Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

After all of the jargon about “job creators” (the Rich) and “new revenues” (necessary taxes), I defy anyone to watch this full press conference and tell me that this isn’t a man who hasn’t bent over backwards to make an adult, non-partisan deal. From where I’m sitting, John Boehner and his semi-psychotic ilk are playing fiscal chicken with the US economy in the attempts to make the economy nosedive, destroying Obama’s re-election chances. Party first, right boys?

I met a guy last night who said, “I refuse to subscribe to the idea that there’s any sort of class war going to happen.” I said, “Brother, your canary just died, and you’re pretending it’s taking a peaceful nap. This shit is ON.”


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BBC reporter Ben Anderson, embedded with the British troops in Afghanistan, reports on the Afghani hashish-stoned troops being hopelessly outmatched by the Taliban.

Bring the boys back home.

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“Elvis or Johnny Cash?” “Dancing With the Stars or American Idol?” “Leno or Conan?”

You’re kidding me, right? Four wars, unprosecuted financial robber-barons, eroding civil liberties, unprecedented attacks on democratic unions, and an insanely bloated military industrial complex.

Go f*ck yourself, John.

(Stewart’s take-down of the whole ridiculous charade here.)


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Remarkable, succinct, poignant, and moving. I want to buy stock in this guy. Dude killed it.

Not shown? Heads exploding when select legislators still insisted on testifying or voting for bigotry.

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Ah. Reasoned and intelligent discourse from Fox News.

Wait. What?

I was as shocked as anyone. Shep Smith and Napolitano remain the only two sane voices in a loud bowling alley of troglodytes. More transparency now, please.

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Fortune May 2010

Check this out: Chris Ware was commissioned to do a cover for Fortune. Can you believe they rejected this?

Everyone knows Chris is an artist of some intensity, which for the most part has been directed toward meticulous cartoon dissection of childhood trauma.

Maybe they thought – based on the scenes of Jimmy’s Grandpa – that he really had an instinctual sense for the Depression Era, and that this was a relevant visual cue. I could buy that. Maybe they even imagined he would do something unblinking, and pointed. You know: EDGY. When your mind’s eye floats back over his slavish cross-sections of emotional hurts, can you say you felt any strident political viewpoints leap off the page? After being offered this platform, Ware ripped off his Jimmy Corrigan sad-face mask and revealed: STAB YOU! Turns out that intensity has also been quietly set on Simmer over the economic crisis.

What the art director at Fortune didn’t see in Ware’s work, that maybe he should have, is his comfort with brutal honesty. Painful things don’t incidentally happen in Ware stories: he meditates on them. Maybe the guy who draws an intricate schematic of your heart being ripped into 6,000 pieces isn’t going to pull any punches with the corporate looting of the American economy.

What I love about this: Ware is a smart guy. He knows what Fortune’s niche is. (What’s their name again?) Let’s just say that if Bill Greider ever walked in the lobby they would ask him if he needed directions. Ware KNEW they would never, ever run this piece. But I picture him in his studio, setting the record straight with every futile pen stroke. For the few thousand or so people this would leak to on the internet, anyway.

God Bless you, Mr. Ware.

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Over at HuffPo, there’s a great little video edited by Ben Craw of various pundits calling for Obama to show more emotion, wear more “rugged” clothing, and to be more “empathetic” in the face of the Gulf Oil Spill tragedy. It is, at various moments, hilarious, embarrassing, sad, and infuriating.

From the hysterics of Donny Deutsch:

At least I want the guy feeling. I want to feel his pain with my pain.

To the idiocy of Gretchen Carlson:

Look, he should’ve had on something that looked as if he was a little bit more at the scene.

[Think of] George W. Bush down at 9-11, in the pit. Those are poignant moments that are forever emblazoned in people’s heads, and that puts emotion in their hearts as well.

They (the morons with opining jobs) are calling for more emotion, just like George Bush! One suspects they long (especially Carlson) for the days of Bush’s stuffed codpiece n’ fighter pilot “outfit,” landing, hugging, posturing, and seeming to be doing something. No pragmatic assessment, no reasoned response and sure, steady contemplation, just spazzing out with reality show, reptilian brain fear and frenzy.

(I also find Carlson’s use of the word “emblazoned” extremely telling- “to conspicuously inscribe or display,” “to adorn a surface richly with prominent markings.” She wants to “conspicuously display,” “adorn the surface” with emotion and peacocking, which is what George W. was so masterful and sadly adept at- the ability to gild the surface, to act the part, to “wear the fighter pilot outfit,” as it were. As long as one looks the part, and says the correct platitudes, the children will feel as if daddy’s got it under control. Rather than the President actually having it under control.)

