Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Tale of Two Memorial Days

Or as this article puts it, Memorial Day: One Holiday, Two Countries.

It was written by Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director and Founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).

Hope you’ll check it out. They’ve got some pretty intense comments at the end of the article too.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dennis Hopper: 1936 — 2010

God, what a career he had. As far as I know, his first movie role was Rebel Without A Cause (1955), and he was still making films right up through 2009. (This site has a complete list of all of his films.)

Who would’ve guessed that stoned biker from Easy Rider would be a huge star for the next forty years?

He could do that certain crazed intensity that was unlike any other actor I can think of. Those characters (from Speed, River’s Edge, True Romance, The Pickup Artist, among others) always seemed like their warped gonzo craziness would explode onscreen, but they never quite did — like a pan of water that keeps on simmering at 211 degrees and doesn’t boil over.

If I had to pick a favorite — in that sick sort of way — Dennis Hopper character, it would be his role in River’s Edge (1986). It wasn’t one of his better known movies. I don’t remember if it was a big hit or not; it was probably too bleak and pessimistic to attract a lot of viewers. It was about the dead-end lives of a few white trash teenagers in a small town. Dennis Hopper was this crazed recluse that everyone was leery of.

The movie starts with a teenager (who looks like his IQ is about ten) strangling his girlfriend and hiding her body at the edge of a river. Later in the movie it turns out Dennis Hopper had killed his own girlfriend a long time ago. He was telling this same teenager about it, getting all poetic and emotional about why he’d killed her. It was actually moving, in that sick twisted Dennis Hopper sort of way.

He was saying something like “I was so overcome with love and emotion, I just lost control and I had to kill her.” Something like that. And then he said to the teenager, “What about you? Why did you kill your girlfriend?”

The kid just looks at him, deadpan, and says “she was talkin’ shit.”

So Dennis Hopper shot him.


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Friday, May 28, 2010

“Sarah Palin” by Joe McGinniss

Joe McGinniss’ unauthorized biography of Sarah Palin should be a page turner, whatever he says about her.

He’s probably most famous for Fatal Vision, which I never read. His only book I’ve read is Going To Extremes, and it’s one of those books you literally can’t put down until you’re done. It was just his experiences and personal impressions of Alaska, written in 1980.

The book didn’t exactly make you want to drop everything and make a beeline for Alaska. But the way he writes, you just feel like you’re there — camping in the Brooks Range, getting drenched by the 24/7 rain in Ketchikan, seeing another new sterile housing tract in Anchorage that wasn’t there three months earlier, etc.

I was in Alaska a long time ago. I didn’t like it (spectacular scenery though). But Going To Extremes really nails it; the book captures Alaska like nothing else I’ve ever seen or read. (Forget about travel articles, or that lame-ass TV series Northern Exposure from the late ‘80s.)

I have no idea what Joe McGinniss’ political views are. For all I know, his biography will say Sarah Palin is a true salt-of-the-earth pioneer, a Real American, misrepresented by the media, and anyone who doesn’t like her is just an effete ivory tower liberal.

Whatever he writes about her, the book oughta be riveting.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

John Boehner — Speaker of the House

[forms index fingers into a cross] Doesn’t that title just make your blood crawl? [shudder] That’s even worse than those “President Palin” bumper stickers we’ve all seen.

K Street lobbyists are viewing John Boehner as a “good investment.” His unwavering opposition to anything and everything Obama wants, his ability to get his minions (formerly known as congressmen) to march in lockstep and obey his orders without question — Boehner will give America back to Wall Street.

He’s already leaning on a “kitchen cabinet” of lobbyists for more and more contributions to Republican congressional candidates so Republicans can capture the House this November.

If Republicans do capture the House and Boehner gets this promotion, they’ll have to change his job title to Blubbering Crybaby of the House.

It’s too easy to make fun of those two-faced Republican politicians who voted against the stimulus package, trashing it in the process, and then when the stimulus was passed — clutching and grasping at it like a crazed junkie. Rachel Maddow devoted an entire program to naming politicians who had voted against the stimulus, and then were photographed taking part in ribbon-cutting ceremonies for local projects that were Made Possible by that commie stimulus package.

This dead horse has been kicked enough already. Or maybe it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

When the stimulus was being debated, Texas Governor Rick Perry — a self-reliant rugged individualist — said that rejecting the stimulus money “was pretty simple for us. We can take care of ourselves…I am so concerned about the belief that has gained a foothold in our national consciousness that the best and only way to solve our nation’s problems is to drown them with taxpayer dollars.”

He added that Texas “should look a gift horse in the mouth.”

After Congress passed the stimulus, Perry “reluctantly” accepted the money, saying:

“I believe there are better ways to reinvigorate our economy and believe the bill will burden future generations with unprecedented levels of debt.”

Now — and this is where the drug addict comes back for “just one more fix” — the Wall Street Journal reports that Texas has a balanced budget this year because of the stimulus money that Perry refused and then reluctantly accepted.

What would Texas do if they had seceded? Apply for foreign aid from our Kenyan president?

Rick Perry — the former Badass Rugged Individualist — is now slumped on the sidewalk, totally disheveled, holding up a “Will Work For Food” sign.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Republicans to 9/11 First Responders: “Go Fuck Yourselves!”

