January 2010


Too hot for the NFL:

Obviously, nobody wants to watch a bunch of muscley men jump on top of each other in tight shiny pants and slap each other on the ass if it’s going to be interrupted by a bunch of gay shit.

The National Review is outraged that Barack HUSSEIN Obama is cutting government spending in the middle of a recession:

Yesterday’s announcement that the Obama administration plans to scrap funding for voyages to the moon and to Mars, shows how low President Obama’s horizons truly are. [...]

Furthermore, at a time when the president claims his focus is on jobs, scrapping these programs — on which we’ve already spent nearly $10 billion — would cut public spending in one area that actually creates jobs.

Yeah.

You know those great pictures of Earth from outer space, showing our planet suspended against the blackness, a beautiful blue ball? No one has seen that view since the Apollo program ended 38 years ago. No astronaut has seen that view since then. We’ve all just seen the pictures.

So true.

Now, unless Congress rejects the president’s recommendations, the next people to see that view will likely be the Chinese.

I’m glad to see that the conservative intelligentsia are so serious about getting the deficit under control that they might almost consider not spending billions of dollars a year in order to prevent the Chinese from getting to the Moon first second in the top five seventh, except a Democrat proposed it.  Such serious, serious people.  Such a contribution to our democracy.

The Nation asks various representatives of the sorts of people who might read The Nation what they think of Obama after a year.  It’s like going to Baskin-Robbins, if instead of 31 flavors of ice cream they sold 31 flavors of meh.  What kind of meh are you?  I could make an internet quiz, and you could find out if you’re a James Carr, or a Chris Bowers or just a worthless panty-waste failure like Coach always said you would be.  I could make a quiz like that, I have the technology, but I’m busy sobbing on an autographed picture of Craig T. Nelson for reasons which do not concern you.  So no quiz.

I don’t blame/praise Obama for shit that is, Constitutionally speaking, the Congress’ job.  The health care bill(s), the stimulus, etc. – I don’t know how much of his weight he’s thrown behind any of these, and neither do you, and I don’t have a Quantum Universe Simulator to calculate how much better everything would be if only he’d done x more than the unknown amount he’s done already on these things, and neither do you.  You don’t even have an iPad.  And the President can’t make recessions go away by wishing extra-hard, and he can’t be in every airport around the world looking out for losers who light their pants on fire.  Maybe this is a bit simplistic.  Maybe you’d be happier reading Einstein and Spinoza and Socrates’ super awesome an insightful group blog The Super Insightful Brainiac Foundation Report, but you can’t because they’re dead, likely due to my foolishness.  But I’m alive, so you can have my opinion instead.

1. Domestic Presidenting – D+/C-.

F for civil liberties.  F.  Eff.  Ephffpf.  I realize that doing more would be very hard, but if you didn’t want to do hard things you should have run for Regional Assistant Interim President In Training or something.  So this is sort of a case where you either get an A or an F, and you didn’t get an A.  How about an F+?  Is that better?  That’s not even a real grade, but you can have it.  Because you earned it!

B for other stuff.  The EPA lets states regulate CO2, and may do something nationally.  So that’s something.  Also, no one in the Obama administration has been indicted for gross treason yet, and Joe Biden hasn’t shot some old guy in the face while drunk hunting and then made the guy apologize on TV for it yet, so that’s just awesome.  I’m grading on a curve because I have to.

2. Furren Affairs – C+

Obama has not unshit the bed in Iraq, or Afghanistan, because you can’t.  I like that we have timetables, but I don’t like that I don’t believe they’re really real.  OTOH, he’s a darn good spokesmodel for America, and that does actually matter.  So, again, there is somewhat of a curve here, but that’s the standard that has been set.

Overall – C

The very definition of meh.  Pam Atlas’s disturbing vlogs are on one side, Airwolf is on the other, and Obama is right in the middle.  Which reminds me: you can now stream Airwolf on Netflix.  Or, to put it another way: every second of your life up to now has been a second you could have been streaming Airwolf on Netflix, but didn’t, and is a second of your life you have, therefore, wasted.  And if Obama wants to get out of the meh, his SOTU better go a little something like this:

This makes perfect sense:

Dictionaries have been removed from classrooms in southern California schools after a parent complained about a child reading the definition for “oral sex”.

Merriam Webster’s 10th edition, which has been used for the past few years in fourth and fifth grade classrooms (for children aged nine to 10) in Menifee Union school district, has been pulled from shelves over fears that the “sexually graphic” entry is “just not age appropriate”, according to the area’s local paper.

