Archive for March, 2013



Hey Everybody!

I’ve been following the quickly escalating tensions with North Korea all week. As I’m sure most of the world has been seeing as it’s like the most heavily armed place on Earth outside of Texas. I was worried when Kim Jong Il died because I thought the last true supervillain the world had was gone. When his kid took over I just assumed he’d be another boring, ineffectual member of the iPod generation. Someone more concerned with his fucking shoes or apps then threatening the stability of the Asian continent.

I have to confess, I immediately started missing the old man and those cold, psychotic stares from across the DMZ. I missed how he’d gently toy with me by sending commando units over the border or firing rockets into the Sea of Japan. Oh, the way he’d make me swoon with his Dr. No outfits and his military parades and his virulent rhetoric.

I was starting to worry that the old magic was gone and that I would never know true fascist aggression again.

“North Korea said on Tuesday that all of its strategic rocket and long-range artillery units “are assigned to strike bases of the U.S. imperialist aggressor troops in the U.S. mainland and on Hawaii and Guam and other operational zones in the Pacific as well as all the enemy targets in South Korea and its vicinity.”

“They should be mindful that everything will be reduced to ashes and flames the moment the first attack is unleashed,” the North Korean command said in a statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have risen after North Korea’s launching of a three-stage rocket in December and its third nuclear test last month. In response, Washington and Seoul pushed for a United Nations Security Council resolution imposing more sanctions on North Korea and this month began their annual joint military drills intended to warn North Korea against attacking the South.” – THE NEW YORK TIMES

Be still my beating heart. Sir, I pray you are not toying with me. I haven’t felt this kind of excitement since your father went all COBRA Commander and started sinking South Korean boats and bombing South Korean islands. Of course, not to be outdone The U.S. and the South Koreans started making some aggressive moves of their own. It’s a dance, really. After all, one really is the loneliest number. Well, not for me. I have all kinds of fun by myself. But, you get the point.

“The US has flown two B-2 stealth bombers over South Korea as part of a military exercise.

The US said it demonstrated its forces could conduct “long-range, precision strikes quickly and at will”.

The move follows strong rhetoric from Pyongyang and comes a day after it cut a military hotline with the South…

…Pyongyang has been angered both by annual US-South Korea military drills, and the fresh UN sanctions that followed its third nuclear test on 12 February.

The hotline it severed was the last direct official link between the two nations. A Red Cross hotline and another line used to communicate with the UN Command at Panmunjom have already been cut. An inter-Korean air-traffic hotline still exists.” – BBC NEWS

Forgetting for a moment that the effectiveness of a “stealth” plane is kind of rendered useless when you fly it around in broad daylight where everyone can see it, I have to say I’m getting all gooey inside. I’m going to buy all new underwear now. After the old man died I went through a string of new affairs. Ahmajinedad. Kony. Putin. It was cheap and dirty but I was desperate and lonely. I’m only human. Of flesh and blood I am made. I never imagined that this little boy in North Korea would grow up one day and be a terrifying dictator like his father. And, I think we can all agree that this Kim Jong Un is nobody’s fool. I need to open a window because it is getting hot in here.

“Despite the military alert, Kim Jong-un has found time for civilian-focused duties as leader in recent days, according to the North’s media. The Rodong Sinmun newspaper reported that in addition to his visits to the army, he toured a new restaurant boat on Sunday, “feasting his eyes on the deck and handrails around it” and expressing concern that the view and air-conditioning should be satisfactory.” – THE GUARDIAN

Wow. I just completely lost my erection. I guess I really was a fool to dream.



GOP Corpse

Unlike many people on the left I stopped doing victory laps over the 2012 elections quite a while ago. I celebrated, don’t get me wrong. And then I celebrated some more. But, I quickly started looking to the next election cycle. There is a simple truism in politics: there is no definitive election, only the next election. And sometimes I get a little nervous that Democrats and Progressives are still making fun of Mitt Romney! and not gearing up for the next fight.

