Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Not Recovering Fast Enough? Maybe You Need More Poison

Here we are on the cusp of the Democratic Convention and the party’s response to a fusillade of Paul Ryan’s fabrications, Mitt Romney’s adequacy and Clint Eastwood’s – um – cryptopathological improvisational admission of the GOP’s intellectual bankruptcy – but that’s not the most recent strategic mystery the Romney-Ryan campaign has engaged in – their latest is to ask “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”  The answer might surprise them.

Earlier, the Romney campaign unleashed a blizzard of ads with actors portraying real Americans who had voted for Obama in 2008 but had grown disappointed in the rate of how their lives were getting better.  The premise, apparently, is to reach out to people with this mindset that if they weren’t happy with Obama, it’s about time to give someone with the exact opposite approach the reins for a while.  That it’s brought to you by the people who’ve tried to arrest the president’s progress at every turn is supposed to be conveniently forgotten.

But back to whether you were better off now than you were four years ago – it follows the same trope of Mitt’s that we all wanted to change things, but President Obama’s change just didn’t happen as fast as Romney’s would.  As though Mitt Romney’s focus has been on giving Americans affordable healthcare, cleaning up the banking mess, saving GM and Chrysler and getting us out of Iraq and Afghanistan but that he’s got a better plan for getting all that done.  It’s like saying, “You barely escaped this mugger who accosted you as you were walking through a dark alley – and even though you fought him off, you might not be running away from him fast enough.  Maybe you should just go back there and give him your wallet.  I’m the mugger and I approve this message.”

It’s puzzling to think the Romney campaign thinks Obama voters are so credulous that they think the only difference between Obama and Romney is one of degree – but even Paul Ryan made that point in his speech before the RNC last week when he compared Obama voters to kids getting tattoos because they thought it was cool.  And it’s not unusual to hear Obama portrayed as a dangerous America-hating radical hellbent on experimenting with our economy using tricks he found on the back of a box of Stalin-Os and his supporters as a coalition of the greedy, the lazy and hopelessly idealistic dupes.  So how does Team Romney hope to appeal to this caricature of a group of befuddled losers?  Oh, right – lie to them.

Not that they’re happy about it – but hey, if these are stupid, self-interested dupes who fall for a pack of lies in the first place, why should the GOP tie one hand behind its back by not making shit up when it was to their advantage?   Unfortunately for them, though, this perceived demographic simply doesn’t exist – people lived through the economic collapse of 2007 and know exactly what caused it.  Many lost houses, jobs and their cherished way of life – and sneering at them as though they were kids disappointed with the latest cool Android app is likely to blow up in Team Romney’s face.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Taiwan Buddhists Celebrate Gay Wedding, US Republicans Celebrate Monoculture

celebrate monoculture
In recent news, the nation of Taiwan celebrated its first Buddhist gay marriage on Saturday, further pushing the relatively liberal East Asian nation into recognizing the sanctity of same-sex unions.  While the ceremony is not legally binding, participants, including the brides Fish Huang and YouYa-Ting and Buddhist master Shih chau-hui, said that it was time to overcome the social stigma of homosexuality and for the government to acknowledge the validity of same-sex unions.

Not to be outdone, the Mitt Romney presidential campaign also announced the very same day that Romney was “celebrating monoculture” by choosing pale libertarian and mathematically illiterate Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate.  In a speech before a large, obsolete hulk that served to project America’s destructive power, Ryan said that “At this point in time it’s critical for us as Republicans to celebrate our monocultural diversity.” The USS Wisconsin was also used as  a backdrop.

Noting that even though both candidates are wealthy white males, Ryan said their widely different backgrounds exemplified their party’s demographic richness.  “Mitt Romney was born a child of privilege and feels a deep sense of entitlement, while I was raised in difficult circumstances and matured to renounce every government program that helped my mother keep our family’s heads above water, and am now longing to project my own shame and self-flagellation upon a grateful nation.  How much different could you possibly get?”

Before setting out on a bus trip of swing states, the pair of candidates, dressed in matching faux-casual checkered oxfords and blazers, promised to unite their budget plans into a unified whole.  “I was impressed with Congressman Ryan’s ability to put forward a budget that envisions a burgeoning black market for human kidneys as a source of sales tax revenue,” said Romney, “and wanted to marry it to my concepts that tax cuts and wars pay for themselves.  So look out, Iran,” he added, as the pair laughed and laughed.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Big Government Goes to Mars

Uncle Sugar Conquers the Martians

Fresh from his oppression of millions of Godfearing chicken-loving Americans, President Obama is on the cusp of outsourcing his big-government solutions farther afield than ever – this time to the planet Mars.