If you risked your life saving people during the tragedy and chaos of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the GOP has a message for you: “You’ve outlived your usefulness. You’re a burden. We don’t need you any more. Die!”

The September 11 Health and Compensation Act — which would guarantee health care to ailing 9/11 first responders — has met the wrath of the Party of Duuhh.

Representatives Mike Rogers (R—Marie Antoinette), John Shimkus (R—Dildo), Ed Whitfield (R—Inbred) and Phil Gingrey (R—Redneck) all pretty much told 9/11 first responders to get up off their dead asses and quit whining about imaginary ailments.

Among other things, these assholes want first responders — in order to qualify for their health coverage — to be required to appear before Congress every year and grovel for their benefits. Sing for your supper, kind of.

William Romaka, Sergeant-At-Arms of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, said this would punish the people who are ill or disabled because of their heroic acts on September 11th. “Coming back and forth every year is not easy for people who are ill.”

Jim Slevin, the organization’s Vice President, said: “They always say they support us, but it's all about cost.”

Republicans are also determined that no abortions will be covered under this bill. [sigh] Of course.

And speaking of emergencies and first responders, let’s congratulate British Petroleum on their incredibly rapid response to a situation. No no, not their response to the oil spill. [smirk] [pshaw]

But when the call goes out — “Fire in the Public Relations Department!” — BP’s lobbyists and PR hacks are on it like stink on shit. British Petroleum’s PR first responders have already placed full-page ads in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

“Mistakes Were Made.” “We Care.”

Go fuck yourselves.

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Monday, May 24, 2010


Slipknot bass player Paul Gray was found dead today in a motel room near Des Moines, Iowa. He was 38.

According to the article, the band has been on hiatus for a year. I thought they had split up before that, at least unofficially. I have their 2008 CD, “All Hope Is Gone.” But I thought they were pretty much not working together for the last few years, aside from making that CD — egos, personality clashes, etc.

Not that I’d know. I haven’t really been following news about the band. But they rock. I never cared one way or the other about their masks or stage antics or whatever. Their music rocks. Kills!

Phil Spector coined the term “wall of sound” in the 1960s. But that’s how Slipknot sounds to me. Nine band members, eight instrumentalists — I assume their vocalist, Cory Taylor, doesn’t play an instrument. A Wall of Metal. They're fuckin’ riveting!

When it comes to power and adrenaline and euphoria being channeled into music, Slipknot Rules! Pantera — whose last CD was in 2000 — is the only other band that rivals their power and drive and fury. IMHO.

Paul Gray — R.I.P.

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President Obama: “Put Up or Shut the Fuck Up”

Those weren’t his exact words of course. But finally, members of Congress who claim they’re concerned about the deficit — especially when they’re talking about a program they don’t like — will have a chance to prove it.

This will separate the deficit hawks from the deficit chickenhawks.

This law (proposed by Obama) doesn’t give the president quite as much power as the line item veto, which was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1998. But it’s close.

This new law would give the president up to two months — after signing a spending bill — to scrutinize the bill for anything deemed “pork.” The president would then send Congress a list of specific spending cuts from the bill. Congress would be required to hold an up-or-down vote to approve or disapprove the spending cuts.

The bill will probably be introduced later this week by House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (D—S. Carolina). Nancy Pelosi’s response wasn’t exactly bursting with enthusiasm:

“We look forward to reviewing the president's proposal and working together to do what's right for our nation's fiscal health and security, now and in the future.”

Weepin’ John Boehner sobbed: “This is no substitute for a real budget that reins in overall federal spending.”

I’m personally in favor of this idea, even though it's a double-edged sword. It could be Our Worst Nightmare if we get another “cut taxes and triple the defense budget” dildo in the White House.

What say you?

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Manslaughter Charges Against British Petroleum?

Or Transocean? Or Massey Energy? It’ll never happen of course. But Amy Goodman makes an excellent point.

U.S. law defines manslaughter as “the unlawful killing of a human being without malice…Whoever is guilty of involuntary manslaughter, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six years, or both.”

When one person kills another person through negligence, unintentionally — violating traffic laws, letting a vicious Rottweiler run loose — that person could be charged with manslaughter. (Or worse.) So why is it different when a large corporation saves millions of dollars by cutting corners and ignoring safety regulations?

Twenty-nine miners were killed by the explosion by the Upper Big Branch mine owned by Massey. Eleven workers were killed in the fire at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which is owned by Transocean. The drilling operation is handled by BP.

The news has been full of reports on the incredible negligence leading up to both of those tragedies.

Russell Mokhiber, editor of Corporate Crime Reporter, says:

“If I drive my car 90 mph in a 55-mph speed zone, and I accidentally kill someone, I am going to be charged with involuntary manslaughter, for behaving with reckless disregard for those around me. Prosecutors regularly bring these cases. If a corporation operates a workplace with reckless disregard for the safety of the workers, and those workers die as a result, those executives responsible should be prosecuted. That’s why we are calling on the prosecutor of Raleigh County, W.Va., to bring this charge against Massey Energy and its responsible executives.”

Works for me.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Texas: Mission Accomplished

Operation Stupid has been accomplished. It’s a done deal. The final vote was today.

All Texans, please reset your clocks to the eighteenth century. And it’s not just Texas, unfortunately. This includes all future students who will be getting their “education” from Texas’ new whitewashed dumbed-down textbooks.

