you a lifetime of toil in comrade Obama's work camps.

For those of us who don't see a conspiracy around every corner and actually take the time to fill out all 10 ultra-complex questions, it'll just mean our state gets more and Texas will have 1-4 less idiots like Louis Gohmert screaming about God knows what on the TV. It's a good thing.

For a less dumb, but still dumb, form of protest, Facebook has offered up the group For Race, Write Human, where you are supposed to write "Human" in the race sot instead of ticking the box marked American Indian, Negro (seriously), Caucasian, or Asian. I tried, but I accidentally ended up writing "WHITE!!!!!!" with six exclamation points.

The Simpsons Did Something Funny

Just a quick reminder that, apart from the two countries we are currently occupying by force, Israel is by far the largest recipient of US foreign economic and military aid. Egypt is 4th. Serbia and Montenegro get the shaft.

Apropos, we recommend yesterday's NYT thought piece on how an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities might play out.

Editing of the Day

Via Andrew Sullivan comes James Fallows' quick look at how closely Obama goes over his speeches. I suppose you would expect such things from a snooty elitist constitutional law professor.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Universe is as it should be

Have you ever randomly stumbled across something that instantly made you feel as though you'd been waiting your entire life for its arrival? That happened to me earlier today when I discovered the Benny Hillifier.

This little chunk of genius will dub the Benny Hill theme over a video of your choosing. I'm thinking a little of Elias' death from Platoon mixed with some Omaha Beach from Saving Private Ryan and topped off with a Braveheart clip or two might just be the ticket. Enjoy.

And, as always, we encourage you to include as much pornography as possible in your abuse of this device.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Broken News: Obama heralds passing of health care bill: "Look out Chile, we're coming for you"

WASHINGTON DC—After the final reconciliation measures were passed by the House yesterday and signed into law by the President early this morning the health care battle, at long last, seems to be over. The war, however, is just beginning.

At an afternoon press conference, President Obama pledged that these newly passed reforms were just the opening gambit in what he called a full-fledged assault on the United States not having as embarrassing a world health care ranking as it previously had.

“People of America,” the President began. “This is not the end of the road, merely a humble beginning. With the dreams of generations and the hopes of millions behind it, I say this: no longer with American health care languish in the low thirties of World Health Organization rankings, near such counties as Slovenia or Cuba. No, America is on a trajectory that will carry us at least into the low-30s or so. To the nations of the world, to Denmark, to Chile, to Australia I say, we are coming for you and we will not be stopped!”

In closing he added, “I’m serious. We’re fucking gunning for you, Chile! That #33 ranking is ours!”

The short speech confirmed what many had assumed to be one of the larger, unmentioned goals of the health reform movement: negating the “No, try 37th” response from other countries that greeted the American declarations of “US health care, #1 in the world, baby!” often punctuated by a “Yeeeeee haaaaaaaw,” the sounding of an air horn, the pained howling of a basset hound, the waving of a foam “#1” finger, or the throttled revving of the engine of a Harley-Davidson.

Indeed, while evaluating the fiscal impact of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the Congressional Budget Office factored in a decrease in the level of shame and self-delusion afflicting one who made the grievously inaccurate, yet unsurprisingly common assertion about about the supremacy of American health care.

As to to why the President has set his sights to squarely on usurping Chile is another question entirely.

“I know people might see Chile’s #33 ranking and ask if that isn’t too low-hanging a fruit and if we shouldn’t place our aims higher,” observed Douglas Elmendorf, head of the CBO. “Actually, strike that. Americans certainly wouldn’t be thinking about fruit; when they think of Chile they think of baby-back ribs or jalape├▒o poppers or something. Hence, the need for health reform. But still, I think that if this protracted legislative process has taught us anything it’s that the President is extremely pragmatic.”

“Extremely, infuriatingly, maddeningly, counter-productively pragmatic,” Elmendorf grumbled. “Besides, do you think we could honestly make a run at Finland at #31? Scandinavian health care? Uh-uh. Chile is the safe bet.”

Health analysts noted that Chile’s recent propensity for apocalyptic earthquakes and the general US-backed instability of the entirety of Latin America make it a prime target.

“They’re just one more 8.0 away from sliding into the sea,” observed health policy analyst Dana Garrett. “Given these new reforms and a spot of good weather, we ought to be able to crawl up a few spots and wait for Mother Nature to do the rest. If we can trust to the inveterate alcoholism of the Australian people, not to mention their well-known propensity for drag racing through the post-apocalyptic wastes of their homeland, we might have a decent shot at #32.”