The dictionary’s online definition of the term is “oral stimulation of the genitals”. “It’s hard to sit and read the dictionary, but we’ll be looking to find other things of a graphic nature,” district spokeswoman Betti Cadmus told the paper.

I’m sure she will – for the kids, of course.

They should probably just ban the English language altogether considering all the filth it can conjure.  But first, Betti Cadmus should busy herself documenting the myriad prurient words, phrases and assorted linguistic goings on.  In the spirit of lending a helping hand, Ms. Cadmus, you can start here.

For some reason I woke up feeling just a tiny bit safer than yesterday.  Now I know why:

MADISON, Wis. — A man serving life in prison for first-degree intentional homicide lost his legal battle today to play Dungeons & Dragons behind bars.

Kevin T. Singer filed a federal lawsuit against officials at Wisconsin’s Waupun prison, arguing that a policy banning all Dungeons & Dragons material violated his free speech and due process rights.

Prison officials instigated the Dungeons & Dragons ban among concerns that playing the game promoted gang-related activity and was a threat to security. Singer challenged the ban but the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday upheld it as a reasonable policy.

Indeed.  I’d like to see prison guards try to break up this gang fight:

Failure to abide by the no-D&D policy can be punished by 3d4+3 nights in the box.

Dear The Internet: I got together with my eyes, ears, and brain, and we all agreed that we hate you.

I hope this haunts the sleep of all Brown voters.

While the Servant of the Secret Shrill might not be Aware of All Internet Traditions, he’s as right as you could be about this:

Watching some liberal members of the House explain why they won’t do what’s necessary, and pass the Senate bill, I was wondering what they imagine will happen. Then the answer came to me: it’s the Underpants Gnomes business plan…:

1. Reject the only bill that can be enacted any time soon.
2. ?????
3. Universal coverage!

Sigh.

I got nothing but love for Jane Hamsher most hours of the day, but she really needs to check herself on this.  Seriously. Now.

I’m not blaming her and the lib faction exclusively for the weakening resolve on HCR passage.   There’s Stupak’s panty sniffing mysoginists humping their coat hangers.  And the Blue Dogs - running from the Senate bill like methed up lemmings chasing down a cliff all becauseMassachussetts residents elected Scott Browncake in reaction to a persistently shitty economy rampant unemployment a terrible Democratic candidate lack of positive movement in Washington the esoteric details of a health care reform bill.  It’s true.  Fox news told me so!

Given the stakes, every single last not-Republican needs to be pushing with all their might to get the bill passed – even if it means passing the Senate version, and then tinkering later.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware that the Senate version is an inferior bill in many ways (the House bill isn’t exactly a masterpiece either), but it represents a vast improvement over the status quo, and, what’s monumentally more important, it is the ONLY AVAILABLE OPTION! 

That’s it.  One bite of the apple, and then the princess falls back asleep for another 15-20 years, while thousands of uninsured…die because of lack of insurance.  Maybe we can console the families of the deceased with the warmth emanating from our self-satisfied smiles.

Unless, that is, someone wants to explain to me how our current crop of legislators could get a fillibuster proof bloc to support a more progressive bill.  When they couldn’t do that before Browncake was elected.  What, now Lieberman, Nelson, Landrieu and Olympia Snowe will support the public option?  Or Medicare buy-in?

Or is it that after the Dems get slaughtered in the midterms and Obama’s political capital evaporates (each, in large part because of the self-inflicted defeat of HCR), then the new, more Republicanized House and Senate will come up with a more progressive bill.

This would be properly labeled madness if it weren’t so bone dumb.  We are a parody of ourselves.

In a prudent and circumspect display of judicial restraint, the Supreme Court overturned decades of legal precedent and laws enacted by the elected legislature, and made sure that our campaign laws honor the Original Intent of our Founding Fathers and adhere to the principle of “one dollar, one vote”.  (Canadian dollars are allowed 3/5ths of a vote.)  I didn’t read all the way to the end of the majority’s learned opinion, but I assume that George W. Bush is now President.  That’s how these things usually end, anyways.

I think Mark Schmitt has the appropriately sanguine reaction:

[I]t is important not to overstate the immediate effect on our political life. The “OMG, corporations are now people, with free speech rights!” reaction to the decision overlooks the fact that for almost all purposes, corporations do have free speech rights, and should, although they can be subject to balancing tests just as all rights are, as Scott shows. The principle area in which corporate rights are balanced has been around elections, in which speech rights are balanced against the interest in reducing corruption and, until the Austin precedent was overturned today, reducing the distorting effect of money on the process. [...]