I kept thinking that at the last minute, people whose IQs were HIGHER than their shoe sizes would prevail over the one-toothed inbreds. No such luck. The “My Parents Are First Cousins” division of the Texas State Board of Education triumphed over their more intelligent counterparts.

Don’t forget now: the Salem Witch Trials were a GOOD thing. And Thomas Jefferson — BAD.

These textbooks will also be warning future students about the evils and dangers of that there United Nations. Them third world tinpot swarthy bastards are a threat to America’s soverin, uhh, sahvareign, er, indeependints…oh gol durn it all — our FREEDOM!!!

Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy! The rest of the world is moving forward while the United States is going backwards and turning into an international basket case with more dunces and retards per square foot than any other country. These rightwing Biblehumping douchebags are afraid some international organization is gonna trample on America’s sovereignty, so they try to fight that by turning America INTO a pathetic basket case that’s going to NEED that international help and interference they’re so afraid of. DUUUHHH!!!

Connect the God Damn Dots!

If these backward intelligence-insulting textbooks don’t get thwarted, it’ll be just a matter of time before formerly third world countries will have magazine ads saying “You can help to educate these poor brainwashed American children or you can turn the page.”

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rand Paul: “I Have Nothing Against the Nigra, If He Knows His Place”

Special Guest Column by Rand Paul:

Sure, that there Civil Rights Act of 1964 was well-intentioned and all, but it went too far. It’s far better for ninety-nine colored people to be unable to eat or buy anything, than for one inbred tobacca-spittin’ redneck to have to let a Nigra into his place of bidness if he don’t wanna.

And don’t even get me started on dadgum Americans With Disabilities Act. Just what the fuck do these people in wheelchairs want anyway? They clog up the sidewalks, they need a special bathroom with a door as big as Texas so they can fit those F$%&!#! wheelchairs through the entrance, they need a special ramp just so they can get in and out of buildings...

And if you’ve ever ridden a bus, you’re familiar with that sinking feeling you get when the bus pulls up to a stop and there’s somebody in a wheelchair waiting to get on. F&%$#!&%#!$$!!! Everything grinds to a halt for ten minutes while this slow motion wheelchair ramp extends out of the doorway so the cripple can roll up and onto the bus. Then everything grinds to a halt for another ten minutes while the ramp slooowly recoils back into the bus. And nobody else can get on or off the bus until the damn cripple has gotten into the bus and gotten himself comfortably seated. Well, I mean, he was already seated, but, you know what I’m saying.

I’m saying: Enough of this Godforsaken Liberal Big Government Nanny State meddling in our lives. The American People want Freedom! We’re taking our country back!

Any more it seems like you’re not a Real American unless you’re a Nigra, Meskin, a Chinaman or some other one of them minorities, or a homosexual, or sitting in a wheelchair all helpless like. And it ain’t right.

The hard part about believing in freedom is, uh, where was I? Wait — I like the sound of that. Can’t you just hear the steel guitars twanging in the background? The hard part about believing in freedom — I got me a country and western song here that just ain’t been written yet.

Well, I ain’t a country singer, but I know someone who is. And she got her finger on the pulse of America. Real Americans, not them blasted minorities and disabled pansies.

So I want you to give her a listen. She got something to say, and if you’re a Real American, you’re sayin' it too.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

James Inhofe, Lisa Murkowski: “BP’s Oil Spill Is a GOOD Thing”

Senator James Inhofe (R—Inbred) and Rep. Lisa Murkowski (R—Prostitute) have spread their legs wider and bent over further for Big Oil than anyone else in Congress, so far.

They’ve both blocked legislation that would increase oil companies’ liability when an oil spill wrecks the environment and thousands of people's livelihoods. The current liability cap is $75 million. $75 million?!?!? For a gigantic bloated company like BP (or Exxon), $75 million isn’t even pocket change.

Congressional Democrats are trying to raise the liability cap to $10 billion. Big Oil’s skanky prostitutes in Congress are determined to prevent this, no matter how wide they have to spread their legs or how much gyrating they have to do.

And the funniest (but not ha ha) part of this whole charade is the stated “reasons” given by Inhofe and Murkowski for opposing this increased liability: They’re concerned about smaller independent oil companies. Smaller companies might be jeopardized if the liability cap is raised too high.

Republicans are concerned about jobs and small businesses. ROTFLMAO. How’s that for a knee-slapper. And if you believe any of that bullshit, I’m a Nigerian prince who has just inherited a large sum of money, and if I could have your Social Security number and your bank account number…

And the Stupid Republican Tricks just keep coming: House Republicans have derailed a science and technology bill. The COMPETES Act would have committed $40 billion over a 3-year period toward the National Science Foundation. This bill also would have provided loan guarantees to small businesses that develop new technologies; and it would have promoted math and science education.

Fine, we’ll just let the rest of the world keep on moving ahead of us and passing us by. And what’s this newfangled “Sigh Ints” you speak of, anyway? Booklarnin’ is for pussies. We got countries to invade; fetuses to protect.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Assassination of an Alabama Geometry Teacher

Now don’t get all hysterical. We’re not talking about literally assassinating anybody. Let’s just use this high school geometry teacher’s bullet-riddled body as a prop for teaching students about lines and angles.