The encouraging part is that Mr. Craw has included various citizens calling in to let the pundits know what a non-story this is- the callers are rejecting the talking points/storyline outright. No one with any intelligence wants the President jumping up and down like a fusspot, saying “Bring it on!” and getting all emotional. They want the pragmatic, measured adult that they elected to handle the crisis, instead of (for example) invading another country that didn’t attack us because he feels like it.

When did thinking become a bad thing?

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And the question remains, why do so many of the neo-cons look like doughy bags of suet?

I’m not in politics, I’m in ratings. – Roger Ailes

Truthful? Absolutely. Repugnant and grossly irresponsible? Yeah, yeah it is.

Here’s Jon Stewart killin’ ’em over Obama meeting with the Congressional GOP:

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The best 1st year assessment I’ve seen so far. From his blog post:

…Obama is on notice that, whatever the enormity of the mess he inherited, the opposition has no sense of responsibility for any of it and will blame him for everything and anything. All he has going for him is the American public’s ability to see through the dust and fury to the realities beneath.

Sullivan’s blog has been invaluable reading this year for me. From his Iranian revolution coverage, to his pragmatic yet measured scrutiny of Obama himself, he and The Colbert Report have been air to me in a year when the atmosphere was polluted beyond recognition. Kudos, Mr. Sullivan. And to you, Mr. President.

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Just watched Brett Gaylor’s Rip! A Remix Manifesto on Hulu last night. I’m actually shocked that NBC, Fox and ABC (Disney) would have this online, in this format; despite its lionization of Disney the Man, Disney the Company is really taken to task here. Maybe it’s the “if we join them, they will disappear” belief. Or maybe they (Los Corporations Grandes) figure the animals have already left the zoo, and they can’t stop it, exhibited by their mere acceptance of Hulu as a business model. Don’t know.

What I do know is that the film is pretty damn good. I’ve been loosely paying attention to these issues since the U2 vs. Negativland debacle in the early nineties, which really made U2 look backwards at a time when they were actually creating some pretty forwards-looking music. I think Negativland would have looked a bit more serious if they hadn’t included the cover, which is pretty much a giant “U2” over a much smaller “Negativland.” You can claim “culture jamming” all you want, but when you transparently are looking for huge sales by being cheeky, I understand Island’s concern. Maybe not the legal overreaction, but the concern is valid.

(I also think Greg Ginn’s re-release with Negativ(e)land: Live on Tour album on SST is about as brilliant a response as possible- Negativland may have posed and said, “EXACTLY! That’s what we’re talking about!” but the loss of their “intellectual property” and the realization of Ginn’s masterful chess move must have stung a little.)

Regardless, I think Rip! and Girl Talk (the “band” that Gaylor champions- those quotes are not sarcastic, it’s actually one guy) are completely necessary right now, and Girl Talk to me is more of an idea than an actual band. (Much like The Sex Pistols are a better idea than a band- Never Mind the Bollocks… is a pretty good album, but it’s a better call-to-arms. The Clash were 10 times the band the Pistols were.) I love the idea of “everything is fair game, ’cause we’re all the same person” and I think the spirit of Girl Talk is much more interesting than the actual music- I listen to the songs and think, “That’s interesting,” but there’s an aspect of it (to me) that seems like a novelty. It’s not the music that’s important, it’s the crowd’s reaction to said music- much like the Pistols, it’s the movement that’s the star. And I think Girl Talk completely understands that.


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grand ole' party!

grand ole' party!

Here’s another one from McNaughton. The amount of historical ignorance at play here is like hot garbage.

For some odd reason I am personally offended at the inclusion of Lincoln in with this band of valueless twats. Any reference to ‘The Party of Lincoln’ by the contemporary Republican party is tantamount to a lie — as if Lincoln and today’s Republicans are part of any sort of contiguous ideological thread. It completely overlooks the great reversal of the 30’s and the development of the Southern Strategy. It’s like saying, “Dr. Jekyll MUST agree with the practices of rape and manslaughter — he shares a ripped tweed jacket with Hyde, DOES HE NOT???”

The gathering depicted would actually make for an interesting conversation, ala “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.” Of course, there’s the issue of where in the McNamarian arc of personal growth and regret each of these guys would land.

