Friday, November 30, 2012

Twelve things this letter says

1) Gay human beings are no different than animals and inanimate objects.

2) Conservative satire consists of badly misrepresenting the liberal viewpoint and employing false equivalencies.

3) The government and the police are tyrannical trifles who prevent the unleashing of America's full potential as a vigilante paradise and paragon of greed.

4) Freedom of speech also means freedom from any accountability from that speech.

5) Not only is global warming phony, but the worst prospect of it being real is that one would have to drive a Prius.

6) Republicans, unlike Democrats, are consistent on the whole abortion vs. death penalty thing.

7) Democrats want to plunder Social Security, apparently.

8) Activist judges are all liberal, and were probably just being fair and balanced during the Terri Schiavo mess.

9) There's as much oil in the U.S. as in the Middle East, and it totally doesn't go to other countries. Also, it won't pollute like foreign oil does.

10) Liberals are all hippies.

11) Conservative satire consists of badly misrepresenting the liberal viewpoint and employing false equivalencies.

12) Conservative satire consists of badly misrepresenting the liberal viewpoint and employing false equivalencies.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A "Dear John Birch" letter

Dear Suzanne Venker,

No, I won't marry you. Sorry. It's not me. It's you.

See, you're absolutely right that heterosexual marriage is in trouble in the U.S. Why, it’s practically dying right before our eyes! Who gets married anymore? Practically everybody? Well, that’s certainly a drop-off from the olden days when absolutely everybody got married, whether they wanted to or not. I blame the gays myself. What a dire trend!

All kidding aside, Suzanne, you’re right that women and men have shifted dramatically in their views of marriage in recent years. It’s certainly true in our case. These days, I sound like the nurturing feminist and you sound like the crusty, misogynistic patriarch.

Contrary to your thesis, that’s what drew me to you in the first place. Your whole conservative-caveman act is hysterical! I love women who make me laugh. I got such a kick out of it when you told me Fox News was sold on your persona. That’s when I knew you were committed to your whole comedy routine. And I like commitment.

As a single man, I appreciate women for who they are, no matter what that entails. I would never, ever ask a woman to change herself into someone she’s not just to please me. You are who you are, and as long as you’re always trying to make yourself better — and we get along — then we’re good. And, honey, did we ever get along.

But after reading your piece, I’m not sure what to think. “Women aren’t women anymore” and “men have nowhere to go?” I’m starting to think you’re serious about this, and it’s freaking me out. You’re not the woman I fell in love with anymore. I don’t like my women barefoot, pregnant and boring. I don’t want her to stay at home just because she thinks my penis wants to shoulder 100 percent of the economic burden. You say the urge to provide is in my DNA. I wasn’t aware that primal urges included specifically 1950s views of the American suburban family — but, as you so often claimed during our courtship, I am a mutant.

You’re right, though. I haven’t changed; you have. In your insistence to be the high-maintenance, plastic housewife you claim all men need to love, you’ve forgotten to be the retrograde crank I fell in love with.

We really need to talk.

Ian McGibboney
Marriageable man (?)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

When ignorance is hilarious

Threats against the president are never funny, no matter who's in the Oval Office at a given time.

What makes this hilarious to me are the details of this particular case:

1) Despite using the N-word and the word "assassinate" in her post, she claims she's NOT racist and NOT crazy. Well, of course NOT.

2) Not sure why, but the fact that she was fired from Cold Stone Creamery makes me laugh. The headline made me think she was an attorney or something. Still, it's comforting to know that the ice cream shop doesn't condone racism. So that's good.

3) She was shocked — SHOCKED, I tell ya! — that the Secret Service might investigate a threat against the president. And she still isn't sure what she did wrong.

4) She isn't even registered to vote. Take that, potential felony conviction!

5) The funniest thing is, I actually believe that she just tossed that off as a joke, because she clearly is that stupid. I also think it reflects her real feelings, and there's no turning back from that. 


Friday, November 23, 2012

A funny thing about unemployment

This past week, as you may or may not have noticed by the lack of blogs, I've been busy.

Busy writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month (I'm going to finish it, by the way).

Busy baby-sitting my nieces.

Busy running errands for and with family.

Busy helping friends move.

Busy looking for meaningful full-time employment.

Busy working back-breaking and horrifying temp jobs.

So now I'm tired, sore and dehydrated. And I (and others) have a lot to show for it.

Let it never be said that I sit on my ass all day.

I can't wait to get back to work so I can finally relax.

It's a wonderful half off

You know what I find interesting?

Christmas used to be the most commercial holiday. But I think Thanksgiving is becoming that. Or, at least, Black Friday.

Maybe it's because Facebook is so widespread now. But for the past couple of days, all I've heard about is shopping, shopping, shopping.

I hope none of you are buying anything for me. Because I don't need anything but full-time work. After which, I'll be able to give gifts myself once again.

Not that the holidays are supposed to be about stuff.