OK, so you’re the same height as this geometry teacher, and you’re shooting from the hip. Your bullet travels into the teacher’s lower abdomen, or maybe the pelvis. Now get ready, you’re about to learn two new geometry terms. The bullet has traveled in a line that’s parallel with the floor, and perpendicular to the geometry teacher.

And now, here's a slightly different context for these same two words. When the geometry teacher was standing upright — i.e. before you shot him — he was perpendicular to the floor. After you shot him, the deceased (or writhing and clutching and screaming) geometry teacher was parallel with the floor.

Wow. And you thought geometry class was supposed to be boring. But be careful if you decide to use “interesting” teaching methods like this for your own class. You might get a stern talking-to from the superintendent.

But at least your name will be kept secret.

This “teaching” incident took place at Corner High School in (or near) Birmingham, AL. Superintendent Phil Hammonds said: “We are going to have a long conversation with him about what's appropriate. It was extremely poor judgment on his part, and a poor choice of words.”

I suspect that if a teacher had used these same geometry examples during the Dumbya years, he'd get a lot more than a stern lecture from the superintendent.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

NRA: “Guns?!?!? Eww! Those Things Are Dangerous!”

Gee, what happened to “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” “A well armed society is a polite society.” “You can take my gun when you pry it from my cold dead child.” Er, I mean “hands.”

At a nationwide NRA convention over the weekend, No Guns Were Allowed. Ooookay!

This no-guns rule came from the Charlotte Convention Center where the convention was held; not from the NRA itself. But the NRA chose that location for their convention. You’d think they might choose a place that doesn’t walk all over their main belief — their whole reason for existence.

Oh well. Maybe a few of them toted along their “I came unarmed. This time” signs.

And now, our new vocabulary word for the day. Slavery was such a harsh word; such an archaic outdated term. From now on it will be politely referred to as the Atlantic Triangular Trade.

Got that? This is just one of many new interesting facts our future students will be learning from their Texas history textbooks.

And speaking of Texas: Here’s a state with an $11 billion budget shortfall, and millions of residents who just hate government bureaucrats who waste their tax dollars. Their swashbuckling hero, Governor Rick Perry, hates big government and wasteful bureaucrats so much, he wants to secede from this socialist cesspool and establish his own Republic of Texas.

And now they find out this bastion of rugged individualism and self-reliance has spent $600,000 — taxpayer dollars! — on his own personal residence near the capital. Taxpayers have been spending $10,000 a month to pay the rent on Governor Perry’s 5-bedroom 3-dining room mansion. While he’s basking in this taxpayer largesse, Perry is asking all state agencies to cut their own budgets by five percent; and a lot of state employees are facing reduced hours.

Ah yes, We The People.

Now is it just me, or is Las Vegas a little unclear on the concept? Las Vegas is undergoing a huge homebuilding spree. There’s either a resurgence in the housing market, or they’re just pretending there’s one.

In any case, thousands of new homes are being frantically built. This is all fine and good, except for odd little detail: As a result of the housing meltdown, Las Vegas already has ten thousand brand new houses that were never sold. They’re sitting empty. And there are another five thousand almost-new houses that were foreclosed after just a few months. They too are just sitting there empty, waiting to be used for — well, something.

And meanwhile developers are digging and paving and building as fast as they can to keep up with this new housing boom — if there even is one — while fifteen thousand already-built houses are sitting there unoccupied; unused.

What’s wrong with this picture?

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Anti-Abortionists: “Let’s Hear It For Obamacare! YEEAAHHH!!!”

Some people on the Far Right were against socialized medicine before they were for it.

There’s a section of the health care reform law that allows state governments to restrict abortion coverage by private insurers. This has the Salem Witch-Hunting community jumping for joy. And you thought the Right was AGAINST government meddling in the marketplace?!?

Oh well, nobody ever accused the wingtards of being decisive or consistent.

An attorney for Americans United for Life said: “We don't consider elective abortion to be health care, so we don't think it's a bad thing for fewer private insurance companies to cover it.”

And since life is sacred, these self-righteous Biblewipes will surely be watching over all of these fetuses AFTER they’re born. Right???

So far Tennessee and Arizona (of course!) have already taken advantage of the new law. In Florida, Mississippi and Missouri, lawmakers have passed these bans and they haven’t yet been signed or vetoed by the respective governors. And similar bans are being considered in Ohio, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

A lobbyist for the Family Research Council said: “You are going to see more actions like this. This is not something we are just going to let fall by the wayside.”

In a related story — well, sort of — Chinese scientists have found a practical use for discarded cigarette butts. Cigarette butts contain chemicals which are toxic enough to kill fish. And now scientists have discovered that these same chemicals can protect a kind of steel used in oil pipes. They prevent the steel from rusting.

Leave it to the Chinese — a practical use for a ubiquitous waste product that was just clogging up garbage dumps and landfills. Maybe this could be a trend.

With so many hazardous byproducts polluting the Earth, maybe somebody could find a use for these waste products.

Or These.

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Inside Israel: Oligarchs vs. The People

Every time Israel makes the American news media, it seems to be either a Palestinian suicide attack, the Israeli prime minister sulking because Obama didn’t get smarmy and kiss-ass enough and didn’t genuflect deeply enough, or gangs of Jewish settlers trampling over a few thousand more Palestinian peons so they can build build build build build.