As though any possible microorganisms didn’t have it hard enough ekeing out a living on that arid, irradiated and atmospherically minimal wasteland, in the wee hours of Monday morning Zulu time, a robotic rover 100 times larger than anything ever sent to wander across the surface of the red planet will engage in an unprecedentedly Rube-Goldbergesque landing procedure to drop a one-ton monstrosity onto a heretofore pristine desert (hypocrite much, Mr. No-Drilling-in-ANWR?)

Yet rather than do something useful like fracking, this elaborate government behemoth will wander around aimlessly, attempting to collect geological information and add to our scientific knowledge, a practice that has fallen into disrepute ever since it led to the preposterous conclusion that the earth is some billions of years older than the Bible says.

Criticism of the quixotic endeavor has already begun, as NRA President Wayne Lapierre has accused the administration of attempting to find life on other planets in order to take away their guns, and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio claiming that any life found on Mars could not actually have been born there. While voicing his suspicions about Martian life’s origins, he said he regretfully would not be sending any members of his posse to the planet any time soon to investigate personally, owing to the fourth planet’s evident lack of “LBBs – luaus, brothels and bars.”

And the Romney campaign weighed in with its own lamentation that the Curiosity mission’s so-called “Seven Minutes of Terror” as it descended to the Gale Crater meant not only that “Americans are now less safe, but also that Governor Romney feels the exploration of space is an activity the Constitution clearly leaves up to the states.”

Nevertheless, if the extremely complicated and risky mission turns out to be a success, all the above sources said that they were prepared to say that going ahead with the mission was “an obvious no-brainer” and that credit really belonged to the Bush-era underfunding of the space program.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mitt Romney Denounces Olympics, Olympic Spirit after Opening Ceremony

Pay no attention to the curtain behind the man
Pay no attention to the curtain behind the man.
In a private press briefing leaked after he arrived in Tel Aviv, Republican presidential candidate and former commissioner of the 2002 Winter Olympics kicked the dust of London and Salt Lake City off his feet as he delivered a stinging denunciation of the Olympics and the Olympic spirit.

“I’ve been in business,” said the former CEO of Bain Capital, “and this is not the way an Olympic Games makes money – celebrating nationalized healthcare that doesn’t even create jobs, and returns no profits to its investors even if the sick patient happens to live,” he said, shrugging and smiling disdainfully.  “I mean, are we just going to reward people for making poor genetic choices?  That wouldn’t happen in private enterprise, I can tell you that.”

But even as Governor Romney had previously expressed misgivings about the preparation for the 2012 summer games, he went even further and criticized the entire ethos behind the games.  “This coming together in peace and harmony in the spirit of friendly competition – it causes confusion and uncertainty and is, I think, bad for markets.  Who are you going to be afraid of if the North Koreans and the Cubans and the Iranians, of all people, are able to play soccer without blowing themselves up at the press conference beforehand?”

Romney also suggested that other nations’ athletes beating US athletes undermined the idea of American exceptionalism.  “It’s a false idea that suggests we’re not ready to lead – and frankly it seems a bit like insubordination.”

Asked, in a desperate attempt to change the subject, how he was enjoying his time in Israel, Mr. Romney responded, “I’m grateful to the signers of the Balfour Declaration for giving my people a homeland, even though we already have Utah.  But if I ever fire my tailor or my diamond guy, you can bet I’ll be calling the Jews.”

Friday, June 04, 2010

Earthbound Explorers Prepare for Vacuum of Space, Void of AM Radio

And by Sunday there won't be anyone to eat.
The six explorers faced a roomful of reporters, answering questions with steadied calm that soothed the tension before the beginning of a journey that some called an important lesson in living without benefit of the normal ties to civilization and sanity that we take for granted, and that others called a sheerly mad stunt.

"I am very happy to be part of this project," said Diego Urbina, the Colombian-Italian and most extrovert member of the crew.

And yet the brave adventurers knew they were embarking on a mission from which not all of them might return: to spend 520 days locked in a chamber with only food, water and AM radio to sustain them. Then, to prolonged cheering, the astronauts of the mind closed the portal to their isolation chamber with its giant wire exercise wheel, its monotonous routine of dishes to wash and beds to make, tubes of dreary, tiresome homogenized pork produts to consume, and endless hours of hysterical crises to digest unbuffered by factual content or coworkers with access to the BBC’s website.