Citizens United is not the end of the line for campaign finance reform. It’s just the end of the line for the traditional kind of reform that relies primarily on futile efforts to limit spending, such as the McCain-Feingold Act. Real reform that expands the ability of candidates and citizens to speak and to be heard is alive and well, and is now the only path to a fair political process.

Until that happens, the bidding for my vote starts at $6.

Greenwald:

Yet even in the face of all of that, it is bewilderment and confusion that reign when our media stars and political figures talk about attempts to attack Americans.  Why would they possibly want to do this? They must be crazy, or drunk with religious fervor, or consumed by blinding, inhumane hatred. Much of that is probably true for individuals willing to blow themselves up in order to slaughter as many innocent civilians as possible.

I’m not sure what the key difference between those who “[attempt] to attack Americans” and “individuals willing to blow themselves up in order to slaughter as many innocent civilians as possible” is supposed to be.  As distinct from Nidal Hassan types, who only shoot soldiers?  A bit of a religious nutter, actually.  Or al-Balawi, who only blew up CIA military liaisons?  Possibly, although he was recruited by the CIA’s Jordanian colleagues “during his imprisonment for outlawed activities on jihadi websites,” which would seem to undercut Greenwald’s assertion that he “beg[a]n with sympathy towards the U.S. and hostility towards Al Qaeda” somewhat.  Or maybe his heart was unusually fickle.

One suspects that Greenwald – in word, if not in thought – is blending two quite distinct categories: active “global Jihad” terrorists; and regular, generally sane Arabs (or not) and Muslims (or not) who have problems, fair or not, with American policy or actions, problems which may lead them to go so far as to tacitly approve the actions of the first group.  While some of their grievances may be the same, those of the second group are far more important, and far more worthy of consideration, than those of the first.

Why?  While there is no single psychological profile of “a terrorist”, or “anti-American militant”, there does seem to be a common profile of the sort of terrorist who carries out attacks in the US, and that profile is what professional psychological profilers call “a total jerk off”.  Seriously, if someone can put together a more pitiful group than the Shoe Bomber, the Underwear Bomber, that loser with the cunning plan to nuke the Brooklyn Bridge, Dr. Hassan, and all the other high-profile super-terrorist arrests we’ve had over the last decade, please don’t.  In the list of things I worry about, al-Qaeda currently ranks somewhere above “stepping on a bee,” and slightly below “Pauly Shore comeback”.  I don’t care what motivates these terrorists because, in addition to all the crazy Allah bullshit, they fail so completely in terrorizing me.  How can we expect our children to try hard in school and compete with the Chinese when we reward terrorists who fail to meet even minimum standards of competence?

Why do “political figures” avoid discussing their political motivations publicly?  (The reason “media stars” don’t discuss it is because OMG A PRETTY WHITE SHARK RAN AWAY FROM HER WEDDING AND BIT A BLONDE LADY AND I THEN I TOTALLY SAW JANET JACKSON’S BOOBIE!!  Stay tuned for pointless speculation by morons.)  Because political figures publicly debating the grievances of whoever blows up the most civilians would not be a very responsible way of deterring groups with grievances from blowing up large numbers of civilians.  (Remember: appeasement doesn’t work.)  That’s one reason.  And then there’s the fact that terrorists are incompetent losers so who gives a shit.

This discussion of terrorism is all by way of bringing up that most neglected secret hobbyhorse of all time, Israel and blahhhh …  Short of making the day 29 hours long, I’m not sure how we are supposed to actually spend more time dealing with this shit, but then, that’s me.  I have no ethnic or religious attachment to either party, I don’t think Left Behind is for reals, and I don’t care to use it as a proxy battlefield for my own political or person discontents.  The story of the connection between Israel and attacks on Americans is, at a minimum, four decades old.  And – and I’m not sure if everyone is fully aware of this – we personally occupy two entire Muslim countries right now, and it is in these countries where most (and 100% of all non-laughable) “attempts to attack Americans” take place.  I’m not sure that spending even more time talking about Israel will really get us any closer to understanding this mystery.  The people who do and will suffer the consequences of what happens in ‘The Holy Land’ are not Americans, they are the Palestinians and Israelis, and how long they decide to continue their endlessly fascinating and infinitely consequential slo-mo race war.  Similarly, what happens in Afghanistan and Iraq will largely be a result of what Americans, Iraqis, Afghans, and other involved parties choose.

And anyway, Israel hates us now, too.  We’ll consider why after they blow up some Americans.

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