Who knew that Israel is “a country founded on strict socialist and egalitarian principles.” At least I didn’t know; but it makes perfect sense. After all, Israel’s famous kibbutz’ are basically communes. Working communes, that is; not the “bunch of stoned hippies” stereotype that the word “commune” conjures up in this country.

Lately Israel has been getting more tightly controlled by a few oligarchs. And the public doesn’t like it.

This article says:

“Reading the Israeli business press can be a monotonous affair, dominated by a roster of names familiar to everyone in the country. From banking to real estate, energy to industrials, few stories appear that do not include a Dankner, a Tshuva, a Leviev or one of the 20-odd other families that control Israel Inc.”

An economics professor from Hebrew University in Jerusalem says:

“There is a lot of emotion right now. The general public asks: How come that 20 families control the economy? Israelis want these families to have less power.”

Roughly half of Israel’s market share is controlled by these twenty-odd families. Another economics professor — also from Hebrew University — says that with too much concentration of power, “the drawbacks are clear, and range from influence peddling to mistreatment of minority shareholders and the weakening of competition…If you have the same families facing one another in five different markets, this can facilitate collusion.”

This whole “oligarchs versus the rest of us” issue is heating up among Israelis. And the controversy is bringing out one striking difference between Israel’s oligarchs and their American counterparts:

“Some of Israel’s leading business families have already concluded that it is better to jump than to be pushed.” Some of these controlling families are voluntarily selling off some of their assets.

And presumably — since the article doesn’t mention anything about it — the Israeli oligarchs don’t have thousands of gullible dupes yelling and screaming about “Freedom!” “Liberty!” and “Government Takeover!”

And this brings to mind a question: Do Israel’s rabid American supporters know about any of this? What would Wall Street CEOs and the Glenn Becks and Grover Norquists think? Populist resentment — Class Warfare! — against the oligarchs who control the country — “We thought Israel was our friend.”

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Liquor Distributors Concerned About Underage Drinking

This is a truly heartwarming story. Sometimes large powerful business organizations really DO have a social conscience. They’re not always a bunch of cutthroat money-grubbing sharks, as liberals like to portray them.

This act of charity by the liquor distribution industry is similar to another news story from a few years ago. A bunch of environmental do-gooders were trying to curtail, or even ban, low-flying helicopter tours over the Grand Canyon. The operators of these tours pointed out that low-flying helicopter flights were the only way for elderly and disabled people to ever see the Grand Canyon. These helicopter pilots were selflessly providing a special once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for old, disabled, unfortunate [getting a little teary, a little verklempt…]

And now, alcohol distributors are showing that they, too, can do the right thing.

As you know, teenage drinking has been an ongoing festering problem for generations. And when wild crazy teenagers get together for a night of partying and whoopin’ and hollerin’, their drink of choice is, of course: A bottle of aged, high quality wine that’s been shipped in from out of state.

Ahh [a little twinge of nostalgia] — some things never change.

Come on now, no matter how old you are, just think back to those wild booze binges of your youth. You take a sneak peak at your parents’ list of exotic wines that they’ve ordered. You pore over the list meticulously until — Voila! There’s that 12-year-old Zinfandel that you and your friends have been talking about for months. Yess!!! It’s on the list. You’re gonna snag that motherfucker (your parents won’t notice it’s missing) and you and your buddies are gonna Partee!!!

Those halcyon days…OK, so you’ve scored the Zinfandel, and your wild night is about to begin. As soon as somebody has opened the bottle — with finesse and the proper corkscrew of course — there’s always some lout in the group who wants to reach over and take a swig right away. “Wait! What the fuck are you doin’ Asshole?!?!? Let it breathe!”

Well, as much fun as it is to savor those youthful memories, cracking down on underage drinking is more important. It’s gotta be done. And finally, Congress is listening to the wholesale distributing lobby. There is now a bill in Congress to crack down on this nefarious practice, where wineries can sell and ship their wines directly to their customers.

Teenage drinking will be a thing of the past!

Now in case you’re skeptical of the liquor distributors’ motives (damn liberals and their anti-business whining), here’s a website — Free The Grapes! — with a different take on things.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

America Menaced by Drugs!

Prescription drugs, that is.

Check out this article by Denis Leary — “America’s Gone Nuts On Prescription Drugs.” It’s humorously written, but he makes some valid points. Scary points.

What in the fuck have we turned into? He opens his article with:

“If you're sitting at the blackjack table wearing an adult diaper with a face the size of Elvis's ass and a four-hour erection, maybe it's time to cut down on the pills.”

I can’t believe these ridiculous “Ask Your Doctor About…” TV commercials have actually brainwashed millions of people. People actually watch those ads, with all the dire warnings about scary side effects, and then think “Cool. I’m gonna ask my doctor about that.”

I like what he said about side effects:

“Nausea, anal leakage, dysplasia, and temporary blindness are not just great name choices for late 80's heavy metal bands — they are but a few of the little prices Americans are willing to pay each time they swallow a magic pill designed to help them lose weight, gain confidence, stop shaking or become the proud owners of medically-induced erections.”

There was an Opus cartoon a few years ago that was all about taking one drug, then taking another drug to get rid of the side effects of the first drug, then taking a third drug to squelch the side effects of the second drug, then you need a fourth drug to counteract…

Now obviously there’s been some incredible medical research that’s helped millions of people. But if you have a serious illness, a late-night TV commercial is probably not offering the help you need.