I will take one thing if you want to give it — a vacation. Man.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Racial tension in line, part 4 (at least)

So I went to a big-box department store this evening (not the one with all the workers planning to strike; the one where you can See Spot Save).

I stood in the express lane, three guests deep. The first one was already rung up. The second one was waiting for the clerk to get her register ready.

The clerk, a young woman, wore a trainee badge. She was black. Another clerk was helping her work the machine. She was white. Both were preoccupied with getting things squared away to check out the woman in front of me.

I stood at the back of the checkout belt and placed my few items on the very rear. There was a large gap between my items and those belonging to the person ahead of me. Usually that doesn't matter, because the clerk moves the belt along. But because she was new and learning the ropes, and the next items up were at the very front anyway, I understood when she didn't advance the belt.

Just then, a tall, formidable man took his place behind me. White guy, sharply dressed, big salt-and-pepper beard, cowboy hat. He looked at me with a hint of recognition, though I'm sure I've never seen him in my life. I joked to myself that it must be that fellow-white-guy nod that always makes me so uncomfortable in checkout lines.

I heard him sigh as his resonating, radio-ready baritone voice boomed:

"Excuse me, miss, can you move the belt along now?"

I looked back over at the clerk. She was still dealing with her trainer, and now the second customer to boot. I've been there. I understand. So I moved my stuff up along the belt, giving the man plenty of room to put his groceries down.

"No, you're OK," he said to me, glaring at the trainee. "It's the principle."

"Well," I said, gesturing, "It's no big deal. So much space, I just figured..."

"Well," he replied, "I have a different agenda."

I'll bet you do, I mouthed after looking away from him for the final time.

None of this description does justice to how angrily this guy was glaring at the trainee. Over a minor and understandable inconvenience, no less. 

I felt a very heavy vibe that race was an issue. Another guy he knew walked up and distracted him with an energetic conversation about football, which may well have been the only thing keeping the guy from saying, "I hate long lines caused by black people."

There must have been something to my suspicion, because after I turned around, a white girl was now manning the register.

There's got to be somewhere I can live where this doesn't keep happening. Seriously.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Quarterbacks and the compassion gap

As divided as we are politically these days, I think the compassion gap is even worse. And the two are tied more directly than even I ever imagined.

I’ll admit, I’m usually one to sniff out the politics in any situation. I see trends and correlations that may or may not be there. Many times, there is no relation. So I try not to take it too far.

Still, it’s difficult to hear or read what liberals and conservatives have to say, and not deduce that their hearts are in very different places. Ways they might not even catch. Ways that occur only artificially, in an age of misinformation.

“If you work full-time, you should be able to pay your bills and have health insurance.”

My brother said this to me last night. In an ideal nation, where people place a premium on working hard and earning one’s keep, this would be a self-evident statement.

But we’re not there right now. For every person who agrees with my brother’s sentiment, I can find at least one other who’ll argue it. They’ll say it depends on the job or some other irrelevant value judgment. Or that it’s not an employer’s duty to provide health care for their employees.

That last line of thought is particularly acute with today’s conservatives. So intoxicated are they with the idea of entrepreneurs and “job creators,” they’ve decided that no one else has any worth. Including, sometimes, themselves.

To put it in football terms, this de facto feudalism is like saying the quarterback is the only player of any value. The owners say it enough and the people start to believe it. Aspiring players all vie to be quarterback. People support a pay grid that favors quarterbacks while throwing token bones to every other position. Players in other positions see themselves as failed quarterbacks who deserve their terrible lot. If a lineman gets injured, he has to pay for his own health care, because he didn’t try hard enough to be a quarterback. When the team wins, all glory goes to the quarterback. When they lose, it’s always the other positions’ fault.

But of course, a football team can’t be all quarterbacks. They’re important, for sure. However, teams also need various skill positions filled by players willing and able to fulfill their duties. All players deserve credit and a decent standard of living for their role in making the team a winner. They shouldn’t be made to feel inferior for not being a quarterback. And any good quarterback will be cognizant of their teammates’ contributions rather than portray himself as the sole reason the team succeeds.

Nobody of any political persuasion tends to favor an arrogant, me-first player — in fact, among people I know, it’s usually the conservatives who complain the most about there being no “I” in “TEAM.” But when it comes to the ultimate team sport — democracy — suddenly “I” is their favorite letter. As in, “I got mine.” Even if they haven’t got anything.

I get that some people naturally feel this way, but I think the conservative media — bankrolled by the people who benefit the most from class warfare — has taken such ignorance to mainstream levels. Time was, deficit talk came mostly from learned economists. These days, it’s every Joe Redneck’s first line of defense against social programs. They say too that unions are the vile scourge of America, as are public servants, or government, or minorities, or anything else that keeps power from being concentrated entirely in the hands of America’s cabal of arrogant quarterbacks.

The most dastardly effect of the right-wing spin machine is the compartmentalization it allows. It’s made compassion selective for so many. Whereas many people know firsthand or through others the value of assistance in a time of struggle and support that assistance accordingly, others will insist that they needed it and others abuse it. Again, the “I got mine” mindset.

