Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Great Moments In Journamalism

Since apparently that War On Christmas thing finally, blessedly petered out, the persecution ninnies need to create another quasi-Christian tempest in a teapot. Enter Bill Maher:

"Wow, Jesus just f**ked #TimTebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere....Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler "Hey, Buffalo’s killing them."

Tebow had thrown four interceptions in his team's Christmas Eve loss to the Bills, which prompted Maher's remark.

Okay, Maher is being deliberately obnoxious and confrontational, but that's what a political comedian is supposed to do. And the argument can -- and has -- been reasonably made that Tebow's squeaky-clean, overly-publicized evangelism has changed the outcome of Tebow's job profile, in that while Tebow has demonstrated his toughness and resilience, he still insufficiently displays competence in the basic mechanics of his job.

In other words, it's not unreasonable to ask out loud exactly how Tebow has managed to avoid being converted to a fullback or H-back, considering how poorly and inconsistently he throws a football. Which is ordinarily a deal-breaker for someone who plays the position of quarterback in the National Football League.

Part of it may be that, in a climate where some folks never get tired of braying the tedious "role model" trope, Tebow gives that particular crowd something to hang their hats on. He's not a grotesquely-overpaid doorstop who, in a hyper-competitive profession, somehow managed to be completely unmotivated by a $60 million contract. Nor is Tebow a jism-spraying fool who never got the memo on how babies are created. God-bothering aside, when you watch enough soulless jerkoffs dick around through their careers with an obscene sense of over-entitlement, Mister Clean is going to pull in a lot of people who are repelled by that sort of behavior.

But I digress, this is actually not about all that nonsense. What this is about is the ludicrous notion of what online Faux News considers worthy of reportage.

And while Tebow did not respond to Maher, some of his fans are calling for a boycott of HBO, urging customers who find Maher's tweet offensive to cancel their subscriptions to the pay cable channel, Yahoo! Sports reports.

Wow, that's fascinating, Faux News! How many "fans" is this mysterious "some" comprised of, six, ten, fifty, a kajillionty? Is there a link to the Yahoo Sports story? Is there any organizing entity behind these "some fans", say James Dobson, that sort of thing, some door-knocking claque with the word "Family" in their name? Or is this someone's random "ya know whut we shud do" Facebook page? You literally cannot any of those obvious questions by reading this "article", yet it the whole thing is presented as if it were actual news.

Tebow himself is less bothersome than the rabble roused by his schtick, people who would almost certainly come unglued if Tebow were Mooooslim, and felt compelled to preface every interview by thanking Allah and the One True Prophet (PBUH). And that's really what the people picking on Tebow are on about -- football fans want football; if we wanted a sermon, we'd go to church. Faith is supposed to be, and used to be, a personal thing for most people, rather than a tribal or political declaration.

[Update: Wonder why "some fans" didn't get all publicly butt-hurt over Big Daddy Drew's blasphemous takedown a couple months ago.]

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Walking Dead

Seems that the folks at The Atlantic have been analyzing Ron Paul's disingenuous responses to racist sentiments being disseminated in his own newsletter, much to the chagrin of the usual claque of exasperated Paultards, who are still agog that the rest of us can be so blind to the great man's innate brilliance.

Now, hilarious as this is, every bit as hilarious as the schtick of someone who's been in politics for 35 years still pretending to be an outsider, it is the audience of mouth-breathing, window-licking, arm-dragging troglodytes clamoring for this racist guff which really bears some scrutiny:

At the time I was Lefty Morris' campaign manager, who was the Democrat running against Ron Paul in the general election. Our campaign released the "Ron Paul Political Report" to reporters and later focus grouped some of his writings and affiliations at a restaurant in La Grange, Texas.

At the time, the "Ron Paul Political Report" was listed in an online Neo-Nazi Directory that also included publications by the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Brothers (or something like that).

Of course, we thought we could use this to our advantage. So, in the focus group, we let participants look at the newsletters and told them that Ron Paul's Political Report was listed in the Neo Nazi directory with the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups.

The focus group got really quiet. Then one man pops off, "There's nothing wrong with the Ku Klux Klan."

Another man in the group says, "The Ku Klux Klan has done a lot of good things. For example, if a man wasn't taking care of his family, the Ku Klux Klan would take him down to the town square and tar a feather him."

Next a woman says, "It's the media. They never report the good things that the Ku Klux Klan does."