Republicans are looking ahead to the next battle. Granted, they don’t have a whole lot of positive stuff to dwell on right now. Hope is kind of all they have. And they recently spent millions and millions of dollars to perform an “autopsy” of what went wrong and why in 2012. I could have accomplished this with fifty cents and a chalkboard but, hey, if they want to pointlessly blow their wads then so be it. I actually have a t-shirt that says that.

“An internal review of the Republican Party released Monday concluded that the GOP must reach out to young, minority and women voters to change its current image as the “narrow minded” party of “stuffy old men.”

In the wake of the Republican Party’s election losses in 2012, the Republican National Committee’s “Growth and Opportunity Project” heard from roughly 50,000 people both inside and outside the Beltway about how to put the party back on a winning track.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus unveiled the report on Monday in a speech that called the 2012 election a “wakeup call.”

The 97-page report also recommend that the GOP champion low-income Americans and do a better job of “connecting people to our policies” rather than sounding “like bookkeepers.”

According to the report, focus groups of former Republicans in Ohio and Iowa found that the Republican Party is seen as “scary,” “narrow minded,” “out of touch” and made up of “stuffy old men.”

“The perception, revealed in polling, that the GOP does not care about people is doing great harm to the Party and its candidates on the federal level, especially in presidential years,” the report said. “It is a major deficiency that must be addressed.” – NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Reince Priebus, which sounds like some kind of anus disorder, has probably the least desirable job in the world right now. And frankly every four years for the last two decades the Republican Party has “autopsied” itself only to find that they suck and suck hard. And then they don’t really do anything different. And they keep on sucking. Round and round and round yet again.

Frankly, this idea that the party can change in any meaningful way is a dead end. I’m sure they feel better by telling themselves that the problem is merely an optical one. And not, you know, the fact that they’re crazy. Or wrong. And as a fairly liberal guy I probably just sound like I’m gloating or something but then you see something like this and you realize that, yeah, Republicans are pretty much fucked for the foreseeable future.

“A CPAC session sponsored by Tea Party Patriots and billed as a primer on teaching activists how to court black voters devolved into a shouting match as some attendees demanded justice for white voters and others shouted down a black woman who reacted in horror.

The session, entitled “Trump The Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You’re Not One?” was led by K. Carl Smith, a black conservative who mostly urged attendees to deflect racism charges by calling themselves “Frederick Douglass Republicans.” – TALKING POINTS MEMO

Jesus, man. Really? Well, shit, I often get mad because people accuse me of being drunk when I quite clearly am. Or if they accuse me of being a pervert because I stand naked in my living room window watching college girls go by. Or that I’m dumb because I spell something wrong. Whatever. I could go on all day. The point is that the Republican Party is composed mostly of billionaires and not-very-bright white guys from… Alabama or something. I really don’t know anymore. But the party cannot change without destroying itself and a simple makeover isn’t going to help. In the end, nobody is going to want to live in your neighborhood while there are pickup trucks parked on the lawn and fat women walking around wearing crop tops.



Fat Drunk and Stupid

As someone who grew up in the 1970’s and 1980’s I have guzzled more than my fair share of soda. When I reached my 20’s, however, something strange happened. My body very clearly told me to stop drinking so much of the shit. And I listened. A few decades and about 60 lbs later I’m glad I paid attention. Unlike some of my friends and family members I still have a functioning pancreas, I can sit on a chair without breaking it and I can maintain an erection for more than 15 seconds.

Also, as someone whose politics fall left of center, I freely admit to being quick on the legislative trigger. You know, just pass a fucking law and fix the problem. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn’t. And the reason is simple: Laws don’t make you smart. My hat is off to New York mayor Michael Bloomberg who attempted to deal with his city’s obesity problem (as well as the related healthcare cost problem) by banning large, sugary drinks. But, you know, judges just can’t stand it when someone else goes around making decisions.

“A judge struck down New York’s limits on large sugary drinks on Monday, one day before they were to take effect, in a significant blow to one of the most ambitious and divisive initiatives of MayorMichael R. Bloomberg’s tenure.