These days, the compassion gap is as strong as it ever has been politically. When one persuasion argues that working people should have a decent standard of living no matter how much money they make, and the other side complains about health care reform, unions, the deficit, the government and the people themselves, it’s not hard to tell whose fantasy football team is better off on the field.

If we want America to be a nation of hard workers, we have to make work pay off. And making it pay off starts with valuing ourselves and our citizen teammates.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stuff and "stuff"

I’ll give Mitt Romney this: he has talent.

It takes a lot of talent to give people numerous further reasons to not vote for you more than a week after the election. And that many more reasons to realize what a bullet this whole nation dodged thanks to the Obama landslide.

Romney is saying that Obama won because the Democrats promised them “stuff.”

Even by the high, high standards of stupidity the GOP has set in recent years, this clears the bar with about a foot to spare.

As far as I can tell, the purpose of an election campaign is to explain to voters what you can do for them. When has a campaign ever not promised “stuff” to someone? Even the Tea Party candidates promised to make government incompetent and useless, but at least that was something.

Certainly, the 2012 Republican campaign promised “stuff.” Romney promised lots of “stuff” to lots of people. The only way his campaign differed from Obama’s in that respect was the scope of his “stuff” — way more costly “stuff” to much richer people.

Oh, I see.

“Stuff” doesn’t count if it’s what the rich want. See, they deserve “stuff,” which in turn means it’s not “stuff.” But if the middle class needs “stuff,” then by God it’s “stuff.” And how dare the Democrats pledge to honor the social safety net? And how dare the voters actually consider voting for the party that has helped them and promises to keep on helping them!

I have a theory about the current Republican Party — every plank of their platform boils down to at least one of two things: greed and prejudice.

Try it with any issue.

Economics > supply-side economics > regressive tax cuts > greed.

Abortion > states’ rights > making it illegal > denying women dominion over their bodies > misogyny > prejudice.

Anti-union > pro-corporate > anti-regulation > greed.

Immigration > Mexican border fence > demonization of Hispanics > prejudice.

Abolishing minimum wage > seeking ways to subvert it > hiring via illegal means or outsourcing > greed.

Disgust for social programs > worries about freeloaders > freeloaders meaning poor black people > prejudice.

Military policy > strong defense > endless defense contracts > oil > greed.

Military policy > strong military > American exceptionalism > world’s police > occupation of other countries > prejudice. 

Romney’s groaning over “stuff” suggests that he wanted people to vote Republican despite it not being in their best interest. And he hoped that those people would be too stupid to notice. He expected and demanded votes without regard to loyalty or logic.

That’s greed AND prejudice.

What it isn’t, is presidential. Which is why logic prevailed in 2012.


1) Stop dismissing young and minority voters. They are the future and — guess what — they don’t like you! Why? Because you don’t like them. But if you ever want to get elected again in a country with rapidly diversifying demographics, you’d better start caring.

2) Watch something other than “Mad Men.” That show is popular because it allows us to live through and mock the archaic social conventions of the day. It’s not meant to be a primer on how to treat women in 2012.

3) Also, flip off Fox News. Did you guys really think Romney was going to win in a landslide? I expected you all to say that as a PR measure during the campaign. But the fact that you’re still saying it now makes me think you truly believed it. And that’s just pathetic. You surrounded yourselves with “yes” people when the answer was decisively no. That’s not a winner. And, consequently, neither are you.

4) Redefine your redefinitions. When you claim families making $35,000 are freeloaders because they want health care for their kids, you are not only being heartless, but you clearly have no idea what poor is. $35,000 isn’t a lot of money by most metrics, but way too many American families earn way less. And it’s those who have way less who are less likely to have health insurance as an option to them. So don’t be shocked or angry that these people would be drawn to health care. They get sick too, and you can’t cure that with a bootstrap dipped in elbow grease.

5) Remember what conservatism is. I imagine you’ll say, “We can’t do any of this without redefining who we are!” The thing is, you’ve already done that. You’re no longer the party that stands for low, efficient government spending. Or the party that fosters small business. Or espouses freedom. You can be, and need to be, all of those things. Your current platform, to paraphrase Bill Maher (sorry), is a random collection of kickbacks to your corporate masters and concessions to your most militant religious bloc. And much of it is at odds with what conservatism is supposed to represent. How can a two-party system be honest if half of its members have lost their collective marbles?

6) Change accordingly.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I'm secedin' 'cause I love America

By Earl “Clem” Bob 
Tea Party Contributor 
Not Right About Anything

I love America. You know why? Because it’s a nation that listens to the people.

That’s why I signed a petition for my state to secede from America.

The last straw was President Barack Obama being re-elected to a second term. That ain’t American! Just goes to show that 62 million people CAN be wrong.

So I’m glad to see 25,000 real Americans having their voices heard with my state’s petition! Ain’t no goin’ back now. The people have spoken.

