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Sunday, June 30, 2013

It's Getting Hot In Here

You know, I was just about to drop a token yammer about how bloody hot it is this fine weekend (and no, I don't have air conditioning, I have a swamp cooler, which is useless above 100 degrees), when I saw this awful news. Jesus, so sad. Seriously, words fail.

Firefighting is obviously dangerous, often thankless work, and you may have noticed the past few years that wildfire season out west starts earlier and goes longer these days. Last year it was Colorado, because large swaths of forest have been turned into tinder by infestations of pine beetle -- wait for it -- which have proliferated because it no longer gets cold enough long enough during the winter.

Usually it's a safe bet to scoff at arguments which deploy the Children, Who Are Our Future trope, but in the case of laypersons attempting to figure out whether climate change is "real," and/or caused by human activity, one would think that most parents at least would want to err on the side of caution, to ensure that their kids have a reasonably safe planet to inhabit. Maybe not; in most subjects, especially ones requiring the ability to assess empirical evidence, one observes a great deal of providentiary thinking. The problem is recognized but studiously ignored; something will come along because something always does.

At this point, you can't even totally invoke the shibboleth of mindless 'murkin consumerism and waste; while of course there is waste, the more egregious examples of suburban assault vehicles, such as Hummers and Excursions, fell prey to high gas prices. That's the only thing the assholes who "needed" gargantuan grocery schooners understand anyway, is a swift kick to the pocketbook.

No, the blessings of globalization have created a lot of newly-minted middle-class aspirations in grievously overpopulated third world countries. What happens when a quarter-billion Chinese and a quarter-billion Indians are suddenly thrust into the arena with the big boys? We're spoiled, we're accustomed to it, but the scope and scale of economically empowering half a billion people or so, in a relatively short time, is bound to have environmental consequences.

There may not be a direct correlation between, say, the ongoing desertification of China and the proliferation of the lodgepole pine beetle, but one thing students of climate change have duly noted is the interdependence -- hell, the interconnectivity -- of the natural world. That is not a difficult concept to understand.

But it is very easy to ignore.

Believe it or not, I have neither lecture nor lament here. I'm writing this, and you're reading this, so by definition we are using electricity, generated by fossil fuels, for non-essential activity. Nobody is Simon-pure here.

But it doesn't hurt to be at least cognizant of the things we do, and the impacts we inflict, and strive to be just 10% less of an asshole, when it comes to being kind to the environment. The thing is, and this is something many Americans do not consider or even know, is that one in three human beings lives in either China or India. One in two -- that is, half of all humanity -- lives on the Asian continent.

In past times, we could afford to be somewhat smug about our hyperconsumerism and wanton pollution because we are relatively sparsely populated, and no one else had the tech or the stones to be as crudely wasteful. We at least had control, in the sense that we could pull back if we so chose. We chose not to.

The demographics, and the concomitant effects of globalized commerce, have rendered that previous mindset inoperative. We retain some control, but only over ourselves, and perhaps not enough in the aggregate. The U.S. is only 5% of the world population, after all. As China outpaces us in accessing African resources, we may find ourselves not only in a bind as climate change continues apace, but increasingly powerless to do anything about it.

Your Weekly Book Pimp

Buy my books. Please. If you subscribe to Amazon Prime, you can borrow them for free (and I still get paid). If you've already bought one, please leave a review. If you've already left a review, tell a friend. If you've already told all of your friends, then get ready to take part in the upcoming free download weekend for my next two guitar books.

So far, the guitar books have moved pretty well; in fact, for most of this month, Practice Power has been in the top ten of the Techniques and Guitar categories (and yes, there are at least 100 books in each category, wiseguy). I'm very appreciative of that, as well as of the fact that during the Memorial Day free download weekend, we moved over 1,000 copies each of Practice Power and Climbing the K2. Hopefully we can top that this coming holiday weekend.
 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Deep in the Heart of Dipshit

Congrats to Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, for actually getting up there and honest-to-gawd filibustering. It's unfortunate that the odds are stacked way against keeping that stupid law pushed through next week, or the week after, or however many tries Rick Perry wants to give it. But at least she tried, and at least she refuses to take their shit, which could be a model for many other Democrats, some of whom couldn't find their spines if Jamie Dimon held the flashlight for them.