We had a runaway focus group on our hands. About 10 of the 12 participants were chirping their enthusiasm for the KKK.

Wow. Just....Jesus H. Christ, keep in mind that this took place in 1996. Truly old times there are not forgotten. Then there's the excerpt in the Coates link about George Wallace being the forward-thinking liberal in his area -- until, of course, he got "outniggered" by an opponent and vowed never to fall for that again. Charming.

Maybe we should be reassured that the '96 focus group was "only" 12, that maybe these are isolated idiots. Some days it's hard to be sure of that, though. Regardless, as Coates notes, Paul's evasiveness pretty much tells you where he and his fans are at, not as racists per se, but intellectually dishonest nonetheless. It should be easy meat to repudiate this detestable shit right out of the gate, and yet for some reason it isn't.

I suppose people are charmed by Paul's irascible, insouciant insistence that the American garrison state pull out of its 700-plus bases around the world. Hey, that's a super idea, as long as we're all willing to conserve a bit. And since we're clearly not, not even a little bit, except as some boutique bien pensant notion, you need your hegemon, you need your octopus. They don't seem to have an answer for that one.

Paul at least is the most interesting and sincere of all of the people running for the office, and that includes Obama. However, that is exactly why he has no chance in hell.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


A valiant attempt on the part of the NY Times to rehabilitate Gingrich's, um, character. Megalulz:

Mr. Gingrich has repeatedly said that he is not perfect and that there are episodes he regrets. “There are periods of my life I’ve had to seek forgiveness and reconcile with God for,” he said last month in an interview in New Hampshire. “But if you look at who I am today, I think I can withstand scrutiny as well as anyone else in the field.”

His candor seems to be working even with social conservatives, who seem more interested in choosing a hard-edged opponent to face President Obama. Recent polls of Iowa voters showed Mr. Gingrich with the largest share of support from Christian evangelicals.

Look, not to rehash yet again the long-dead Clinton impeachment saga, but it's relevant here. Count me among the folks who were repulsed and annoyed at the idea of the president not only getting his cock sucked by an intern while discussing Balkan troop deployments, but by his own admission ejaculating into a fucking bathroom sink. Because blowing a wad in this girl's mouth would have been wrong, you know? I don't expect pols to lead perfectly moral lives, but really, the whole thing was weird as all hell, in addition to being completely inappropriate. (Yeah, I'm a little square about bosses banging subordinates as a general principle, sorry.)

And just as a practical matter, you don't have to be a Rhodes Scholar to know that that sort of thing will completely derail your term in office, and that by nature of your immensely powerful position, there's a good chance that your good-time girl will get so excited, she'll have to tell somebody. So it's also an unforgivably irresponsible squandering of political capital. No doubt Clinton assumed that the usual gentleman's agreement was in place; shoulda known better that he wasn't dealing with gentlemen.

Aaaaanyhoo, despite the above-listed, far-too-often-discussed reasons to be pissed at Clinton for his exploits, I reserve far more contempt for someone who persecutes a man for such picayune things as if they were high crimes, while he himself is enjoying the exact same services. And, setting aside hoary sentiments about hypocrisy being the tribute vice pays to virtue, it's particularly puzzling that a claque of doofuses who reflexively leap their high horses to lecture us godless heathens on their regard for high moral character, can align themselves with this slug.

And that's not even getting into the other various episodes of hypocrisy (taking $1.8 million from the much-maligned Freddie Mac) and revolting stances (such as using poor children as school janitors). Not that he has a chance to actually take the nomination; Newt is just the final "anyone but Romney" pig at the dance before the goobers buckle in and settle for either the real thing or Huntsman, who is apparently going all out to try to capture the NH primary and build momentum from there.

Jesus, the man is just awful, and the people supporting him are just as pathetic. Nice of them to demonstrate so convincingly for us that their sanctiomonious nonsense was just that after all. (As if their jumping from serial harasser Herman Cain to serial adulterer Newt Gingrich wasn't enough of a clue.) Turns out we really did know what they were all along, we were just haggling over the price.

A Thousand Cuts

"If America goes, it will surely be an inside job." -- Mort Sahl

OK, so Alec Baldwin getting booted from a plane (and getting put on American Airlines' internal no-fly list) for being an asshole and not shutting down his iPad right when he was told to isn't really a sign, in and of itself, of an impending totalitarianism. But it's a symptom, an indicator of how much we're conditioned to put up with, what we've come to expect.