Spokesmen for the government note that this should be a happy time for the country.

“Look, soon we’ll be able to hold our heads up with a mild sense of pride in what we begrudgingly allowed our health care system to become,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. “Be happy. Not as happy as you would have been had Congress and the President decided that something other than mandatory enrollment in the insurance industry's programs with minor tweaks to the law saying they can’t be as huge a group of bastards anymore, but happy nonetheless.”

Sources within the government say that the President hopes to have usurped Chile’s position by 2015 and have the country ready to make a move on Finland by the end of his second term, provided the insurance and pharmaceutical industries allow further tweaks to the health care system and factoring in a retasking of the CIA’s earthquake causing satellite to Helsinki.

Cheap Blogging Crutch - 3.26.10

The above photo, by the immensely talented James Vernacotola, tracks the ascent of the 32nd shuttle mission to the International Space Station, STS-130, which left planet Earth on February 8. This early morning launch and its gorgeous reflection were captured from the Intracoastal Waterway Bridge in Ponte Vedra, Florida, about 115 miles north of the launch site. As always, click to embiggen while you're reminded of What We Can Do.

American Health Care is Just Fine, Thanks
When Houston Tracy was born on March 15th in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, everything seemed fine. Ten fingers, ten toes. But not long after the cord was cut, doctors realized that Houston had been born with a life-threatening heart defect. Luckily, the condition is easily treated with surgery. Not so luckily, Houston's father, Doug, had his application for health insurance to cover his newborn son denied. The reason? A pre-existing condition. Doug Tracy said it best himself: "How can he have a pre-existing condition if the baby didn't exist until now?"

Socialist President Bows to Communist Overlords
With his left hand (the strong one), President Obama would initiate a government takeover of your health care, your freedoms, and your grandmas, while with his right he would seek to further weaken this great nation in the eyes of our enemies. His latest crime? "The most comprehensive arms control agreement in nearly two decades." This "hopey changey" shit has really got me down.

To Arms!
The South Korean military has launched a massive rescue operation after one of their vessels went down near Baengnyeong island, close to the disputed maritime border between their country and North Korea. The ship was carrying a crew of 104 personnel and was apparently targeted for its repeated attempts to interdict North Korea-bound freighters full of jumpsuits, sunglasses, and Courvoisier.

Mission Re-(ally)Accomplished
Crusader Castle, home of the largest US diplomatic mission in the world, also known as "Fortress America," is now home to the first artificial turf sports field in Iraq. We might not have provided this country with security, a functioning economy, or a democratic process free of fraud, but we sure as shit gave them the "safest, highest performing, and most durable artificial turf system in the world,” according to FieldTurf President Eric Daliere. No word yet on whether any non-diplomats (i.e. the Iraqi people) will actually be permitted to use the field.

"ButterFat 100 return to their psychobilly/emo core roots"
I'm told it's Friday, so I might as well leave you with a little pure gold from the Internet archives. Almost five years ago, atrocious prose factory Pitchfork asked David Cross to write a guest "Top 10" list. The talented Mr. Cross elected to provide them with the classic "Albums to Listen to While Reading Overwrought Pitchfork Reviews." I bring this up now only because I head that Wittgenstein's Mistress absolutely killed at SXSW. What, you haven't heard of them?!?!

This also happened

Lost in all the hysteria about Barack Obama traveling back in time to help Benedict Arnold surrender West Point to the limeys and alternately murder all four of Thomas Jefferson's grandparents while they were children (that's why Texas had to erase him from history), was the fact that something else happened. Student Loans were reformed. And, in a break from tradition, was done so in a non-corrupt manner that didn't result in tons of shady giveaways to corporate interests, and could actually be classified as *whispers* liberal. Shh, don't tell anyone.

Now on any other week this would be hailed as some sort of massive progressive achievement. But this week also included the systematic dismantling of Abe Lincoln's log cabin or something, so it got lost in the shuffle. What happened?
Ending one of the fiercest lobbying fights in Washington, Congress voted Thursday to force commercial banks out of the federal student loan market, cutting off billions of dollars in profits in a sweeping restructuring of financial-aid programs and redirecting most of the money to new education initiatives.
The Congressional Budget Office said the direct-lending approach would save taxpayers about $61 billion over 10 years. Roughly $40 billion of the savings will be redirected to higher education. Education programs will get an additional $10 billion from the health care package.