I won’t pretend to know what it’s like to be clinically depressed, but I think I’d rather stay depressed than be stuck with a bunch of permanent uncontrollable involuntary movements. Or as Denis Leary puts it:

“How depressed do you have to be when in order to feel better, you're walking around like a naked grape with a head full of bells and a sudden desire to punch a stranger in the throat?”

And as one of the commenters at the end of this article points out, these hideous side effects are possible if you take just that one drug. If somebody is already on certain medications and/or has gotten sucked in by several of those “Ask Your Doctor About…” commercials, what sort of mutational unthinkable side effects…

Don’t even go there.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Triple Frontier

This is the tentative title of Kathryn Bigelow’s next movie. She directed the multiple Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker, which I still haven’t seen.

Triple Frontier is about the border region where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay intersect. The area has been notorious for smuggling operations and possibly terror financing (according to the U.S. government). The movie hasn’t even been completed yet, and already the Powers That Be from Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina are pissed off at her.

You Go Girl.

Those countries’ tourism industries are concerned that this movie could discourage tourism. Shades of Enemy of the People; or Jaws for that matter.

Officials from the three countries are saying they’ll refuse to cooperate in the production of the movie.

Argentine Tourism Minister Enrique Meyer said:

“We discussed this subject with Paraguay's tourism minister and the governor of Misiones [an Argentine border state]. We all agreed that we were deeply indignant when we discovered that this project seeks to negatively portray this region shared by three South American countries.”

Here are some more links to Triple Frontier.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Potent New Strain of Marijuana Advocate

This isn’t your father’s marijuana advocate. Move over Hockey Moms and Soccer Moms; make way for Marijuana Moms.

There are several women's groups — including Moms for Marijuana and the Women’s Marijuana Movement — that are campaigning for marijuana legalization.

The majority of women are still against legalizing pot. One recent survey shows legalization favored by 52% of men and 37% of women. The most common reason for mothers being in favor of legalized pot is that it’s safer than alcohol and tobacco. Another reason: the fact that pot is illegal means that your child’s pot connection brings him/her into contact with a lot of unsavory people who sell harder drugs.

It’s the old “gateway drug” nonsense being looked at from a different (logical) angle. If it’s true that “98% of all heroin addicts started off on marijuana!!!” — it’s because of our drug laws; not the drug itself. If you have access to pot, you probably have access to other drugs too. There isn’t anything intrinsic in marijuana itself that makes it a gateway drug. Pot doesn’t contain an alkaloid that makes you go “huh, this is OK, but now I want to move up to cocaine, then speed, then heroin.”

But who needs logic when we can have eighty years of “Reefer Madness!” and “Assassin of Youth!” hysteria.

There’s another organization called Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), which is planning a campaign of lobbying and protesting. A group member, Jessica Corry, says “it’s our own little tea party moment.” (And she’s a Republican by the way.)

Corry compares the potential of these groups to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and the fact that a women’s group — Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform — played a large role in getting Prohibition repealed in 1929.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

One World Government to Take Away America’s Guns

Uh oh, a bunch of two-bit furriners taking over America, and the Death of the Second Amendment. Two of the Right’s worst nightmares, rolled into one. OOOOOHHHHH!!!!!

Actually, it’s nowhere near that drastic or sensational. But check out this column by Neal Peirce.

There was a meeting in Chicago of a hundred mayors from around the world. Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said the message he got from the meeting was:

“We're tired of your guns, America. ... Why are you shipping your guns to our country? Why are you marketing guns today ... not with hunting, but guns that are supposed to kill people? ... Why are you doing this to Africa, the Caribbean, Mexico, the rest of the world?”

Mexico City’s mayor said Mexico’s drug gangs are getting 85% of their weapons from the U.S.

The mayors approved a resolution to “seek redress against the gun industry through the courts of the world — including local, state and federal courts, and international courts — for damages caused to our countries, cities and communities by global trafficking of illegal guns.”

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said, “Politicians are so deadly afraid of the NRA that they can't make the right decisions for their constituents.” Nutter wants to bring this issue to the World Court. This could open the door to international lawsuits against American gun manufacturers based on the damage caused by their products.

The mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, said:

“Both national governments and journalists should get used to mayors having strong positions and expressing them.” He mentioned the global conference in Copenhagen on climate change and how ineffective it was: “But national governments did not listen to what we said. Copenhagen was a failure whereas it is in the cities where this fight can be won.”

Delanoe is president of United Cities and Local Governments, an organization representing 1,000 municipalities and 112 city organizations in 136 countries.

Neal Peirce says: “The right moment for mayors and city governments to rise as global policy players may have arrived…Mayors around the world are in increasing personal contact with each other. Rising numbers of city delegations, business and public, are matching ideas and strategies on worldwide visits. As opposed to nations' political wars, cities' agendas tend to be overwhelmingly practical, not ideological — one recalls the legendary New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia's observation: ‘There is no Democratic or Republican way of cleaning the streets.’”

Like it or not, globalization is here. The world is shrinking. Nations are becoming less and less self-contained, and all six billion of us (or whatever the number is up to now) are becoming more connected and interdependent.