Isn't it interesting that, after ten full years since 9/11, of not getting attacked on US soil, either internally or from abroad, that now it becomes suddenly of vital national interest to declare the "homeland" (or, if you prefer, Heimat) a battlefield, necessitating the complete suspension of habeas corpus, of charging a suspect with a crime, of fair trial by jury. Yes, only now is it vital to officially decide and declare who is a vetted journamalist allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights, and who is but a mere blogger, not allowed to slander critical cogs such as foreclosure attorneys and pepper-spray-happy cops down at the be-in.

Maybe press passes should be required for people to discuss the daily news at the water cooler as well, lest the ruling class feel slandered by the scourge of unvetted public opinion. Officially approved discussion topics will consist of Tebows, Kardashians, and speculating as to whom will be the next set of neverweres on that dancing show.

Gin and Tacos commenter J. Dryden makes a brilliant point, summed up nicely in this sentence:

our country and culture is fertile ground for totalitarianism.

Flight of Dickarus

Judging from the media coverage of the non-event, I guess I'm supposed to be outraged at Alec Baldwin's uppity behavior. I mean, really -- how dare not just shut his cakehole like a good German, and happily submit to what has long been nothing more than an abusive process, from the time you set foot in the departure terminal to whenever you eventually disembark.

Seriously, Baldwin should have thanked American Airlines for their "just shut the fuck up and sit quiet while we wait on the runway for a fucking week to take off" attitude that they stockpile in reserve for every airline passenger. Instead, he had the nerve, the absolute gall, to USE HIS I-PAD WHICH COULD TOTALLY BRING DOWN THE ENTIRE FRAGILE AIR TRANSIT INFRASTRUCTURE!!!elevenZOMG!!!

No. It's much easier for us to tell ourselves that some mouthy actor is being an asshole, than to wonder for a hot second just how we continue to let ourselves be treated like animals in a routine consumer transaction. Some folks will continue to do so right up to the moment the wage slave on the kill floor parks the metaphorical bolt gun between their eyes and pulls that trigger.

Just another little cut, a common indignity which most have been conditioned to placidly accept, one of a thousand. Go back to sleep.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mother of Invention

Historian-in-chief makes specious claim. Really, I'm surprised he didn't invoke the dog in a manger argument.

Also, too is the fact that -- again, brace yourself -- Newter's talking out of his capacious bunghole yet again: the name Palestine was derived from the Biblical "Philistine" by the Romans, fell into semi-official use by the Ottomans, and was revived by the British (along with other administrative designations) when they parceled out the area after WW1.

Gingrich's parsimonious averral that the usage only became common after 1977, after decalring the term an "invention", is too clever by half, but perfectly in keeping with the necessity of courting evangelical votes by waving the Israeli flag, as all Republican candidates are now required to do. Good luck with that, son -- either it's the economy, stupid, or it's not. Anyone with the luxury of obsessing over gay marriage or abortion or "holy" lands instantly reveals the true level of their concern for addressing the economic situation.


Remember when one of the primary -- and most hilarious -- rationales given for invading Iraq was the idea that Saddam might have a squadron of nucular-tipped drones that would only take 45 minutes to get London or Washington? Somewhat ironic, considering how much we've depended on drones in the Afghan campaign (and the amount of diplomatic grief some of their more "erroneous" misfires have caused.

The commentary over Iran's pursuit for nuclear capability has been uniformly paranoid. Not that the mullahs are nice guys, and they very well could cause some trouble with the capacity for nuclear weapons, most notably by dissemination through surrogate independent terrorist cells.

But the simpler and more prevalent explanation is that Iran simply needs to keep up with its neighbors at this point. If you live in a really dangerous neighborhood to begin with, and all your neighbors have AR-15 assault rifles, and all you've got is a 12" Buck knife, are you gonna want a gun or what, just in case?

Anyway, this whole snafu plays right into China's hands, at least as much as Iran's. Between the Osama copter and now this, their reverse-engineering crews have just gotten a huge upsurge in projects to work on. And the tech monkeys can downplay this all they want, talk about how the Sentinel's tech is already been surpassed, but the fact is the plane has only been declassified for four years, and therefore is almost certainly less than ten. For a country that's still playing catchup on 70-year-old nuke tech, they'd settle for being just ten years (or less) behind on surveillance drone tech, since that is a huge future branch of warfare.