The bill includes some landmark changes, like automatic increases, tied to inflation, in the maximum Pell grant award.
The legislation will make it easier to pay back student loans, by reducing the share of income that a graduate must devote to loan payments and by accelerating loan forgiveness
Wait, they ended the bank racket that allowed them to make risk free government backed loans, expanded access to college for lower income students, made serious investments in higher education, and making it easier to pay off those loans? I'm not sure I feel comfortable with this unless I'm assured there's some sort of crooked deal with banks and financial giants that we haven't heard about. This just isn't how the American government is supposed to do business! This is an outrage! Now Sean is going to have to stop stripping to pay off his loans!

Listen, I'd like to be able to explain to you just what all of this means. But unless I have Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, or the Congressional GOP telling me specifically how this is going to rough up my mother in a dark alley, cause tiny Joesph Stalins to burst out of my ribcage, pour sugar in my father's gas tank, and date rape Betsy Ross I'm not sure how to grasp what I'm sure was an unprecedented assault on freedom.

Let's just assume they dug up the corpse of liberty that they had previously killed and buried during health reform and had sex with it while MSNBC filmed it. Deal? Deal. Now let's go cut the breaks on the car of some Congressmen who voted for it.

Video of the day

The last three minutes of Rob Carter's Metropolis, a video which uses stop motion and cutout photos to trace the progression of the Catawba Trading Path into Charlotte, North Carolina, one of the fastest growing cites in the country. The full 9 minute and 30 second progression is up on his website.

Metropolis by Rob Carter - Last 3 minutes from Rob Carter on Vimeo.

Movies that need to come out already

Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Looks like a slice of fried gold. As an addendum, it's appears the songs in the trailer and in the movie will be done by Beck, who took the songs and lyrics Brian Lee O'Malley did in the comic book and... Becked 'em up. As if it needs to be said, you really need to avail yourselves of the comic book series irregardless of whether or not you want to see the movie. The 6th and final volume is out in July.

Chuck did it

Now that health reform is truly and finally over, no take backsies and no do overs, we're finally starting to see some of the GOP messaging form for their election campaign later in the year. Aside from all the veiled calls to violence and apocalyptic musings, the main message is centered around repeal.

To which the Democratic response has been "Sure! Which part do you want to argue for repealing in an election: the parts about preexisting coverage, the parts about covering children, the parts about discrimination, the parts that cut the deficit, or the parts that make health care cheaper?" The President almost peed himself laughing at the thought of it. Some of the more honest Republicans have admitted that repealing the bill is pretty much impossible as long as Obama is in the White House and that this is all effectively a big circle jerk in an echo chamber. Even the phony lawsuits, mostly filed by state AG's trying to run for higher office, are centered on the one same main theme: getting people riled up and angry without any real intent to do what you say you're going to do.

But former Gang of Six GOP negotiator and death panel aficionado Chuck Grassley is deciding to take another road.
In the memo send out to reporters by his staff on on the Senate Finance Commitee, Grassley claims that the bill will ensure that "Congress, the IRS, and the public will now
have additional tools and information to ensure that charitable hospitals act charitably."

There's a reason the bill is so good when it comes to hospitals, Grassley's staff writes -- bipartisanship.

"The health care legislation signed into law yesterday includes provisions Grassley co-authored to impose standards for the tax exemption of charitable hospitals for the first time," his Finance Committee press staff writes.
Yeah, he's praising the bill and trying to take credit for it. Uh-oh, looks like someone is going to be put in crosshairs on Sarah Palin's Facebook page. RELOAD!

You know I think this is going to go the way of the stimulus. Republicans decry the measure as not working and then go home to stand in front of big checks and tout jobs that they and they alone have brought to their district and state by means of the magical incantation of STIM-HYOO-LUSS and the waving of a wand. I guess Grassley thinks this think might be popular once the talk of killing granny and defiling her corpse out of the equation. We'd just like to congratulate Chuck on the new land speed record he set for backtracking. I hope he didn't get any severe whiplash or neck injuries from the sudden directional change. Ahh fuck it, he's got health care, it doesn't matter.