The obsession so many people and politicians in this country have over abortion is scary, quite frankly. It's difficult to think of another issue so grievously underpinned by fanaticism, hypocrisy, chicanery, outright stupidity, and bad faith on the part of anti-abortion activists.

As I've said many times, politicians reflect their constituencies, good, bad, or completely stupid. When you have a bozo like Jodie Laubenberg declaring that rape victims don't need abortions because rape kits clean out the impacted area and prevent pregnancy -- well, you can't just walk into your local corner store and buy that kind of stupid. You have to get on the internets and hunt down the right SKU number for that one. But no matter -- either Laubenberg actually believes that shit, in which case her district is populated by morons who elected a fellow moron, or she knows better, but also knows that her district is borderline retarded.

Either way, Texas State District 89 has some issues with elementary cognition. Ditto Louie Gohmert's district, and so forth. The point is, we hold up elected representatives as these totems of mass disapproval, to beat them with our collective reproach.

But someone put those dunces in office. Someone keeps voting for Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn. Tennessee's 4th Congressional District thought it'd be a swell idea to re-elect Scott DesJarlais, even after it was proven in the ugliest fashion that his pro-life fambly valyews bullshit was exactly that.

And so on. Wendy Davis and her supporters certainly have their work cut out for them on Monday, and I hope they succeed in their mission, but we all know human nature too well. Because Texas, like many redneck states, is getting younger, poorer, and browner demographically, it will be "bluing" sooner rather than later, but in the meantime, it's this tedious, mindless crusade of cartoon characters picking on women, especially poor women.

Don't they have anything better to do? If they put one-tenth of that energy and vigor into, oh I dunno, subsidized birth control, better education (general and sex), better jobs, etc., that the abortion rate would drop -- even more than it has been for 20 years.

What We've All Learned From Paula Deen

Jayzus. A whole week of navel-gazing, shirt-tearing, tearful nonsense, and ham-fisted apologies. And that was just Matt Lauer. [Hi-yoooo! - Ed.]

Really, did the largely self-imposed travails of 'murka's Buttah Queen evolve into some sort of nuanced, sophisticated observation of the nation's (not just the South, though they're obviously the most grievous, entrenched offender) race issues? Of course not. It turned into the predictable sideshow of Deen wallowing in abject, self-pitying burble. Pro tip:  even nailing oneself to the proverbial cross is easier with a stick of butter, y'all.

No, it just turned into another reminder that in a nation of 320 million people, a good chunk of them can only self-actualize and express themselves via consumerism. So of course as Deen is losing endorsers almost hourly, her cookbooks are flying off Amazon's virtual shelves. This is of a piece with last August, where we saw hordes of sweaty hillbillies racing their Hoverounds down to the nearest Chick-Fil-A to show their solidarity with the gay-bashing CEO. The idea that any of these acts might qualify as expressions of intellectual coherence tells you a lot about the folks indulging in those acts.

So it went as these things typically go, and ended up being almost not at all about Paula Deen, and whatever or how long ago her transgressions were. It's much more about a substantial chunk of like-minded people, who jes' don't see whut awl the fuss is about, where peoples just is whut they is, y'all.

Instead of helping Deen hide behind her lame "I'm just an old lady who was raised that way" defense, her enablers might consider that Deen was nearly 20 years old when the civil rights movement came to fruition, when southerners were forced to confront the moral ramifications of murdering college students, picking on schoolchildren, and siccing dogs and turning firehoses on people who had the nerve to be tired of that shit and said so.

There was a choice to be made then and there, and Deen, while obviously not a cross-burning, hood-wearing knuckle-dragger, chose like most southerners to pretend that offensive symbolism and ofay "humor" were just part of that fabled suthuhn cultcha. The anecdote she told about her great-great-grandfather killing himself after "losing" his "workers" tells you everything you need to know about that Lost Cause mentality, just completely obtuse, the stubborn refusal to see what has been right in front of them all along.