Peirce’s column ends with:

“Could we have a worldwide urban voice taking that practical approach about restraining guns, or acting on carbon issues before cities are either flooded or victimized by extreme heat? Let's hope.”

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

American Soldiers Are Too Pampered, Too Expensive, Too Needy

Wait, don’t shoot! I didn’t say it — the Pentagon did.

Pay raises and soaring health care expenses (soldiers’ wives and children are covered too) are costing the Defense Department too much. If this keeps up, where will the Pentagon's next $8,000 hammer come from?

Clifford L. Stanley, the undersecretary of defense, told Congress last March that rising personnel costs could “dramatically affect the readiness of the department.” There might be less money to pay for operations and equipment maintenance.

Damn right! We sent these whiny soldiers overseas to fight and get killed or maimed, not sit there and whine about their benefits. And who told them to get married and have children, anyway? If the military wanted you to have a spouse they would’ve issued you one!

Fortunately, some powerful people are not willing to balance the budget on the backs of soldiers and their families. Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.) is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and chairman of its military personnel subcommittee. She said:

"Both sides of the aisle are trying to send a very clear message to our military that we appreciate their service. We end up with a false choice — are we going to fund weapons or are we going to fund people? The reality is, we need both."

Thomas J. Tradewell, Sr., leader of Veterans of Foreign Wars, said: "Any attempt to link rising military personnel costs with shrinking military readiness is total nonsense."

Could there possibly be another way to reduce the Pentagon's budget? Let’s see…[ponders]...[drums fingers]…uhh, hmmm... I can’t seem to think of anything.

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Friday, May 07, 2010

Woodstock 2010

Hey Man, did you miss the original Woodstock? How about the 25th Anniversary Woodstock wannabe in 1994?

Don’t worry; it’s cool. You can still catch this year’s Woodstock. It's the grooviest one yet Man. It’ll be at the Monona County Fairgrounds in Onawa, Iowa. And the date — well what date do you think, Man??? September 11th, when else Man? Can't get any more symbolic than that.

Our country survived the terrorist attack nine years ago on that date, by those swarthy Muslims from Iraq. And By God we'll survive the daily Assaults On Freedom by this even swarthier Muslim from Kenya who stole our White House, thank you ACORN and George Soros.

It’ll be 1969 all over again. Back then we were all protesting against the War on Vietnam. And this year we’re all protesting against that Kenyan Fascist in the White House and his War on Real Americans.

Insurance companies, banks, oil companies — they’re our brothers and sisters Man. Freedom! If you don’t want a bunch of government bureaucrats — Big Brother! — poking around in your bank account and your health insurance policy, then come to Woodstock 2010. Death to the Fascist Power Structure!

The drug scene won’t be quite as cool this year. But who needs pot and LSD? We’ll have teabags for everyone. Sure our parents and grandparents thought it was groovy, lying there naked in the rain and mud forty-one years ago.

But this year, well picture this: Thousands of us — Patriots! Real Americans! — lying there in a field in Iowa. And we’ll all be Teabagging!

So come on, Patriots. What are you doing this September 11th? Come and join us. All of your friends will be here.

And just wait ‘til you hear the music at Woodstock 2010. Sure, that psychedelic shit was OK forty-one years ago. But those groups all sounded the same. And what kind of talent does it take to just hold a guitar string up next to the microphone and make a bunch of screeching feedback noises? It sounds cool if you’re stoned, I guess. But that was then.

This year, we’ll be featuring both kinds of music — country AND western.

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Senate Republicans: “Please Hold Until 2012”

Also known as “one man, no vote” as this article puts it.

The Senate has had this sleazy process for a long time, where one senator can place an indefinite hold on a bill or a nominee. They can even do it anonymously. But this tactic is now completely out of control.

As of today, Obama has ninety-one nominees who are still pending. Almost all of them are “pending” because they’ve been put on a hold by a cowardly Republican hiding under a rock.

Any conservatives reading this are thinking at this moment: “Democrats did it too!”

And this is where Reality comes barging in. At this same point in George W. Bush’s presidency, Democrats had placed a hold on 8 — eight! — of Bush’s nominees. Ninety-one to eight.

91 to 8. Sounds like the most lopsided basketball score ever.

And some of the “reasons” behind these holds are more funny than anything else. Jim Bunning is already famous for a previous hold, where he basically told unemployed workers to fuck off and die. In another hold, Bunning tied up the nomination of a U.S. Trade representative. Bunning was sulking because the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative didn’t go after Canada for banning flavored cigarettes.

As contemptible as Bunning is, at least he has the stones to do these holds out in the open — unlike some of his more slippery cowardly colleagues, who do their holds from underneath a rock and don’t even have the balls to slither out and show the public who they are.

The Senate has no specific rules regarding holds. Charles Grassley (R—Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D—Oregon) are trying to eliminate the anonymous “under a rock” syndrome. Grassley said: “If any of my colleagues have holds on either side of the aisle, they ought to have the guts to go public.”

Wyden said: “If you can't make a good public case for why you are doing something, you shouldn't be doing it.”


Did you know Republicans are now in favor of consumer protection? For themselves, anyway. “Let the buyer beware!” only applies when someone else is the buyer.

Twenty Republican donors are demanding that Charlie Crist give back the money they donated to him. Crist pulled a fast one on them when he switched from Republican to Independent, and now “weee waaant our money baaack!”