In an unusually critical opinion, Justice Milton A. Tingling of State Supreme Court in Manhattan called the limits “arbitrary and capricious,” echoing the complaints of city business owners and consumers who had deemed the rules unworkable and unenforceable, with confusing loopholes and voluminous exemptions.” – THE NEW YORK TIMES

Normally, I find the complaints of business owners and consumers to be “arbitrary and capricious”. Seriously, talk about two groups of people who are never happy. Or fat enough. And Vladimir Putin will sing THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER naked at a NASCAR race before I ever find myself siding with a large corporation over anything. But, the truth is that I believe it’s a mistake to try and use executive power to force people to make better decisions. Sometimes, just sometimes, they do it all on their own.

“For more than two decades, soda was the No. 1 drink in the U.S. with per capita consumption peaking in 1998 at 54 gallons a year, according industry tracker Beverage Digest. Americans drank just 42 gallons a year of water at the time.

But over the years, as soda increasingly came under fire for fueling the nation’s rising obesity rates, water quietly rose to knock it off the top spot.

Americans now drink an average of 44 gallons of soda a year, a 17 percent drop from the peak in 1998. Over the same time, the average amount of water people drink has increased 38 percent to about 58 gallons a year. Bottled water has led that growth, with consumption nearly doubling to 21 gallons a year.” – ASSOCIATED PRESS

Pretty impressive, isn’t it? And all without a law being passed. Further, it’s impressive that this still happened despite the fast food and soft drink industries pouring millions into PR to try and counter the notion that their products are bad for you. I guess the joke is ultimately on them because thanks to their products and non-stop advertising most people have such short attention spans that corporate propaganda is useless on them. So, in a way, mental deficiencies are actually making people healthier. That’s probably why I’m in such good shape.



Damaged American Goods

It may not seem like it but I’ve actually made a conscious effort to avoid making fun of social conservatives here at Magnus Greel. It’s a lazy way to get a laugh because there’s really no challenge to it. And, like ancient Celtic fairies or South American goblins, they really only exist if you pay attention to them. Sure, they come out in force from time to time and get one of their own into a position of power like a school board or the White House. Inevitably, however, that person is a complete and utter disaster because these people don’t live in the same world as the rest of us.

The religious right has had a good ride. Since the late 1970’s they’ve probably been one of the most powerful and influential segments of American politics. But, that power and influence is on the wane because the rest of the country has just kind of moved on without them. And I can’t help but comment on the flailing attempts of the movement to catch up.

“One Wednesday afternoon last month, Jim Daly drove a couple of miles from his office at Focus on the Family to a classroom building on the University of Colorado’s local campus. Short as the trip was, it carried Mr. Daly beyond his theological and political comfort zone. Such disorientation was the whole point.

As the president and chief executive of Focus on the Family, Mr. Daly oversees a Christian ministry with an annual budget of $98 million, a paid staff of 655 and a fervently conservative view of the Bible and American social issues. Seated beside a philosophy professor at the university, Mr. Daly faced an audience of about 125 students and faculty members, some carrying protest signs: “Focus Isn’t My Family,” “No H8,” “Lez Be Honest Who Am I Hurting by Loving a Girl.”

For the next hour, through alternating moments of contrition and contention, Mr. Daly continued what has been the signal initiative of his term at the evangelical group: transforming an organization associated with the divisive strife of the culture wars into one that invites civil dialogue with its religious and ideological foes.

Mr. Daly did not come to the campus here to retreat from Focus’s opposition to same-sex marriage, which was largely the topic of the event, but to turn down the rhetorical temperature on the debate. “We’ve created an animosity,” he said in one emblematic moment of self-criticism. “We’ve said we hate the sin and love the sinner. But when you peel it back, sometimes we hated the sinner, too. And that’s not the Gospel.” – THE NEW YORK TIMES

Yeah, whatever guys. I tried this myself once when a judge told me it was illegal to be driving as fast as I was and that I was “a danger” to everyone else on the road. I rebranded myself as a fearless tester of gravity and physics and reached out to the police to find common ground. And that shit didn’t work either.

As I think Hitler and Pol Pot both proved, you can’t just dress up a hateful point of view in friendly and loving wrapping paper and expect people to buy it. And perhaps that’s the ultimate problem for people like this: your mistake is in what you believe, not in how you express it. And it’s with that in mind that the religious right’s new mindbending, reality altering argument has emerged: that they are the ones really being persecuted.