I don't know that Deen needs to have her career ruined over this particular kerfuffle, but I do know that her apologies seem to lazily trace the shopworn "I'm sorry if you were offended" trope of the insincere buffoon who isn't even quite sure what they did wrong. It mostly conveys the possibility that Deen hasn't really thought much about any of this, at least not deeply enough to understand why the descendants of the people her great-great grandfather owned might take umbrage at some of this.

People not from the south wonder what it will take for southerners to unscrew their heads from their asses on this thorny subject, why they can't just admit what everyone knows -- that the Civil War really was about slavery, and that slavery was and is a stain on this nation's soul. The South's greatest writer famously noted that the past is never over, nor even past, and that's part of it.

But it's also the inability of the remaining crackers to just admit these things to themselves, much less to outside observers. This refusal to acknowledge obvious historical facts -- facts corroborated by the papers of the Confederacy itself -- produces a condition where their backs are just instinctively up on this subject. It's not hard to see why -- to acknowledge the atrocity is to admit complicity, in a way, because they've so stridently defended the excesses and symbols all this time.

I don't think there's anything to talk them into or out of, all we can do is make sure to call "bullshit" when it's uttered.

[Update 6/30 1:37 PDT:  Also, too. If even half of what's alleged there is true, Deen and her goon brother deserve exactly what they're getting, and worse.]

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Crime and Dumbishment

You know, I was going to sarcastically/rhetorically ask if Aaron Hernandez is, like, borderline retarded or what, having pulled off the easiest-to-solve crime since a herd of goats all suddenly had Louie Gohmert's DNA on them.

But then I recalled, "Oh yeah, Hernandez was a Gator, and a teammate of Tebow's at that!" Which automatically makes him the sort of guy who needs mnemonic devices to get his underwear on in the right direction. Brown in back, yellow in front, and all that.

Seriously though, you read the breakdown of this crime, and the trail of breadcrumbs and derp left for the cops to follow, and you come away wondering if Hernandez, or anyone in his Connecticut onionhead posse, ever even heard of Law & Order, or CSI, or fucking Mannix for chrissake. It's as if these people have never seen a movie or teevee show or read a goddamned crime novel, like ever. No, let's all text each other, and go pick up this poor cuss at 2:30 AM with his sister watching, and take him back to where there's a bunch of fucking surveillance cameras. Because no one tracks phone calls or films shit anymore, amirite?

And this was in Bahhhston, did a terrorist incident happen there just weeks ago that was tracked and solved within hours, or did we all fucking dream it?

Jesus, and people give Tebow a hard time about shit. Tell you this right now, folks -- there's no fucking way Tebow isn't at least 50 IQ points ahead of a drooling moron like Hernandez. Cops live for stupid criminals, because they make the job that much easier. Hernandez just made their year.

And from the football side of things, I've been watching the game pretty regularly for going on 40 years now, and I don't know if I've ever seen such a radical reversal of fortune hit a team so suddenly. This time last year, the Patsies had a dream tandem of tight ends in Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, had dumped a ton of money on both to compensate them for their all-world stats, and looked set at the position for years to come.

Now Gronkowski is coming off of his fifth surgery in the last eight months, has a steel plate holding his forearm together (that had to have an infection cleared out of it), and now his back's jacked up. And Hernandez' terminal case of the stoopids looks to have him incarcerated for the next 20 to life.

Which leaves the Patsies with a bunch of scrubs and Tebow as their best options at TE. If someone wrote any of this in a movie script, it would be rejected as bullshit.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Brief Book Pimp

Your weekly reminder -- if you haven't already, check out my books. If you subscribe to Amazon Prime, you can borrow any of them for free (and I still get paid).

The next two guitar books are scheduled to drop on July 4th, and we'll have a free download weekend for both books from July 4-7. Here's a sneak preview of one of them.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Friendly Reminder

"You name me an institution in American society, I'll show you where it basically betrayed the people they're supposed to serve...."
 


Watch this, then watch the other two parts, then watch them all again. Don't say you weren't warned.