Depending on when in his life the Eisenhauer depicted hails from, I’m pretty certain Dwight David would be scowling at some things the rest of the gang might be saying. Not that all of them would be in the same part of the same page either — Reagan the charismatic naif, Bush Sr the former head of the CIA (& probably not naive about very much at all),  and Teddy the lusty warmonger. Nixon, legendarily bitter, mendacious, and socially awkward. Could HW Bush resist piping in with a mouth full of pretzels? (I confess to having not even a caricature of Gerald Ford to draw on.)

Nonetheless, I think Bush Sr’s post-presidency activity allows for the inference that *perhaps* he has reconsidered the impact of his life’s work. But without question, Lincoln — with his pained conscience and his talk of ‘the angels of our better natures’ — would have found the company of these men repellent.

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This is a fine piece of modern deist illustration that turned into mock-fodder for the liberal blogosphere.

First is the boingboing post, with some pretty funny, informed, and cutting remarks (image is link):

a trashy portrait of American mysticism

a pretty piece of p0rn

Here’s the work on McNaughton’s site, with his defensive rebuttal to his critics, but more importantly, the unintentional hilarity of his rollover descriptions of each figure in the painting.

And finally, here is the subversive hack of said rollover captions by Short Packed.

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Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over’

Yes, all eight years of Bush were this tragically predictable. Check the date.

I can’t think of a better day to post this reminder of what happens when a childish incompetent is elected to the highest office in the land, and is forced to handle an extreme crisis. May we never forget.

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Great comic about amusing ourselves to death, by Stuart McMillen:

Picture 1

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I love this song. Made better by the drunken German sing-along, and the key-change Kirsty MacColl final lyric:

Here’s a nice little concert mash-up with Kate Nash:

And here’s Billy on the Henry Rollins Show, singing Waiting for the Great Leap Forward (with the great spot-on observation about Mtv’s absolute irrelevance):

I’ll go into Levi Stubb’s Tears at a later date; probably in my top twenty favorite songs of all time. I was just in a Mr. Love n’ Justice mood today.

KENWOODE UPDATE: In the middle of doing rewrites on the screenplay. The good news is there is real interest; I can’t really go into it right now. But I promise I’ll post a few new panels this weekend, taking into account a new work-flow (or actual work) “process” from Carl and myself called, “Getting Off Our Lazy Asses.”

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From W.B. Yeats’ Cathleen Ní Houlihan:

They shall be remembered forever

They shall be alive forever

They shall be speaking forever

The people shall hear them forever.

Tipped, of course, by Andrew Sullivan and his relentless and unmatched Iran coverage.

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I know everybody here is on a 24-hour news cycle. I’m not.

An adult in the White House. Everybody breathe.

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Andrew Sullivan’s coverage of the Iranian “election” debacle and the subsequent protests and fascist crackdown by the Revolutionary Guard has been truly admirable. Something is happening in Iran, indeed.

You can’t force democracy down the barrel of a gun, the way the Neocons think. All this weekend, as all hell is breaking loose in Iran, I’ve had a line from Peter Gabriel’s “Biko” running through my head:

You can blow out a candle/But you can’t blow out a fire/Once the flame begins to catch/The wind will blow it higher.

There are young people in Iran (and all over the world) who are sick of the tyranny of old ideas, who want to be part of something hopeful, not repressive and brutal. While we’re worried about whether Adam Lambert is gay or indulging Sarah Palin’s shameless mock outrage at Letterman, people like this are fighting for their lives and freedom in Tehran.

One wonders if this was Obama’s long game: to engage the hopeful, and young, and through his Middle East address present them with a choice of continued submission to tyranny, or to forge their own future, much as the USA has done. “May you live in interesting times.” It doesn’t get much more interesting, y’all.

I wholeheartedly suggest following Andrew’s blog as well as Huffington Post’s coverage. It’s not as if Fox is gonna cover it; they’re too busy praying to God that Obama fails. Party first, country last, right guys?

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Another triumphant AutoTune the News:

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Just ask him. He has the unmitigated gall to challenge journalistic baddass Michael Ware who’s lived in Iraq for SIX YEARS, and just parrots the “threw them under the bus” bullshit GOP talking point again. Ware’s been in war zones for years, and this punk even tries to throw his resume against Ware’s?

Thiessen returns to the weasel-y “I was in the Pentagon on 9-11.” Are you kidding? This is your chickenhawk defense? You were a Bush speechwriter. You’re culpable.