Stay classy, Eric and the rest of the GOP

As Sean referenced in his post yesterday, the dead-enders of the teabagging spectrum of American politics are not taking the prospect of cheaper, more accessible health care well. In no small part egged on by the litany of right wing commentators and politicians calling majority enacting of broadly popular legislation tyranny, the end of civilization, the end of America, Armageddon, and calling for revolution or at least an armed insurrection, there has been an uptick in violence towards Democratic lawmakers who voted for the bill. Everything from bricks through windows, to phoned in death threats, to faxing nooses to lawmakers, to cutting the gas lines of the brother of Congressman Perriello, to mailing white powder to Anthony Weiner, it's really a cavalcade of dangerous low level right wing terrorism by petulant children. Catalog the ongoing stupidity at TPM.

And so the response from Democrats has been to condemn the attacks and ask that Republicans maybe tone down the insanity juuust a few notches, maybe stop the calls for a new American revolution, and downgrade the danger to society from complete apocalypse to minor Armageddon. So in turn John Boenher went out and released a statement affirming that bad things were bad and good things were good, but wanted you to understand that he knew bad things were bad. Thus the response from Democrats was "Uhhh... Ok" and they knew in their hearts that this was as much of an apology as they were going to get.

But apparently some memo has been going around the halls of Congress and the GOP has decided that they aren't coming across as big enough assholes during this run of violence, so Eric Cantor immediately followed up Boehner's vague speech with one placing the blame on where it truly lied: with Democrats.
"I've never blamed anyone in this body for that. Period. Any suggestion that a leader in this body that would incite threats or acts against other members is akin to saying that I would endanger myself, my wife or my children."

Cantor said a bullet was shot through the window of his Richmond, Va., campaign office this week, and that he's gotten threatening emails.
"It is reckless to use these incidents as media vehicles for political gain," he said. He called out DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen and DNC Chair Tim Kaine by name as those who are "dangerously fanning the flames by suggesting that these incidents be used as a political weapon."

"To use such threats against members of congress is not a partisan issue," he said. "By ratcheting up the rhetoric some will only inflame these situations to dangerous levels."
There's video, so you can see that he actually said that with a straight face. Yes, it is not the people who are calling for revolution and heralding the end of all things that are to blame for violence, it's people who point out that the violence is politically motivated after the fact that are clearly to blame. And he's been subject to violence too! Not that he would ever stoop to politicizing it by politicizing it in a political speech about politicizing violence. Sure, police called bullshit on his claims and said that his "bullet attack" was just random and the result of a bullet, fired into the air, randomly coming down and striking his office. Don't you see how that's worse? Gravity is attacking Eric Cantor!

Soon, other Republicans were taking Cantor's ideas to heart and were out in full force blaming Democrats for this. Reps Price and Bachmann hit the airwaves to decry Democratic politicization of right wing fueled attacks. In the case of Tom Perriello, where a Tea Party activist deliberately posted up the address of Perriello's brother and told fellow teabaggers to "drop by", thinking it was Rep Perriello's house, and then, magically, a gas line got cut, the NRCC not only downplayed the violence but excused it and claimed that the real victims were those in Periello's district who would be harmed by cheaper health care. It should be noted that Periello's brother has a wife and 4 small children.

Way to keep it classy, GOP. I thought there wasn't a lower place you could go, but the inciting of violence and then tacitly endorsing it and excusing it when it happens, only stopping to blame victims, was something I didn't see coming. It was my mistake for thinking some shred of human decency existed when things like gas lines being cut, children being endangers, and anthrax threats were being made and you'd have some sort of discernibly human reaction. Guess not. Whatever, keep calling for revolution, uprisings, and coded statements about "showing lawmakers the will of the people... wink wink", I'm sure it has no connection to any of these attacks. Keep it classy. Maybe there will be an actual death soon for you to blame on the victim.

Picture of the Day

Barry shopping for kindling in Iowa City yesterday

Your morning message board hilarity

In all this debate over the health reform bills America has forgot to listen to one important voice in this debate: fiddle wizard Charlie Daniels and his fans who post on his message board. Sure we hear all sorts of nonsense from "experts", "analysts", "Congressional Budget Offices", and "elected representatives", but what about the considered opinion of a man who wrote It Ain't No Rag It's A Flag and his fans?

Black Monday 03/22/10
To paraphrase a statement by Franklin Roosevelt, Monday March 22, 2010 will be a day that will live in infamy, the day the Democratic controlled congress sold out the American people, voting in a health care bill that a majority of the American people have said over and over they didn't want.

We no longer have a representative government; we essentially have a dictatorship that is willing to force their will on us regardless of what we want. This is the most despicable act ever perpetrated on the American public by the most dishonorable congress we've ever had.
Oh, it gets better. This is a man who was in a Geico commercial. He plays a fiddle! Do you doubt his expertise? I know what you're saying "Charlie Daniels and his fans musing on health care and going mental over the state of the country? Sign me up." I know, but it's a like a million times better than that.