And what the people want is a new kind of nation, the Untied States of America ... it’s got a nice ring to it, don’t it? I always type that word wrong anyway so now it’ll be spelled right.

I’m grateful that Obama set up that website where We the People can tell him what an awful president he is! Bush didn’t need no portal for petitions because no one wanted to break up the United States when he was president! Liberals just wanted to move to Canada.

I thought about movin’ to Canada too after this election. Because I’m a real American and I don’t recognize this nation no more. That’s why I want my state become its own, sovereign nation. Because I love America.

United We Stand! Remember that? Whatever happened to that? Maybe if enough states break off from the Union, we’ll be united once again. So I’m glad to see proud Americans comin’ together to break our country apart. If that ain’t unity, I don’t know what the hell is.

Americans are fed up with both parties, especially the Democrats. And as every sports fan knows, when your team is in a slump, you put a paper bag over your head to send the message that you ain’t satisfied. They’ll have no choice but to see the bag on your head and try harder.

That’s what we need to do now — put bags over our heads.

God Bless America and whatever my new nation is!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

This is a real thing that exists

Kind of.
This is the novel I'm writing for National Novel Writing Month. I'm halfway through writing it now, and have a solid outline for the rest of it. And, as you can see, I've found time to design a dummy cover for it. Here's the synopsis I posted to the NaNoWriMo site:

Craig Lipstate is a young big-city transplant whose life is increasingly consumed by his onetime dream job. Torn between his independence and his sanity, he decides to quit his job after a disgruntled former employee kills two of his company's executives. Faced with no real plan, Craig is forced to move back to his small hometown and confront the memories and demons of his past — while hopefully avoiding the same spiral that led his counterpart to snap.

I hope my book speaks to the current post-collegiate generation struggling to find its way in a world that changed right under its feet. Also, it has lots of funny dialogue and mockery of Facebook statuses and at least one sex scene (so far).

That's what you want.

State or the Union?

A failure to secede

It's not accurate to say that states are filing petitions to secede. They aren't.

It's not like the governors and legislatures of the states in question are demanding independence, backed up by an angry, united population and Constitutional scholars. (In fact, even Rick Perry has scoffed at the Texas petition.)

No, these petitions are entirely the work of Americans who are so proud of their country that they don't think it can (or should) survive a democratically elected black president. And because they need only 25,000 signatures to merit a response from the administration, they think it's a big deal when one of those petitions meets that threshold.

But 25,000 is barely one-fifth of the population in my hometown. I'm sure I could go to a Ragin' Cajuns football game and get that many signatures to secede.

Though 25,000 is quite an effort just to get the White House to laugh at you. Chris Rock managed that despite being 24,999 fewer people.

Yeah, I think the Union will be fine.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The official pizza of BS

Papa John's Pizza founder John Schnatter has angered a lot of people for saying that Obamacare will force him to raise pizza prices and lay off employees.

His comments are terrible on numerous levels:

1) He's blaming the government for (pre-emptively) hurting his business, which by definition contradicts his assumed do-it-yourself ethos;

2) He blames Obamacare for threatening to inflate his costs, when nonpartisan numbers suggest it will shrink national health care costs;

3) Can't he write off those expenses anyway? On his taxes, which is tantamount to a tax break?

4) He threatens an added cost of at least 14 cents per pizza, assuming that we won't happily pay it to ensure that the people making and delivering our pies have decent coverage.

5) Based on his generous promotions and lavish personal lifestyle, he can clearly afford it. A lot of huge companies make a big deal of "giving back," yet it doesn't occur to them to first give back to the people who make their company the prosperous empire that it is.

Still, one common response to this puzzles me and smacks of sour grapes:

"Papa John's sucks anyway."

Actually, I think it's the best among the big chains. In my experience, Papa John's lives up to its motto of "better ingredients, better pizza." Also, they're trans fat-free, which is a big deal to me. And unlike with some other places, I have never had a bad pizza from Papa John's.

So I'm going to vote with my (admittedly limited) dollars over Schnatter's comments, not over the lie that his product sucks. 

By the way, I think that's the way to go. I once read an article written by a restaurateur who said that a dissatisfied customer carries more weight with an establishment if they promise to come back. After all, if you say you're never coming back, it's easier to write off your complaints. Likewise, if some disgruntled liberal says, "I won't support Papa John's because their politics suck but I hate their pizza anyway so I never buy it," that means very little. On the other hand, by saying, "I love Papa John's and have always looked there first for my pizza needs, but now I'm reconsidering," well, maybe Schnatter will reconsider those 14 cents.

It's possible, maybe even likely, that he won't. But we can hope he'll budge at least a little.

Mainly, I'm just tired of places like Papa John's and Chick-Fil-A being so awful while serving up such good stuff. Being principled can hurt so bad.

Oh well. Guess I'm off to pick some oranges in my backyard.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

One of Mitt Romney's homes?