Some days I can’t even deal with the toads trying to cover their master’s tracks. When Thiessen tries to jump on Ware’s affectionate Aussie “boys and girls” characterization, aggressively stating, “They aren’t boys and girls! They are heroes!” he sounds like Will Farrell in that old SNL sketch with the passive aggressive dad: “I drive a Dodge Stratus! I drive a Dodge Stratus!” Of course Ware knows they’re heroes. He’s been in foxholes with them for six years, you idiot.

Lastly(and this is a bit unfair, but oh well), why are all the NeoCons so doughy? One has only to look at the two vastly different men to see the extreme differences in their experience: Thiessen: manicured, clenched, suited, powdered, sputtering, scolding. I doubt he’s ever had a callus. Ware: somewhat haunted, unkept, relaxed, laughs easily (not desperately), moves in and out of camera as it suits him. It’s all there on the screen.

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Inscription on the Pillar of Shame in Hong Kong:

The Old Cannot Kill the Young Forever

Excerpts from “Watching TV” from Roger Waters’ fantastic album, Amused to Death.

We were watching TV
In Tiananmen Square
Lost my baby there
My yellow rose
In her bloodstained clothes
She was a short order pastry chef
In a Dim Sum dive on the Yangtze tideway
She had a shiny hair
She was a daughter of an engineer
Won’t you shed a tear
For my yellow rose
My yellow rose
In her bloodstained clothes
She had a perfect breasts
She had high hopes
She had almond eyes
She had yellow thighs
She was a student of philosophy
Won’t you grieve with me
For my yellow rose
Shed a tear
For her bloodstained clothes


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This is the most brilliant post-modern comedic sketch I’ve ever seen:

What? They’re serious?

Oh… man. Where do you begin?

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan. And hat tip to AS for the blogging phrase “hat tip.”

UPDATE: The comments on YouTube are incredibly vicious (and, at times, completely appropriate). I don’t agree with these guys, but they’re pretty young. I just don’t think liberals serve themselves well when they savage people. Yeah, these guys are co-opting a cultural form that their ‘side’ has criticized and attempted to censor for years. But I don’t think it’s malicious, just clueless.

On the other hand, they are Army enlistment age, and go to Dartmouth. That’s kind of an easy target when they’re ‘rapping’ about soldiers spilling blood. Feel free to enlist at any time, boys.

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Nice little article here. I pretty much agree with all of it. Simmons is to sports columns what Prince is to musical output: needs an editor, but you still want to hear all of the unfiltered weirdness. Not that Simmons is half the genius Prince is (sorry Bill).

I go back ‘n forth on Simmons. There are times when I’m completely in awe of the balls it takes to repeatedly bite the hand that feeds him. He’s of the Henry Rollins school of Truth Telling. On the other hand, some of his celeb biting can be a bit juvenile and downright mean, and his lusting after female celebs can be stuck in high school.

But then I remember he’s a married man, and it all makes more sense. Plus, if I’m honest, I’m probably just jealous he gets to hang with Malcolm Gladwell.

The thing I love about the column is, despite his huge Celtic bias, Simmons loves the game of basketball, so much so that he wants fans to record, diagram, and publish questionable officiating practices to get to the Truth of the matter. That’s awesomely insane, and Simmons knows there’s some NBA psycho somewhere who will do the work for free, in a manner to rival Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight. Can’t wait to see that site.

The FiveThirtyEight of basketball officiating. Nice work, Sports Guy.

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And by this, I mean Nuggets defeat Lakers and Kobe (tied 2-2), Magic defeat Cavs and the Chosen One (Magic up 3-1). And it would make David Stern cry. And so many others so, so happy.


I’ve been stunned by the (relative) even-keel officiating in these playoffs (besides the occasional bullshit T on Howard). Even when the refs are trying like hell to keep the Cavs in it, the Magic have been finding a way to pull it out. And we’re slowly seeing that the Lakers don’t have enough pieces around them to stop a team like the Nuggets, one that bangs ’em around, has an unflappable point guard in Mr. Big Shot, and hits from outside with JR Smith.

All the Kobe vs. LeBron talk could be for naught. (And by the way, HOLY F**K, ESPN with your stupid-ass ‘Could LeBron have played football?’ articles. I don’t know. Do you think the Hulk could beat the Thing in a fight? SHUT UP.) The (admittedly great) Kobe/LeBron puppets could go to waste. All because two teams said, “Wait a minute. We’re still here. We will beat you and the refs.” The sheer amount of disrespect the national media have given Denver and Orlando is mind-boggling.

And could someone please explain to me how Magic Johnson is allowed to commentate on a game when he owns a stake in the f*cking Lakers? How could he possibly be considered impartial? Or even allowed to open his mouth to comment on the game? Are they not even pretending anymore?