It might be useful if, just once in a while, our insect overlords considered their projected anxieties about certain weapons and tech, and see if that helps them empathize a bit more with other countries that are nervous over our capabilities with those weapons. Rational-actor theory aside, a scary weapon is still just that.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

What a Friend We Have In Tebow

Klosterman on Tebow. Worth a read.

I'm not sure of all the consternation surrounding the kid. As an atheist, I am non-plussed by his zealous professions of faith, it's how he was raised, it's how he's always going to be. Whatever works.

As a man, I have to wonder about someone who becomes a marquee Heisman-winning QB at a notorious SEC party school, and still manages to emerge as a virgin. This is a feat unbeknownst to modern science, friends 'n' neighbors. I mean, dude, you don't have to bang every cheerleader, but you can at least have a girlfriend, someone you actually care about and have fun with. People who store up sex for special occasions are inevitably disappointed.

But as a football fan, Tebow is simultaneously frustrating and exhilarating to observe. He runs like a deer and takes some serious hits. There's no denying his toughness. But he throws like old people fuck; every time he cocks back for more then fifteen yards, I get a visual of someone attempting to heave a frozen turkey over a ten-foot wall.

So as a lifelong Raiders fan, I find it immensely frustrating that Tebow continues to find ways to win, regardless of the inherent superiorities of the opposition. The Jets and Vikings, with their run-stopping front fours, should have shut his ass down; the Raiders, with a 17-point halftime lead last month, should have stood on his goddamned neck and pushed that lead to 30. But no, all the guy does is ride a storming D into single-possession fourth-quarter deficits to be overcome by moxie and/or gumption. To abuse the cliché, he just finds ways to win.

I still don't see the Donks making playoffs, it's statistically improbable at best. Then again, I still can't believe George W. Bush made it into the White House -- even by hook and/or crook -- not once, but twice. Truth really is stranger than fiction.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Ho Ho Holy Crap

This little number is far less interesting for the actual topic -- second-grade teacher drops a dime on "Santa"; parents get butt-hurt -- than for how quickly some of the commenters mount their librulnatsi hobby-horses:

Jeff Nickels · Top Commenter
"Teachers wont lie to them"? You cant be serious. Students get lied to by leftist "teachers" every single day in colleges and grade/middle schools around the country. It is not the job of a so-called educator to inform my child of anything other than the lessons at hand, and that includes whether or not there's a santa claus.

Jennifer Wagner
What are these lies that are being told "every single day in colleges and grade/middle schools..."?

Jeff Nickels · Top Commenter
Well on a local forum I frequent, an anonymous teacher bragged that she was "indoctrinating (my) kids with all of the liberal "information" she could so that kids wouldnt be "hateful conservatives". I guess we can live in fairy-tale land and pretend that mine was the only case of something like this happening, if you want to. We can also pretend that teacers are infallible arbiters of pure truth if you'd like; the national test scores and illiteracy rate would say otherwise,

Jeff Nickels · Top Commenter
(cont)..but we can also ignore that as well, if you'd like.

Jeff Nickels · Top Commenter
I'm willing to bet that if I teach my child a biblical view about homosexuality, you feel it would be alright for said teacher to "correct" my child, dont you? I can assure you that were that to happen, I would not only have the teacher's job. I would have the school board, school, principle, and anyone else involved in civil court post-haste. I am fed up to the gills with agents of government thinking they know best how to raise my own children.

And so forth. Look, it's bad enough that some offshoot of the War on Christmas guff will be ignited over the teacher's tragic revelation. (And not to break the hearts of some of the more addled codgers further down the comment board, claiming to be well into their fifties and sixties, yet "still believing", but I had the Santa thing dialed in when I was maybe six or seven. It seemed important to my mother, who grew up in a Jehovah Witness household and therefore got cheated out of childhood Christmases, so I went along with it until I was about ten. I have a feeling that many, maybe even most kids, are just going along with it at some point.)

Some folks are clinging on a bit too tight. You want to preserve the power of imagination for your precious rinpoche? Help them imagine what it's going to be like finding a fucking job in about ten years, one that doesn't make them want to self-medicate or ram their pedicab into a bridge abutment.

But it's the ones that immediately make the hyperintuitive leap to librul malfeeance that truly fascinate me. They're the ones for whom the very existence of, say, Glee is prima facie evidence that something untoward is being rammed directly down their throats, thus forcing them to confront the horrific notion that they might secretly like it. The axiom that anyone who obsesses that much -- or, you know, at all -- over gay people is very likely themselves gay holds true as always.