Excuses for Psychopaths

Look, let's call a spade an entrenching implement, shall we? The idea of globalization is perfectly fine and makes sense, in practice it's hosed a lot of hard-working families to enrich a few people who already had plenty of money. The 1% have made it perfectly clear that they give less than one-hundredth of a fuck about the peons, and all the contorting to defend their hoarding is just, well, sad.

Worse yet, it's mathematically unsustainable.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Proof of No Karma

As always, we should all fervently hope that these morons get exactly the society they wish for, lose their pensions and learn to live on cat food.

It Gets Butter

There's a little bit of schadenfreude in watching Paula Deen's (literal) gravy train with Krispy Kreme wheels get derailed by her ignorant (again literal) piehole. Offhand, I'd say her greater crime against humanity is finding newer, grosser ways to poison them with a toxic effluence of saturated fats, but that's me.

Anyway, for those of you not porking yourselves into a diabetic coma washing down donut sandwiches with 64-ounce Big Gulps, let's cut the shit. Deen's casual racism is certainly off-putting and revelatory, and will stall her career for a few weeks until Roger Ailes gives her a blank check to clog America's arteries once more from the safe confines of Steve Doocy's assholeFox and Friends.

But there's a difference between a jackass and a scumbag. Deen is a jackass; these people are scumbags. We used to be able to tell ourselves that racism would finally die off when mossbacks like George Wallace finally shuffled off to hell, then it was when the smiling ofay raised-that-way dipshits like Deen were gone. But you can see from the links that the majority of the twittards appear to be in their twenties, maybe thirties. We're stuck with these cocksuckers.

Or not. As America gets younger, poorer, and browner, these bozos are going to have to get with the program; that world will be a lot less forgiving of their overprivileged white asses venting their imaginary grievances. People used to (hell, still try to) defend this stuff with half-assed nonsense like "it's the southuhn cultcha" or "that's the time and place they came from." Give me a fucking break. Paula Deen is sixty-damn-six years old; exactly how old do you need to be to figure out that slavery-themed weddings and "sambo burgers" are fucked up?

It all stems from the inability of (a preponderance of, not all) southerners to let go of their lost cause mythos, and drop their finger-in-the-eye-of-yer-political-cureckniss bullshit. Get over it. You were wrong. You lost. You deserved to fucking lose. Also, too, it was 150 years ago.

As they like to say in the south, you can't fix stupid. All you can do is stand back and watch things fix themselves, and when the oaf inevitably pulls the vending machine on himself, chalk it up to evolution winning out at long last.

James Gandolfini

I happened to catch the awful news about James Gandolfini just minutes after it hit the news outlets, and thought for a split second about jumping on the instant "oh noez!" wagon. But more and more I'm coming to appreciate the value of "slow news", in correlation with "slow food."

Really, as dysfunctional as Americans' relationship with their food is, the news is so much worse, as it is compelled to fill every fucking moment with whatever's there, which usually ain't a whole lot, unless endless iterations of the same goddamned thing punches your ticket. Sometimes, we need to take a few minutes and let news -- good or bad -- sink in.

Anyway, Gandolfini. As a huge fan of The Sopranos, and of Gandolfini (even before Sopranos; his bit part in True Romance stood out in a movie full of wonderful small parts), it's always a horrible thing for someone of such talent to be cut down in their prime. And if half of the "nice guy" encomia are remotely true -- and I'm sure they are --  then it's also the loss of a working-class dog, a regular guy uncomfortable with the irregularity his status granted him. You can never have too many people like that.

It's not an exaggeration to say that the success of The Sopranos changed the face of television. In a pustulent wasteland of "reality" diarrhea gravitating to every low nook and crevice of the people's airwaves, never to be completely rinsed out, there are diamonds to be found, rich story arcs populated by vivid, complex characters and compelling scenarios.

You definitely have no Boardwalk Empire or Mad Men without Sopranos, as they were created by folks who got their pedigree on David Chase's watch. But you probably also don't have the rest of the quality basic cable stable:  Breaking Bad, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, the late great Southland. Hell, anything good that's come on HBO since Sopranos probably owes at least part of its existence to the success of that show; HBO had foundered after Larry Sanders closed shop and needed something to boost its stock. Instead it captured lightning in a bottle, a sprawling, rambunctious mob epic with heart and grit and a stellar ensemble cast.