Much in that same vein, we all know that sometimes science is a cruel mistress that shuts out important data from respected individuals. People like the Revered Jim Osbourne of the Landover Baptist Church. I'm not sure of the exact degrees the Reverend holds in Advance Celestial Mathematics, Physics, and Complex Sciencing and Sciencstry, but the man is dropping bombshells left and right on his message board about the state of the universe. Fact bombshells!

Are Stars Actually Giant Diamonds? Science and Math Confirms It
Since stars are clearly stated to be designed for human purpose, it makes no sense that they would be millions of light-years away like scientists claim. If God made stars so we can keep track of time, why seperate them from earth by vast distances? Furthermore, if they were millions of light-years away, that would mean they would have to be very, very big -- even bigger than our own sun. No, that doesn't make sense at all.

Stars are simply lights. But they are not the same as the sun, as scientists say because stars are not yellowish-orange. They are white, silvery, and twinkly. I hypothesize that they are actually celestial diamonds that are reflecting moonlight. That would account for their white-silvery light. They can't be lumps of coal like the sun, otherwise they would be yellow. I think we can agree that diamonds would be the most likely choice.
Does anyone need any more proof? Well if you do I think you'll be glad to know that he also reveals, with the help of his faithful parishioners, that some how because of the magic light properties of diamonds that make light travel through diamonds at about 1/3 the speed of light, that also proves that the universe in 6,000 years old. As one of the posters is keen to point out, this is just "drawing conclusions from sound observations and no wild speculation." Agreed. I mean who knew that God was actually Lucy in the sky with diamonds?

As the Reverend Jim later says, "This is hard science, real science, not the crazy beliefs and blind faith of atheist scientists." Yes, there are giant diamonds floating in space that prove the universe is as old as adding up all the ages in the Bible. Someone get on the blower and call up the Texas State Board of Education. There's still time to get this information into the textbooks!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Musings on a Party, Tea'd

This picture requires no caption.

Allison Kilkenny has put together a pretty comprehensive collection of post-health care Tea Party lunacy over at True/Slant. We highly recommend, and recommend highly, that you give her work a read.

In light of the whole bricks-through-windows, gas line-slashing, Palin-backed armed insurrection horseshit of the past 48 hours, I just want to make one thing clear, so long as we're talking guns n' government n' such.

If any of these flag-wrapped, gutless cretins who consider racist taunts and death threats a proper response to elected political officials enacting legislation by majority vote did not exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote in 2008, or do not plan to do so again this November, they need to have their participatory Democracy cards revoked. They need to be put on notice from now until the end of recorded time. In point of fact, they should be put up against the wall and shot.

I didn't toss bricks through windows or physically threaten elected officials seven years ago when the Republican party was off waging unjustified and illegal wars that have cost this country close to a trillion dollars, listening to my phone calls, and undermining the public education system. Know what I did? I fucking
voted. In my own small way, I helped dictate the course of a national election, knowing full well that those I helped place in positions of power would enact legislative measures with which I both agreed and disagreed.

That's how it works, you spineless troglodytes. But, by all means, feel free to keep vandalizing property, threatening congressional representatives and inviting criminal investigation. You're doing a hell of a job so far and, not surprisingly,
raising plenty of money for a Republican party that took its sweet-ass time condemning your sophomoric tantrums. The trouble is that you, just like the party for which you inexplicably vote year-in and year-out, absolutely reek of desperation.

In an election year, that scent carries farther than you might think.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Our Betters: A Celebratory Evening in the Oval Office

Barack Obama: Congratulations, Madame Speaker. You did it. We've finally passed the health care bill.

Nancy Pelosi: I can't take all the credit, Mr. President. We all worked to make this happen.

Harry Reid: Fingers crossed, we'll get this through the Senate without much trouble.

(Rahm Emanuel emerges from dumbwaiter)

Emanuel: Mr. President, as soon as you're done sucking each other's dicks, we really need to move on.

(Obama smacks Emanuel with rolled up newspaper)

Obama: Rahm, what did I tell you about using such language in the Oval Office?

Emanuel: Sorry, Mr. President. Won't happen again. Now, if we could just--

(distant jangling of ice in a glass)

Pelosi: What was that?

(barely audible cackling)

Reid: Mr. President, I thought you sent him to Israel?