Honestly, look at these pages. Not one “expert” picked the Nuggets or Magic to win the series. Not one. They’re all in the tank for a Lakers/Cavs series. Just tragic.

Go Denver. Go Magic. Whew. I feel better.

THE GREAT NIKE PUPPET COMMERCIALS (Credit where credit is due):

The Cookie One:

“Beef and Broccoli!”

The Chalk One (which is great because the whole chalk bullshit is a move that Lebron ripped off from KG):

“Why do we live together?”

Here’s a couple of nice articles: first is Rick Reilly’s ‘Letter to God’ pleading for a Denver Championship. Here’s my favorite of late, former ‘Strib writer Steve Aschburner’s great take on the LeBron ref bias. From Dwight Howard’s blog:

“I told y’all the other day that we find it really disrespectful that everybody seems to be pulling for LeBron and Kobe [Bryant] to get to the Finals,” Howard posted Memorial Day morning. “Every time I look at TV, it seems like that’s all anybody is talking about. It’s like nobody is even giving us a shot at winning this series and we’ve used it as motivation.

“We’re up 2-to-1 and we have a long way to go vs. the Cavs, but hopefully we can mess up those plans of getting Cleveland and L.A. in the Finals. If the lil’ ol’ Magic make it, what will they say then? … Nobody out there on ESPN thinks that we can do it, but we think we have everything that it takes right now to bring that ‘ship back to O-town. Aiiight, y’all I guess I gotta go watch another one of these LeBron and Kobe commercials on TV. Naw, just kiddin’.”

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And the hits keep coming. Jesse bags another chicken hawk, Brian Kilmeade.

I think he’s at his limit. Just killing ’em.

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Some pretty salient points on the “Drug War,” and absolutely spot-on in his critique of Capitalism as Social Framework:

David Simon:

Capitalism is a wonderful engine, but how we mistook it for a social framework for how to build a just society and interpreted it that way is just incredible.

There’s also a couple of great points on Overtime, which is the internet-only after thought:

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I will always be proud of my vote for Jesse Ventura for Minnesota Governor, despite a number of  topics on which I disagree with him. Just fearless:

UPDATES: Here’s Jesse taking on Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s talking points:

And obliterating Sean “Chicken Hawk” Hannity:

He’s a one-man wrecking crew. Going from show to show to show just owning the talking heads. Truly admirable.

It’s amazing how Hannity sputters, and just realizes that he’s arguing with a man that could defeat him honestly, intellectually, and (if he had to) physically. Jesse’s just laughing at him and his silliness.

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After his mocking of “Glen Beck Day” on Fox, his even-handedness during the election, and his stance on torture, I’m finding Shepard Smith to be a truly admirable journalist, even if I disagree with him occasionally. Pretty much the only one on FOX to admire, really:

Shep losing it here, in a good way. I’m surprised more people don’t do this on television, considering the doddering, simple-minded “debates” they’re forced to endure.

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Is it just me, or does the GOP & Fox News (with their touting and co-opting of the Ron Paul Tea Parties and short-term memory regarding Bush’s civil liberty infringment and psychotic spending) remind anyone else of the racist anti-integration stereotypes in Remember the Titans?

I can’t be the only one. It’s like they’re playing roles in a made-for-tv movie. “Dere dif’runt den us! Get ‘um!”

Full Disclosure: I will watch Remember the Titans every time I stumble across on it cable. I’m a complete sucker for it.

UPDATE: Here’s John Oliver (my favorite correspondent) intellectually destroying protestors on the Daily Show.

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There’s a 6.3% chance that the T-Wolves get ‘im. I know I’m dreaming, but what the hell. Can you imagine? Griffin, Big Al and K Love down low? Those muggs could do some damage.

I’d also take Ricky Rubio. Or Harden. (Lord knows, we could use a point guard.) Or Thabeet. But knowing the McHale Curse, we’ll drop to the 6th pick. AARGH!!!

(When the Wolves went on a 10-2 run in Jan, I told a guy that they’d win 35 this year. Then Big Al went out. They won 24 without Big Al, and lost a ton by 8 or less points. Had we remained healthy, I stand by my 35 prediction.)

ESPN’s Mock Draft here.

UPDATE: Apparently, the Wolves won the toss between them and Memphis; they now have a 7.6% chance of the first pick. Here’s hoping Stern doesn’t pull a New York Knicks-Patrick Ewing-fix. Yeah, I said it.

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