But every ensemble needs its gravitational force, and that was Gandolfini to a T, at turns charming and menacing, communicating subtleties of character with a cold glint of the eye and a slight Doberman grin. I always felt that Sopranos was the funniest show of its era, still do. It was the darkest of humor, but hilarious all the same, and much of that was due to Gandolfini's tremendous timing and facial cues.

I recall reading once that Chase originally wanted DeNiro for the role of Tony Soprano, and as great as DeNiro is, Gandolfini used is bulk to inhabit the character and make it larger than life. Where DeNiro is almost catlike in his presence, stealthy and clever, but not physically overpowering, Gandolfini made Tony more like a bear, pleasant one moment, imminently dangerous the next. Like Michael Chiklis in The Shield, Gandolfini was a force of nature in his signature role, compelling and unstoppable.

So there ya go. It's not hyperbole -- James Gandolfini really did change teevee in this new millennium, helped create a redoubt for quality, storytelling, and acting as a true craft. That he was apparently a great person as well is icing on the cake. Gone far too soon. Go rent True Romance, which is just a great movie from front to back anyway, and check out Gandolfini's interview with James Lipton.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Into the Void

Whether your a Belieber, or even just a Biebnostic, you have to appreciate the symbolic heft of launching the little turd into outer space. If they can load Kim and Kanye and the rest of the Kardoushian klan on the one-way rocket ship into the sun, it would be a start.

At the very least, Harvey Levin would have to find other, hairier legs to hump.

Book Pimping for Fun and Profit

And now for a brief word from our sponsor (that, uh, that would be me):

If you like books about politics (and you haven't already obtained copies), check out my two political tomes from earlier this year, Mockalypse, and its Kindle Single excerpt, 12 in '12. These are fine additions to any thoughtful person's collection of polisnark (patent pending), and will enhance your profile among strangers and passersby. There is a possibility that we'll do another couple books reliving the magic of this misbegotten year, so stay tuned for December.

(And if you have obtained copies of these books, please take two minutes and leave a review on the page. It really does help.)

If you play guitar, or have thought about picking up the guitar, or just think that noisy phallic devices of wire and wood are totally boss, check out my awesome guitar books, Practice Power and Climbing the K2. The first book, as the title implies, adds power to your practicing, by giving you strategies and tips to save you time and get more out of the time you do put into it. K2 takes the classic Kreutzer Etude #2 (heard in modern times namechecked in Van Halen's Eruption), and provides analysis and theory, as well as lots of exercises based on the material that will add technique and theory while you play.

Sure, you could sit and read a textbook and learn by rote your Picardy thirds and triadic arpeggio sequences and such like, but who the hell wants to do that? You picked up the guitar to play it, not read about playing it. The concept behind Climbing the K2 is that you can seriously train your ears, eyes, brain, and fingers simultaneously, have fun doing it, and actually save tons of practice hours down the road. Amaze your friends and impress your neighbors with your terrifying classical chops, right here right now, for waaaay less than the cost of a single guitar lesson.

Also, too, I have four more music books in the works, and should have two of them ready to roll by the 4th of July [fingers are writing a check that my ass can't cash]. We'll kick off the holiday weekend with a free promo campaign; naturally, your support will be kindly appreciated. More details to come over the next couple weeks.

Sundays, at least until football season, are going to feature promotions and exhortations to download and leave reviews and spread the word and all that, amidst all the actual nutritious content you've come to expect from The Hammer. Thanks in advance for all your support.

Oculingus

Not to make too much of a meaningless trend, or to get too misanthropic, but I kinda hope that the fear-mongering over the "trend" in eyeball-licking is real, that it really could cause eye herpes and blindness. The planet is overcrowded enough as it is, and can't start shedding morons too soon. Twenty or thirty years ago, these idiots would have been pulling vending machines on themselves, or riding shopping carts down steep flights of concrete stairs.