This is just one reason (among so many) that the Romney campaign was so terrible. Couldn't they have at least paired the graphic that says "Make calls from HOME" — one that emphasizes the word HOME, no less — with a phone that at least looks like it's ever been in a home? 

These phones look like the ones I've had in newsrooms. And I never had two together. Hardly anyone I know had more than one home landline when landline phones were that common, much less now. And I'd imagine that even in a phone bank, the phones would be farther apart. So where exactly is this supposed to be? To whom is it meant to appeal?

I guess we'll never know.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Parish the thought!

Disgusted by the recent successful application of democracy, some Louisianans are petitioning the White House to permit Louisiana to secede from the Union. To show how serious they are, many of the signees are using capital letters and even their real names. 

If this secession succeeds, we could be in for plenty of perks. Here is a short list of what the new Republic of Louisiana, LLC can anticipate:

• We’d be first, not 49th, in everything just like that.

• We’d be a foreign nation with oil, which makes it more likely we’d get some damn hurricane help this time.

• We’ll be free to build our levees the way we know how — Creationism.

• Jordan Jefferson can be a Founding Father. I hear he’s got hemp.

• Bobby Jindal finally gets to be president of something.

• Major League Baseball has the Dominican Republic. The NFL will have us.

• New Orleans can be our Vatican.

• Officials will build a White House in Baton Rouge just like in D.C. — with slaves.

• If the New Orleans Saints can’t be “America’s Team,” they can at least be someone’s national team.

• Our official language: Yat.

• New currency: LSU football tickets. Also, cigarettes.

• New drinking age: 18 weeks.

• New national motto: “A Confederacy of Dunces.”

• New tourism slogan: “It’s like a Third World country.”

• New protected class: Swamp People.

• The advent of the Tea Party will give Louisiana a third party. Or, as we’ll pronounce it, “Turd Party.”

• No need to erect border walls, because roads suddenly being paved serves the same purpose.

• We’ll have good diplomatic relations with Texas, but complain about the Gulf of Mexicans taking all our good offshore jobs.

• Finally, that civil war between North and South Louisiana can actually happen. I predict the South will rise!

• When things get really terrible because the federal funding sustaining our infrastructure and poorest citizens that we took for granted has dried up, we’ll say to ourselves, “That was a fun week.”

New Rules

Rule #218: Half-baconed
Chill out about bacon! It’s a piece of processed food, not meth.

On second thought, I’ve never heard any meth-heads pine for meth like people pine for bacon. Coffee too, come to think of it. Maybe it’s just the fact that I don’t eat bacon or drink coffee, but man! If I hadn’t already burned out on both as a kid, I’d be too scared to try them now.

On the other hand, if any of you want to be that way about my work, I’ll tie on your bib.

Rule #219: Galty reasoning
You can’t insist America is an anarchy where the best entrepreneur wins, and also be upset that “Obama killed America.” If you believe the first, why would you care about the second?

Rule #220: Typefacing the truth
I want just one downsizing publication to say, “We’re shrinking because costs of ink, paper and salaries are going sky-high at a time when revenues are down.” That’s honest and respectable. All this talk about innovation and better coverage is just patronizing.

Rule #221: Post-Election Stress Syndrome
Republicans deserve to feel the same way Democrats did in 2004. Why? 2004.

Rule #222: God gram
The more someone insists they can speak for God, the more likely I am to not trust them with anything more dangerous than a sippy cup.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

A friendly reminder about free speech

When someone attempts to suppress an idea or thought, that's a violation of free speech.

Calling someone out on their incendiary bullshit is not repressing free speech and shouldn't be approached as such.

Just sayin'.

Finally, some non-satirical thoughts

As you can probably imagine, I’m really pleased by how the presidential election turned out. I called it for Obama early last year, and the entire election season unfolded pretty much as I expected.

I never thought the race was anything but assured for Obama, though I often kept that feeling to myself. Most people I talked with about the election were deep into the media narrative that it was close, and there’s no dissuading that past a certain point. I suppose even among those who thought it was no contest, no one wanted to be the cocky one who jinxed the whole thing.

I’m just glad there weren’t any surprises. Because, to me, this race was between who I consider the best president of my lifetime and the least-qualified, least-deserving candidate of my lifetime not named George W. Bush.

What would the U.S. have gotten with a President Mitt Romney? I’m honestly not sure. I can’t decide if he’d be a Tea Party tool or merely be the moderate, opportunistic, ruthless corporate raider he was before. Either was too sad to contemplate, and we’re all lucky we never have to find out.

One thing’s for sure: I don’t think I could have made it through an Obama concession speech. It would have been poignant, fair and no doubt an assurance that everything was going to be OK. I would have just broken down — for the country, but also for him. Because there’d definitely be a feeling of, “He deserved better from us. We don’t deserve him.”

On the flip side, I thought Romney gave pretty much a perfect concession speech. I don’t fault him for taking a while to concede, like some people did, because I understand the urge to keep on fighting. Mitt seemed relieved at the podium, and gave a short and graceful address. Just like John McCain did in 2008, I think Romney regained some of the principles and sense of reconciliation he’d lost along the way.