Emanuel: That was weeks ago, fuckwit.

(Obama sprays water bottle in Emanuel's face)

Emanuel: Sorry, sir.

(off-key singing of "I Wanna be an Airborne Ranger", drawing closer)

Emanuel: Oh, shit.

(Obama shakes coffee can filled with coins)

Obama: SHHH! Ok, everybody. Try to be polite. With any luck, he'll get bored and wander off. And Harry, don't look him in the eye. No one look him in the eye. Remember what happened last time?

Reid: I'd rather not, sir.

(door flies open)


(throws empty glass against wall)

Biden: How come nobody told me we were celebrating in here? I'd have brought whores. And more liquor. And whores!

(lights fresh cigarillo, throws match on floor)

Obama: Well, Joe, this thing isn't quite over. We're putting together a strategy to--

Biden: My entire ass! We stomped those bitches to jelly! Them and their crazy, racist, tea-bagging vandal underlings. Did you hear those cretins are tossing bricks through windows? This is a big fuckin' deal, people! Holy fuck, I love Democracy!

(produces half-empty bottle of bourbon and four shot glasses from jacket)

Biden: That senate shit can wait a minute. Time to sack up and party. All you bitches, drink my shots!

(punches Reid in the shoulder)

Biden: You like that? One of my poker buddies literally taught me that. I think it's some sort of Native American toast. Or maybe Irish.

(takes long pull on bottle. Everyone drinks. Pelosi coughs. Biden slaps her on the ass. Hard.)

Biden: Haw! Broads in politics. What'll they think of next? Good shit, huh? Hey, Rahm!

Emanuel: Yeah?

(Biden punches Emanuel square in the face. Emanuel crumples to the carpet.)

Biden: Damn, kid, you've got a jaw like a cinderblock. I fuckin' love ya! Know what that taste in your mouth is?

Emanuel: Blood?

Biden: Bullshit! That's the taste of victory, you scheming little cock-puncher! Fuck, we gave 'em the Sioux City Sarsparilla, the ole Tuscaloosa Tango, the Tulsa Tornado, the Birmingham Bromide. We buttered their bean. We peppered their porridge. We fought and bit and scrapped and kicked and....

(Biden starts bobbing and weaving, shadowboxing what is either a small child or large midget.)

Biden: Hoo hah! I'm gonna getcha, you rascal!

(Biden slowly realizes everyone is staring at him and rights himself.)

Biden: Fuck man, be proud! I shat myself twice today, this legislation is so good. Hey Harry, come here.

Reid: I, uh...

Biden: I said get over here!

(Reid walks slowly toward Biden, who puts his hands on Reid's shoulders, tousles his hair and speaks in a fatherly voice.)

Biden: Now, Harry, you know the ball is literally in your court now. This is some serious shit. The Progressive movement has been waiting decades for us to move toward a more just, equitable and affordable health care system. And we are finally on the verge of giving this country just that. Now, when this bill goes over to the senate... hey, why are you staring at the floor?

(Reid looks at ceiling.)

Reid: I... I'm not.

Biden: Goddammit, son. Look me in the eye when I'm talking at you.

(Reid looks at Obama, who sighs and buries his face in his palm.)

Reid: I... uh, I'd rather--


(Reid obliges. Biden's eyes widen and then he just stares into space, a smirk locked in place.)

(The five of them stand there, silent. Emanuel waves a hand slowly in front of Biden's face, which doesn't move.)

Pelosi: Not again...

(Reid whimpers. Biden snaps back into consciousness.)

Biden: Huh? What the... you eyeballin' me, boy?

Reid: No, I, uh...

Biden: I think you are. Only time you stare at something that way is if you plan to fuck it or kill it. You want to fuck me, Harry?

Reid: No! Mr. Vice President, I--


(Biden produces giant claymore, swinging it wildly above his head and chasing Reid around the room.)

Reid: Help! Mr. President! Do something!

Obama: Hey Joe! It's Taco Tuesday in the cafeteria!

(Biden stops running, drops his sword, picks up his whiskey, and smooths out his rumpled suit.)

Biden: Gentlemen. Madame Speaker.

(Biden runs out of room.)

Reid: Thank you, Mr. President.

Pelosi: That was close.

Emanuel: At least the Secret Service confiscated his trident, thank Christ.

(Obama claps once, very loud.)

Obama: Rahm, that goes for blasphemy as well.

Emanuel: Sorry, sir.