Dicko Uncheneyed

I think it's just swell that there might still be someone out there who still gives a shit about Dick Cheney's opinion on anything.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Public Service Announcement; Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Debt Bomb

We all know this fact intuitively, but it still bears repeating and reminding ad nauseam -- all debt, whether it's your own personal household debt, or the debt incurred by your municipality, county, state, whatever, is someone else's equity. Just keep that in mind at all times when observing how the Masters of the Universe continue to find creative ways to rejigger the usury on their 30:1 leveraged derivatives on assets that frequently don't exist in the first place.

When they talk about "solvency," what they really mean is making goddamned sure that you and your kids and your grandkids and so on remain on the hook to paying them in perpetuity to the value they removed from your economy to hoard offshore. This is an important point, since the banksters' plaint is that they are worth the pelf they accrue, because of the value they add. But the only value added goes to directly to them, and comes out of everyone else's hide.

This is not politics, especially since they rent both parties. It's just math. It's simple -- if you have debt, the entity whose equity your debt affects has a vested interest in keeping your dumb ass on their balance sheet as long as possible. This is what I mean when I talk about "debt peonage" and "wage slavery," which are mutually reinforcing phrases.

If you make just enough money to get by, but never ahead -- as the majority of Americans do -- then you are on the hook forever, unless you're smart and lucky, and design the next hot app or whatever. Hard work alone will not do it anymore; there are plenty of folks out there busting ass at two or three pud jobs, who will never get off the hamster wheel.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Twitler Youth

Hey, there's a newsflash -- douchebags breed more douchebags. The upside is that there are very few avenues in the real world when your name is "Tanner Flake." No doubt young Flake plans to either inherit daddy's desert throne, or leverage the connections into the usual bullshit sinecure, some rich asshole do-nothing "job" lecturing the poorz on their stoopid laziness, in between golf junkets and circle-jerk "conferences."

If there is any such thing as karma -- and we all know there isn't -- these two closet cases will end up infamous on Ryan Lochte's reality show as slightlyeven dumber wingmen, ending up a long, drunken, futile night of poon-chasing in each other's arms. Either way, these little fucktards are as good an argument for term limits as any.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rebel Rebel

Just a reminder that, as far as which side to take in the Syrian civil war, that we don't know what we're doing, and aren't going to know. It's assholes versus monsters, and if your only response is "whatever keeps gas prices lower" then you're merely an accomplice.

And of course Syria is not a big oil country, but their major benefactor, Iran, is. They'd love nothing more than to lure us into some bullshit proxy war in the Syrian desert, watch us chase our tails for another decade or so. If we want to do something about this, about petrocratic dictators and theocratic bastards, then support alternative energy. Stop bitching about Solyndra and support ten more Solyndras, and wind farms, and anything else (short of pumping chemicals into aquifers and undermining substrata) that minimizes the guzzling of oil.

The best way to defeat desert despots and Islamist thugs murdering children for no goddamned reason at all is to simply starve them, make it so you no longer need to buy the one thing of value they produce.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Patriot Games

Bill Belichick continues his free-agent dumpster-diving to pick up BSPN totem Tim Tebow, primarily because the Patsies' two stud tight ends got seriously banged up last year (Gronkowski just had his fourth forearm surgery in about seven months, from an injury sustained running up the score on the Colts, so karma), and hybrid TE/H-back is probably where Tebow's real skill set lies.

All that said, the longer Tebow is in uniform, the longer it'll be before some moneybags buys him a congressional seat in the Florida Panhandle.

It Was the Beast of Times, It Was the Wurst of Times

With the "revelations" about the NSA's domestic spying program, helpfully provided by a private contractor because outsourcing rulez, I suppose most of us find ourselves on a particular fence. On the one hand duh, this is a confirmation more than anything else, certainly not informing any sentient being of something they didn't already know or at least presume.

And in a nation of chronic over-sharers, where the Fourth Amendment is just a hazy memory, is this really a massive transgression? Is this going to make Chat Rouletters self-conscious, worried that the gubmint might be looking on them rabidly masturbating with a stranger?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but they can build all the zettabyte storage hives out in the Utah desert that they want, and it's still just a massive garage. There is simply too much data, too many emails, phone calls, what have you, to randomly sift through. It's all search algorithms and tracking (and retroactively tracking) known entities.