His supporters, on the other hand, well, I don’t know. 

See, I remember vividly how I felt the night Bush won re-election in 2004. Like half of America, I cried for hours. It all seemed so surreal — I, for one, thought for sure John Kerry was going to win in a landslide. In those pre-Nate Silver days, I relied largely on punditry and conversations with fellow graduate students and professors. The night before on The Daily Show, pollster John Zogby (not exactly a raving lefty) predicted a cakewalk for Kerry. I similarly figured with the Iraq War failing, the economy crumbling and the Christian right overplaying its hand — not to mention how close it had been in 2000 — that Bush didn’t stand a chance. I got home that night with projections well under way, and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I wrote some emotional, statistically incorrect blogs that weren’t my best work and tried my best to dodge smug conservatives for weeks afterward — a daunting task, considering I was UL’s liberal columnist at the time and everyone from assistant football coaches on down gave me grief. It hurt and I didn’t make it better with my attitude and hyperbole. So I’m trying to contain my joy so I don’t come off the same way.

On the other hand...I admit I did at least smile a little bit over the Romney parties Tuesday night. Because let’s face it — even many conservatives knew Romney didn’t have a chance. The sadness I understood, but the shocked faces, well, I felt like there was no excuse for that. You really had to be in the bubble to think Romney was going to win decisively. And these days, you pretty much have to willfully force yourself into that bubble; you’re blind to reality because you prefer a different one. So in that respect, I don’t mind saying that I liked seeing that.

Also, because so many of those same people were calling Obama the antichrist and his supporters lazy welfare bums, and arguing with a straight face that any and all taxation was socialism. And that the sanest elements of the GOP were lying their asses off about the economy and foreign and domestic policy. To say nothing of the birthers and baggers who tried so hard to pretend they weren’t itching to call Obama the N-word. Or the people who clogged Facebook and Twitter with Bible verses that apparently specifically warned us of the apocalypse imminent if Obama took Ohio.

Yeah, I didn’t really mind seeing their hopes dashed.

Conversely, seeing Obama supporters cheer is always good for the soul. They're diverse and you know they care for others.

To paraphrase Adam Smith, there seems to be an invisible hand over presidential elections that keeps out the extreme and the unqualified. Sometimes that hand is preoccupied, but it worked like a charm in 2012 — first by eliminating the Rick Perrys and Rick Santorums, and then by cashing out the man who promised his vicious supporters that he’d roll back everything that’s helped this country recover from the last Romney-like guy we had in office. Given how vocal and forceful extreme elements tend to get, it’s reassuring that (most of the time at least) the American people and system temper their influence.

Most of all, I’m hopeful that this election will finally put the kibosh on a three-decade-long, failed experiment in trickle-down economics and hypocritical social intervention. The emerging generations are less racist, sexist, homophobic and anti-government than ever before; more nuanced toward drug and other social policies; more connected; and less hawkish than ever before. Any candidate or party that wants a voice is going to have to appeal to that. Change may be scary, but change for the better always deserves a warm embrace.


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Contributors weigh in on Election 2012

This mocking farce of an election has absolutely no impact on America

By Cort Rory
Reality-based non-sheep 
Not Right About Anything

So, Obama won. Whoop-de-doo.

The centrist corporate puppet beat the right-wing corporate puppet. Same puppet show, different day. And same puppet.

Obama is no different than Romney. I’m not at all glad he won. In fact, I’m angry. Democrats deserve to lose until they act like Democrats. How are they going to learn if the sheeple keep electing them?

That goes for all the races, by the way. Nothing but tainted faces all around. Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.

I didn’t think Mitt Romney had a chance, so I was going to vote for him just to make a statement. Except I didn’t get to vote yesterday. Because, eh, I was tired. It doesn’t matter anyway.

The upshot is that I have more right to complain than the rest of you who wasted your time voting. You took part in the system. You have no right to complain. But I can complain. And I will for the next four years.

You pathetic sheep.

Well, there’s always 2016. Though that election’s probably already bought too.

Sigh. This country’s screwed.

What in thunderin' tarnation?!!

By Earl “Clem” Bob
Tea Party Contributor 
Not Right About Anything

I can’t believe it!

Obama won? What the hell?!!

I didn’t see one single indicator all election season that suggested anything other than a Romney landslide! Even when Obama won Pennsylvania and Ohio, I figured Romney would win every electoral and citizen vote in the nation from there on out.

This ain’t right.

Voters are fed up with both parties, especially the Democrats. Everyone I know planted Romney-Ryan yard signs in front of their trailers, and every Fox show I watched and every Breitbart article I read said that Obama was in trouble. Two of my favorite celebrities, Donald Trump and Victoria Jackson, agreed. And they’re famous!

There can only be one reason that Obama captured so many votes in spite of everything — the Black Panthers! Also, people are watching the wrong shows and reading the wrong articles. They get the idea that Obama’s got a chance, and they go out there and vote to make sure he wins. This propaganda barrage has got to stop! It’s interfering with the truth, which is what I know.