“Anything could happen,” gushed chief engineer Romulus Morrison. “Personally I’m betting that halfway through the experiment the crew will believe Mexico has invaded America and that President Obama surrendered immediately, that the rich have fled to a cloud city hovering above Dubai, and that most of the world ekes out a Mad Max style existence selling dietary supplements and cheap jewelry to each other on eBay. By that time, they’ll have forgotten that their capsule is in a warehouse in Russia and they’ll actually refuse to come back to Earth.”

I love space -- and I weep for it.As they entered the interconnected modules that would be their home for a year and a half, all six adventurers must surely have thought of their ill-fated predecessor, the Beck 500. Confined for the same amount of time listening only to Glenn Beck, the surviving members of that expedition have yet to sufficiently remaster the art of human speech to describe their horrific descent into madness – the only testament to their ordeal is a silent but utterly unapproachable pile of diapers fashioned out of handmade Gadsden flags. And the mute remains of their deceased comrades, found floating in a wine sauce seasoned with tarragon and basil. A wine sauce.
What's he doing?  The backstroke.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Those Who Can't Do Teach

I was born in the wagon of a traveling show
Bristol Palin has just signed with a representation agency to give speeches about abstinence for $15,000-$30,000 a pop. Presumably she's for it, although it's hard to imagine why -- if she had practiced it nobody would care who she was right now. So it's sort of like hearing a lecture on the value of hard work by a guy who won the lottery right before his trust fund dried up.

Not that Bristol doesn't deserve a chance to influence young impressionable minds about how they ought to work hard and stay in school -- leave the unprotected sex to the girls whose moms can put them on the lecture circuit: that's a lesson little girls can't hear too soon or too often. And in the maelstrom of confusing messages kids get exposed to now, what harm could one horribly unfortunate example do on top of all the others? Nothing that'll make the papers.

No, the real tragedy of Bristol Palin parlaying her lack of attentiveness in health class on the day they were slipping the condom over the banana into a shameless speaking career is that somewhere out there Michael Brown is kicking himself for not having failed enough. You know you're doing something wrong when an anchorman won't even refrain from correcting you out of politeness. Some people have the touch for turning idiocy into gold and some just don't. But fear not -- Mike Brown will say something stupid at the next colossal screw-up as well, just as surely as hopping on one leg after intercourse prevents pregnancy.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Remedial Re-Education Camp Is Filling Up Quick

And I can never remember whether the icepick goes on the left side of the plate or the right.
It truly saddens our new socialist overlords when the citizenry doesn't even seem to be trying. Come on, people -- how hard can it be to copy a picture? Then again, it probably occurs to our overlords that half of freakin' Texas flies its flag upside-down. And as they silently calculate how many times a day they might have to differentiate sarcasm from ignorance, they also realize that some sort of aspirin subsidy might be in order.

We Hold These Untruths To Be Self-Evident

One of the interesting attributes of the Tea Party crowd in Richmond yesterday was the Founding Father worship, possibly an offshoot of Confucianism based on the premise that the framers of the Constitution spoke to us directly in aphorisms suitable for printing on t-shirts and scrawling on patriotically-themed hand signs. Ultimately the Tea Partiers hope to collect a sufficient number of aphorisms so that every situation, from the humdrum to the critical, from the personal to the national, can be governed by reference to the most appropriate Founding Witticism.

Of course in building any collection, it’s essential to discard the inauthentic. Take the one in the picture above: “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.” And while it seems practically made for our very time and situation, maybe that’s because its first appearance in print was in 1986 and it has never shown up in any of Jefferson’s known writing.

It’s rather fortunate that Jefferson didn’t say it, really, as talk of earning one’s living through the sweat of one’s brow falls a little flat when the speaker owns hundreds of human beings who cook his food, make his bed, tend his crops, keep his stables and – almost certainly – sleep with him and bear his children.

Another quotation was indeed correctly attributed to Jefferson: “Never spend your money before you have it.” But the man who wrote this advice died in such debt that he was unable to free his slaves due to his inability to pay off the loans he had taken out against them – though it would still be good advice even if every person who passed it on died woefully broke. That it’s too general to be of much practical value while also being annoyingly unworkable only adds to its charm.

Anyway, the assemblage of the Jeffersonian hadith seems well underway, if beset by a few questionable sentiments and confused by occasional gaping chasms between his statements and his ideals. On the bright side, beating the plowshare of Jefferson’s profligacy into the sword of a fiscal conservative will seem like a piece of cake compared to the effort that’ll be required to turn him into a Christian.