You want a career tip, kids? Come up with a slightly better automated regression analysis tool that can work through these ginormous data backloads, and sell massive contracts for the licensing to that software to Big Brutha. You're welcome.

On the other hand....well, where to start? Even his supporters no longer consider Obama any sort of transformative figure, merely a perfidious, mediocre bulwark against much more transgressive opponents. But elected -- even in a bullshit election -- representatives typically reflect their constituencies. So one might safely assume that a bored, intellectually lazy populace that mouths pieties about "privacy" and "rights", but really wants daddy to do "whatever it takes" and not tell them about it, will sooner or later park another venal Dick Cheney type at the levers of power and unaccountability.

All of the things "purist" liberals have castigated Obama over -- drones, IRS searches, now this -- have been underpinned by this very real concern, that a less reliable character gets in, with all these nifty superpowers at his disposal. Obama, as a con-law-prof, knows this better than anyone, that these powers he arrogates unto himself will at some point pass to a psycho or an idiot or an asshole, with no checks or balances to offset clear precedents.

This is part of the current design of the system, though, a center-right party either mewling ineffectively against their far-right opponents, or acting in cahoots with them, and getting away with it because their captive-market supporters are sufficiently cowed by the utter insanity of the far-righters. Yet they are operationally more alike than different; on issues that actually affect your life in a day-to-day respect, they are nearly identical, as a clear majority of 'murkins are never going to marry someone of the same gender or seek an abortion.

It is not a coincidence or a mistake that "both" parties share major donors, some of whom have a vested interest in seeing the impending health care "reform" changes get diluted even more, since having the foxes write henhouse legislation in the first place just wasn't quite enough. Once the talking heads are done huffing and puffing their manufactured outrage, get ready for a fall season of "scandal fatigue" stories, the better to soften up the constituencies for the rentier class to call in their chips on their congresscritters.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Killing In the Name of....

You know, if we're talking about areas where it might just be okey-doke to deploy us some killbots, these assholes might be an excellent place to check out. I mean, fuck them, like right in the neck. Seriously, let's drone us some poachers, shall we? I care less than a goddamn about the impoverishment of their situation; you know, it is actually possible these days to not have kids every time you have teh sexy timez, knaamsayin?

As for the demand side, don't want to be a cultural imperialist, but ah, what the fuckety-fuck is it with the Chinese? Are they just not going to be happy until they exterminate every elephant, tiger, rhino, shark, and whatever else they think will keep their tiny dicks hard? Jesus H. Christ, let's just donate a few pallets of Viagra already.

Certainly Americans have been criminally indifferent in the past to the plight and endangerment of many species, but this is insane. Yes, the idea of "charismatic megafauna" is subjective, but I think we all understand the ramifications of soups made of tiger penises or shark fins, or powdered rhino horns, or ivory trinkets for social-climbing assholes. Perhaps it's an economy of scale rather than culture, in that 1 in 3 humans are in China or India, so even a fraction of a percentage point translates into big kill numbers.

Whatever. Here's your internets curse, assholes -- if you've ever sought potency or luck from the by-product of a species that everyone knows is grievously endangered, may all forms of misfortune befall you, your family, your penis, anything and everything you hold dear. Rot in hell already.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Praise the Lowered

It would be all too easy to characterize this assertion that yoga leads to satanism as exactly the sort of extremist ankle-biting buffoonery that should be ridiculed. And it probably should be ridiculed.

But the thing is, when mainstream American Christianity is considered not as a system of spiritual thought and reflection, but as a uniquely political business model, it makes more sense, and is in fact intellectually consistent from E. W. Jackson's point of view. And why not? The spiritual component of yoga, at least as far as I've read of it, seems to revolve around clearing the mind, eliminating as much clutter as possible, freeing oneself of pre- and misconceptions about anything and everything, observing what (if anything) remains. It is not at all about hewing to a particular doxology, but rather about putting the individual into a spiritually and intellectually clear position to determine their own path. That and some stretching and pose-holding for physical conditioning.