A lot of tea party candidates also went down. I blame the liberal media. You could say they RAPED them! (That joke copyright Clem.) Clearly, the problem was that the tea party candidates weren’t true to their principles and were too far left to try to get elected. Also, they talked about rape a lot. They gotta remember to keep that to themselves next time around.

Consider that there lesson learned for 2014 and 2016. Look out, liberals! Our comeback has just begun!

Obama's victory speech (in tea party nightmares)

[Thunderous applause]

“Thank you! Thank you! Please! Listen—”

[Thunderous applause stops on cue]

“My fellow socialists! We did it! Tonight, we can finally declare America dead.”

[Whooping cheers]

“Thank you for being here so late to share this moment with me. Not that any of you have to go to work in the morning!”


“Except for the illegal immigrants. I hope none of you had trouble voting fraudulently.”

[Cheers in Spanish]

“Where my brothers at?”

[Cheers in Ebonics]

“All y’all mafuckas gots yo welfare, ya heard?”

[Mass chorus of “Word Up”]

“And food stamps. Free crack rock too! And I'mma be paintin’ the White House black, yo. Thanks for the votes, you white liberal cracka fools!”

[Self-loathing cracker cheers]

“That’s right, real American suckas! You done got duped. As George W. Bush once said, ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice ... can’t, can’t get fooled again.’ Miss him yet?”


“I know you’ve all been waiting for the moment when we drop the American fa├žade and get to work on Sharia law. A lot of you thought we could do it in one term. But change takes time. And we have taken major strides over the past four years — working toward ending the wars with our terrorist friends in Iraq and Afghanistan; killing Osama bin Laden because I hate competition; and, of course, our successful efforts in getting those four Americans killed in Benghazi.”

[Rapturous cheers]

“And, of course, we’ve dedicated quite a chunk of my first term in addressing the most important domestic issue of our time: The War on Christmas.”

[Chants of “X-Out X-Mas! X-Out X-Mas!”]

“My first act in my second term will be to appoint the Rev. Jeremiah Wright as Jesus czar. He will oversee Van Jones and Bill Ayers throwing rocks at churches. I’ll even reach over the aisle and appoint Mitt Romney to the Office of Business Failure. I think you’ll agree my esteemed opponent is perfect for this post.”

[Applausey applause]

“We will ban all Christian prayer in schools, churches, homes and minds. We will strictly enforce five-times-daily prayer to Mecca. Islam is now our state religion. Also, atheism. And evolution, because that’s a religion too.”


“I have signed legislation to outlaw morals, effective immediately. You may now use your complimentary shanks and birth control to either kill or fuck, depending on your mood.”

[Lots of murder and sex ensues]

“And yes, you can now say ‘fuck’ on live TV. Because, when you think of Barack Hussein Obama, I want you to think of how much I hate the children.”

[Child-hating cheers]

“To that effect, I also promise by the new year to expand legal abortion well into the 20th trimester. Your kid anxious about kindergarten? End that shit! No questions asked!”

[Satanic growls]

“And finally, I want all women and gays to know that I have your backs as human beings and as equals.”

[Fox News correspondent collapses into mound of sulfur]

“Thank you! Good night, and may God Damn America! Allahu Akbar! There is no God!”

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

A reason not to not vote

You're an American. 

You do not live in a nation where voting is required. 

Your elections are decided by who turns out, with no handicap for those who didn't. 

You live in a nation where the majority of registered voters stay home even for the most pivotal elections.

You are free to complain, regardless of whether or not you vote.

You might not feel especially riveted by your options, but someone with whom you vehemently disagree might be highly motivated.

You may not feel your vote has value, but plenty of nefarious interests see enough worth in your vote to keep you from casting it.

So if you think for a moment today that it's not worth it to vote or that doing so makes you a willing pawn for The System, man, think again. You may not feel your vote has the value you wish to attach to it, but not voting is wasting your voice. It's a voice you aren't under coercion to use, which is precisely why it matters so much.

Your vote may mean little in the grand scheme of things, but your silence means nothing.

Monday, November 05, 2012

You must choose; but choose wisely

As the 2012 presidential election dawns, it’s clear to me what choice we face. In 2008, I wrote that the impending election was “not about Obama vs. McCain; it's about smart vs. stupid.” I felt (for the first time since I began following presidential politics) that only one side was telling the truth about anything. That was the year when the Birthers first festered, their allegations having yet to be ridiculed and dismissed by all sane people. Then, following Obama’s inauguration in 2009, the Tea Party sprang up through the astroturf of nowhere with its sudden, long-running disdain of federal spending. Oh, and just happened to be composed almost entirely of extreme (and extremely low-information) Republicans and libertarians spouting racially tinged rhetoric. Gee.

Here in 2012, the Birthers and the Tea Party both remain alive and demented. The truth should have killed both a long time ago, but they press on like zombies. Slow, racist zombies.