And speaking of Republican flipflops — well, actually this last item isn’t a flipflop. It, it’s more of a, uh, a mass hallucination suffered by 300 million Americans. Including You, the reader. Come on, you remember, don’t you? For almost two years, Republican politicians and demagogues have been endlessly relentlessly shouting “Drill Baby Drill.”

Haven’t they???

Nope. Sorry — It’s all in your head.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Christian Terrorists Are Safer Than Muslim Terrorists

There doesn’t seem to be much outcry from conservatives over the release of nine members of Hutaree. (Check out some of these links if you’re not familiar with the group or their plans.) A judge has released them until their trial date. The federal government is appealing that ruling.

If these would-be terrorists were Muslims or had Arabic names, the public would be clamoring to send them to Gitmo. Get them out of the country! Americans are not safe having these monsters inside our border. And torture them while you’re at it.

What’s with the double standard here? From my narrow uninformed perspective, a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist. But what do I know?

If somebody has enough weapons to single-handedly invade a small country, and has been conspiring to set off a civil war by killing law enforcement officers and their families — I don’t care if this person’s name is John Smith or Abdullah el-Habiballakhbar. I don’t care if he’s a Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, devil worshiper, atheist, or whatever.

And presumably, if one of your loved ones becomes “collateral damage” in a terrorist attack, you’re not gonna be thinking “I bet it was one of those F#$%!# Muslim — oh, it was Jim Bob? Hey, shit happens.”

I think anyone arrested on terrorism charges — whether it’s conspiracy or after-the-fact — should have their Miranda Rights read to them. (I can’t believe conservatives are still hissyfitting over a 45-year-old Supreme Court ruling.) They should be provided with defense lawyers if they can’t afford one. Their trial should take place here in the U. S. of A; not Cuba. Their guilt or innocence should be determined by a jury in a courtroom; not a few officers in a secret military tribunal. And they shouldn’t have confessions “coerced” out of them while in prison. And they should NOT be released to their homes while they wait for trial.

Everything in the above paragraph applies to ANY terrorist suspect, regardless of their name, nationality or religion.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

“Brownie, You’re Doing a Heckuva Job” — The Sequel

Out of all the incompetent unqualified negligent pusbags who disgraced George W. Bush’s administration — one particular dickwad stood head and shoulders above the rest. And now He’s Baaack.

Former FEMA director Michael Brown — famous for his thumbs-up-his-ass deer-caught-in-the-headlights “response” to Hurricane Katrina — is back in the news. After being the personification of everything that sucked about Bush’s presidency, you’d think he’d stay under his rock 'til he died. Some people must thrive on being the laughingstock of the country.

Yesterday, Brown accused President Obama of purposely doing nothing about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill until after it got out of control. This would give Obama an excuse to shut down offshore oil drilling.

He said:

“The delay was this. It's pure politics. This president has never supported big oil, he's never supported offshore drilling, and now he has an excuse to shut it back down. This is exactly what they want, because now Obama can pander to the environmentalists and say, 'I'm gonna shut it down because it's too dangerous.’”

This brilliant statement gives the inbreds something else to grunt and go "huh huh huh uh uh" about. From the rest of us:

Heckuva theory, Douchebag.

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Monday, May 03, 2010

Justice: “Sorry, We’re Closed”

As of tomorrow, the Supreme Court is closed. Well, not the whole building; just the iconic front entrance.

Over the entrance are the words “Equal Justice Under Law.” But you can’t get in. Talk about a sign of the times. People can still exit through the front entrance, but they have to enter through a side doorway.

This was done for security reasons. Justice Stephen Breyer said no other high court in the world, not even Israel’s, has closed its front entrance. He said the front steps and the main entrance “are not only a means to, but also a metaphor for, access to the court itself.”

However, if you pay a little, uhh, gratuity [wink] you can still get in through the front door. As in, ahem, knowing the right people.

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Sunday, May 02, 2010

Obama: “The Government Is Us”

President Obama gave a graduation speech yesterday in front of 80,000 people at the University of Michigan. Millions of Americans are in dire need of some basic civics lessons; unfortunately, those people probably weren’t in the audience.

Obama said:

“What troubles me is when I hear people say that all of government is inherently bad. When our government is spoken of as some menacing, threatening foreign entity, it ignores the fact that in our democracy, government is us.”

He also urged both sides to tone down the rhetoric just a little:

“Throwing around phrases like 'socialists' and 'Soviet-style takeover,' 'fascists' and 'right-wing nut' — that may grab headlines. But it also closes the door to the possibility of compromise. It undermines democratic deliberation. At its worst, it can send signals to the most extreme elements of our society that perhaps violence is a justifiable response.”

He also urged everyone to open their minds by seeking out opposing viewpoints. Glenn Beck listeners should check out the Huffington Post; New York Times readers should check out the Wall Street Journal.

“It may make your blood boil. Your mind may not be changed. But the practice of listening to opposing views is essential for effective citizenship.”

This is advice we could all use; myself included. Sarah Palin was also giving a speech nearby, around the same time as Obama's speech. But this time I'm not going to fall into my usual routine. Because of Obama's request that we all be more open-minded and less judgmental, I will NOT launch into one of my usual rants about that simple-minded phony Wasilla Hillbilly pandering to a bunch of toothless retarded inbred — OOPS.

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