“He spoke less of trying to defeat gay marriage initiatives at the ballot box than of preserving the religious freedom of individuals — whether a portrait photographer or a municipal clerk — to refuse to participate in the marital process.

“How do you,” he asked the audience, “in the name of tolerance and diversity accept that we, as Christians, have principles we’ve got to live by?”

That’s good. That’s very good. Ted Bundy and Lee Harvey Oswald also had principles they lived by. And I often complain of being persecuted when the people I’m picking on disagree with me. Also, when the DMV or the phone company wants its money. Or my dog shits on the carpet. In fact, now that I think about it, I’m possibly the most persecuted man in the world. Which sounds a lot nicer than being a raving asshole. Yeah, I think I’m just going to run with that from now on. It may have no basis in reality but it really makes me feel so much better about myself.



Wally Walmart

I’ve never actually set foot inside a Walmart. I’m not only proud of that I’m also kind of smug about it. Truth is, though, I rarely find myself needing cheap plastic shit that’s going to fall apart or give me cancer. Or a country music CD. Or exposure to the lower rungs of society’s ladder. So I don’t shop there. But, hey, to each their own, right? I love that expression. I like to use it when I take a crap in a women’s bathroom or someone accuses me of giving them a disease.

Soon, however, everyone in America (and the world by extension) will be forced to engage in Walmart economics. Why is that? Because for some reason I have yet to figure out, President Obama has decided to open the gates of our government to let the enemy come inside and run things. This is either a brilliantly masterful tactic, the logic of which will become clear later, or the most unbelievably horrible thing ever to happen to us as a country. Frankly, I could go either way.

“Sylvia Mathews Burwell will be nominated Monday by President Barack Obama to be the director of the Office of Management and Budget, a senior Obama administration official said.

Burwell, 47, is currently the head of the Walmart Foundation, the retail chain’s charitable organization. The organization donated nearly $1 billion to causes worldwide in 2011, according to its website.

If confirmed by the Senate, she will assume a Cabinet-rank position as head of the White House agency that assists the president on budget matters.

While it may not have the profile of jobs such as secretary of state or secretary of defense, the OMB position is a central part of a president’s administration. One example of its importance is the rise of Jack Lew, who held that job before becoming White House chief of staff and now treasury secretary.” – CNN

Some people maintain that the private sector does things more efficiently. I respectfully disagree. Well, in my world “respectfully” can involve anything from obnoxious laughter and mockery to outright indecent exposure. The whole reason we have a government is to protect us from the chaos and anarchy of the free market. Not make nice with it. And I understand that my point of view is a rather unique one. At least that’s what a psychologist once told a judge and the charges against me got dropped.

But, whatever. People in this country are like the guy from MEMENTO sometimes. They forget that just four years ago people like Burwell helped drive this country right into the fucking ditch. Putting her in charge of the nation’s budget is like a rape victim choosing her assailant as her new gynecologist. Burwell might as well show up to her confirmation hearings wearing a ski mask and waving a butcher knife. And yeah, I also find it laughable that Walmart has a charitable wing. But, hey, so does Hezbollah and the KKK. Even the largest retail chain in the world has to try and look nice. And try to make an invasive assault seem like something really cool and positive.

“Walmart CEO Mike Duke congratulated Burwell on her upcoming nomination, calling her “a strong leader who both masters the details and has a clear vision for making big things happen.”

“She cares deeply about people (and) she understands business and the role that business, government and civil society must play to build a strong economy that provides opportunities and strengthens communities across the country,” Duke said in a statement.”

A statement like that would be pretty reassuring if it came from a regular person. But, it came from the CEO of Walmart. So other than the fact that it’s probably a bunch of bullshit it’s kind of frightening at the same time. Even Hitler made the invasion of Poland sound like a great idea. And he also had a “clear vision for making big things happen”. And, yes, I realize that Hitler references are a cheap and lazy way to make a point. Eh, fuck it. It’s Monday.