While those groups continue to influence (infect) the GOP today, their impact has not resulted in a successful presidential contender. Instead, they’ve pushed forth Mitt Romney, who wouldn’t have been out of place in many past elections. He’s a poster boy for everything that made the Republicans awful before 2008. Those things being:

• Government of, by and for the rich;
• Demonization of the poor;
• Helping the middle class by not helping them;
• Demonization of the government;
• Lionization of business ethics without adhering to them;
• Hijacking patriotism, morals and the flag;
• A recklessly saber-rattling foreign policy;
• Applying alternate-universe solutions to real problems.

Romney is the candidate of the party whose best political bet was to run the ruthless corporate raider. And he’s running against one of the most riveting and effective presidents of the past 40 years.

That’s the choice. It’s not one.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

This is what insincerity looks like

As the Republicans get more desperate...


Keep this in mind:

• This ad's screen capture makes the actress look like Monica Lewinsky, giving the absolute wrongest first impression possible this side of being a group photo of the Obama family hugging Chris Christie.

• I say she's an actress, as opposed to a person, because her performance suggests she doesn't have many opportunities to earn her SAG card.

• The number of past Obama voters disappointed in the scope of his change who will vote for Romney as a result can probably be counted on one hand, even if said hand has been disfigured by a thresher. 

• It's probably a terrible idea to have Romney in the middle of the montage that leads the woman to kick over the television in the first place. Because when Romney says he knows how to run a business and create jobs, I want to do the same thing. (I get that this ad is supposed to suck me in by pretending to be one of those above-it-all ads (which suck too), but again, thresher.)

• I was a copy editor during the 2008 election, and I recognize several of those Wall Street gaping-mouth shots from that era. Oops!

• No one is truly "fed up" with "wasteful, out-of-control spending." That's an acquired anger. Acquired from a very specific, telling place.

• Much like Mitt Romney himself, the superPACs have given up on principle and seek finicky voters who want change because it's shiny. A textbook example of sensible long-term thinking that won't even work in the short term. Good call!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

A conversation with Mitt Romney

“Thank you for meeting with me today, Governor.”

“It’s nice to meet you, fellow citizen. Beautiful weather we’re having today.”

“Yes, although it’s a bit muggy for this time of year.”

“Yes, it’s quite muggy. I’m actually sweating quite a bit.”

“I’m hot too.”

“At least it’s a dry heat. Not humid.”

“Actually, it’s extremely humid.”

“Extremely humid!”

“It could be worse, though, like Hurricane Sandy.”

“FEMA has made it way worse, though I should say they’re doing a heck of a job.”

“Can’t argue with that. So how should I address you, sir?”

“You can call me Governor Romney. Or Mitt. My personal mechanic calls me Dr. Detroit because I prefer American cars. What does your personal mechanic call you?”

“I don’t have one. I take my car different places or do the work myself.”

“What kind of car do you drive?”

“I drive a Scion.”

“Drive him where?”


“Your scion. Where do you take him? He’s gotta be pretty young. Horse-riding lessons?”

“No, Scion is a brand of car. Made by Toyota.”

“Ah, never heard of that one. I’ll have to remember to get one for my collection. What else do you keep in your garage?”

“That’s it. I have one car and no garage. Also, a bicycle.”

“Sounds like you’re struggling. That’s terrible.”

“I’m grateful for what I have.”

“That’s terrific! You encapsulate the spirit of this great nation. So where are you from?”


“Ah! Some of my best friends own states. I live in Massachusetts. I was governor there for a term. I’m very, very proud of my accomplishments. Like health care reform.”

“Health care reform?”

“No, that was a mistake.”

“I see.”

“So, have you ever been a governor?”

“No, but I’ve been meaning to get around to it.”

“You ought to try it sometime. It was the most eye-opening experience I’ve had since those two years I spent in France. Ever been there?”

“No, but I’d love to visit.”

“What’s keeping you?”

“Lack of funds, mostly.”

“What’s that, some youth slang?”

“No, it means I can’t afford to go there.”

“You kids with your expressions! I have five sons and I’ve never heard any of them say that. I guess it’s a new thing. ‘Lack of funds.’ ‘Can’t afford it.’ So do they spell that out or is it like, ‘a4ord?’”

“No, it’s a common expression. It’s been around for centuries.”

“Well, I have no time for the past. I’m a candidate with new ideas.”

“And what are those new ideas?”

“Returning to the prosperous Reagan years.”

“With a 50 percent top tax rate?”

“No, that would be socialist. But yes.”

“I sense a certain vacillating in your answers.”

“I am one of the most principled men you’ll ever meet. And one of my chief principles is, I change when necessary. And I’ll do whatever it takes to win the presidency because, at the end of the day, that’s what this is all about.

[Someone in a higher income bracket enters the room. Mitt beelines to him.]

“It’s nice to meet you, fellow citizen! Beautiful weather we’re having today!”