Jackson's disciplined megachurch brand of Christianity, on the other hand, is the diametric opposite -- surrender and obedience are emphasized, not to the Gnostic ideal of finding the spirit within and without, but only to the selectively vengeful sky-daddy the pastors prescribe to their faithful flocks. The idea of opening one's mind in order to experience perception unfiltered and unchanged is heresy to them. To us godless hedonistic sybarites, the whole thing comes across as a big [makes overt "jerkoff" hand motion]. I mean, what is the deal with these goofballs, amirite?

But by the rules and logic they have already put forth in their dogma, they're correct in their assertions. Say what you will about these people, but they don't deal in ambiguities. There's not a lot of room for interpretation. And the most ironclad rule they have is that the deity, infallible in his wisdom, has made himself clear on what his expectations are. Asking questions or clearing one's head with eight-armed eastern claptrap is worse than unnecessary, it's sedition bordering on treason. When one's rules are absolute, extreme logic on contrary opinions and positions is entirely expected.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Arbeit Macht Foxx

Speaking as someone who bought into the false promises of the higher-ed racket hook, line, and sinker, and who basically works a second, unpaid side job trying to get extra money to pay down college loans (since that, uh, supposed MBA salary average ain't happening), I sincerely hope that when the inevitable economic collapse comes a-calling again, Virginia Foxx spends her final years living on cat food. The older I get, the more I work, and the more I read and try to create opportunities for myself. I drive a 20-year-old vehicle and haven't taken a real vacation in years. And I'm sick and goddamned tired of these self-righteous assholes with their assumptions about why some succeed wildly and some don't.

I got news for ya, Grandma -- it ain't always because dumb and lazy. Sometimes life is luck, and sometimes that luck isn't what it "should" be.

Remember that, your poor saps -- pick better parents next time.

[via Decline of the Empire]

Golden Rule, Golden Shower

Shorter Wall Street:  If the eeeevil, sociamalist-run gubmint doesn't continue to subsidize our institutionalized usury / bookmaking operation, we'll just go ahead and fuck up the economy again with a round of corrective profit-taking.

Get bent, America.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Bachmann Quitter Overdrive

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -- Frank Zappa

Barely six months into her latest term from the state of Gerrymander, teabagger cupcake Mickey Bachmann has decided to shift gears on her career in shit shoveling, just as a cloud of finance investigations regarding her doomed (but hilarious) presidential campaign starts closing in. Would it be irresponsible to speculate? It would be irresponsible not to.

Unfortunately for women-in-prison movie aficionados, Mickey is unlikely to end up the big house. Chances are, she'll do just fine on the wingnut rubber-chicken circuit, peddling tales of woe and persecution. That and lobbying, the pestilential carbuncle on the prolapsed rectum of American politics. Plus her husband can keep grifting the health-care racket for curing gays. You can't parody these people anymore, seriously.

Not that it matters hugely; even if Bachmann is replaced by a librul Democrat, what then? More gutless incrementalism, spineless compromise, punting on first down, yada yada. There's no "mission accomplished" here, just a change in marching orders, at best a slightly less malevolent, cartoonish presence in an endless field of competing fnords.

Battlefield Afterbirth

Not to read much of anything into this, just amusing anecdata passing through, but which is more hilarious:  that the Fresh Prince's cobbled together, Shamalama-dingdong-directed CGI hoke-fest is transparently a $cientology home movie, only slightly less tedious and preposterous than Battlefield Earth; or that huge chunks of the comment thread at The Hollywood Reporter read like a Stormfront recruitment ad?

Well, we can just say that they're both hilarious in their own right, but not so much as what is apparently the central premise of this vanity project cum video game -- that humans abandoned Earth 1,000 years ago, and since that time, predatory species have evolved to kill humans. Yes, ladles and spoons, multiple species evolve specifically to eliminate another species that disappeared. Oh, and it gets deadly cold at night, and the air is only partially breathable by humans, yet mammals and jungle flora proliferate. Science!