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Saturday, January 26, 2013

If The Constitution Was Written Today

This post first appeared on Stonekettle Station on June 12, 2011.

Since the reelection of a certain dark skinned gentleman and the start of the most recent gun debate, I’ve seen a massive uptick in web searches for rewriting the US Constitution so as to make Christianity a specific requirement for citizenship, gun ownership an explicit right granted directly from Jesus, force the removal of a certain undesirable segment of the population who likes to hug bunnies and eat tofu, and install a Genuine American in the White House.

This trend both amuses and appalls me.

I try to avoid recycling too many posts, especially the humor ones, but this bit seems like it might be worth updating. Rather than repost it, I’ve made a few changes and moved it to the front of the blog timeline complete with the original comments. //Jim


The Constitution of the United States of AWESOME!!!!!
Version 2, 2013

The Preamble

We the PATRIOTIC naturally born CHRISTIAN conservative ENGLISH speaking patriots of the awesomely exceptional GOD blessed United States of Awesome!!!! … in Order to form a bunch of states that have their own laws and do whatever the hell they want without regard to a central government (but in no way resemble that sissy European Union) … establish JUSTICE for people who look and think just like us … insure domestic Tranquility by deporting all the people we don’t like … provide for the common defense contractor, eliminate any and all social programs, and secure the Blessings of JESUS and Wall Street unto our exceptional selves and to hell with wussy future generations, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of By GOD America!!!!

Alternatively, instead of this preamble, Americans may just misquote a bunch of random stuff from the Declaration of Independence and/or made-up quotes attributed to Ben Franklin that they find on the Internet.

Amen.

The Middle Part

(That Nobody Reads Anyway Except for Stupid Liberal Judges who hate AMERICA)

The Government of the United States of AWESOME will be made up of three parts: The President, Jesus … and some other stuff.

The President must be a born again white guy from TEXAS or OHIO who believes in JESUS!!! and can trace his ancestry back to the Mayflower … he should have some kind of law degree but not from one of those fancy elitist colleges full of stinky Liberals who hate America, he must be a man of the people whose family lives in some kind of “compound” or “Estate” and owns at least one major defense contractor or a bank, he must have started his own Fortune 500 hundred company, served in war or have a minimum of two draft deferments, was an astronaut or fighter jock, was director of the CIA, a former governor, is an ordained Baptist minister, and can leap over tall buildings in a single bound, also he should be humble too. Also, he must believe in JESUS!!!!! Also he should have gray hair, but the distinguished kind of gray not that creepy old guy gray, and he should be tall but not freakishly so, he should always wear a little flag pin on his lapel and he should be able to JUGGLE or do a funny dance at BBQ’s. Also he should own a boat or a baseball team. Also, his wife should be HOT and love AMERICA and hate Muslims and eat meat and pie (NO Salad!). Also she should be HOT, like cheerleader hot and have a girl job (No LAWYERS!) like making brownies and babies and stuff like that.

Congress should work for free and PRAY a lot … Also they should call each voter (but not during dinner or the game) and ask how to vote on each bill! They should make laws and speeches and stuff that makes JOBS but no taxes or regulations. Also we should have like, roads and airports and big wall across Mexico and some stuff like that, and it shouldn’t cost us anything because it’s, like, PATRIOTIC.

Judges should always pray to the Ten Commandments before making any ruling!!!!!!

We should have a big honking military made up totally of Navy SEALS and MARINES and Stealth Bombers who blow up brown people and go around saving the world … Also, Soldiers must either die heroically or come home perfectly OK and go to work in a car factory so that they don’t cost us anything and we don’t have to listen to that sissy liberal crap about how we owe them VA benefits and shit! They get a parade, that’s all the Greatest Generation got and they were GRATEFUL and totally humble and not all screwed up … Also, they should keep their uniforms and put them on and march in 4th of July Day Parades and be AWESOME, and then never mention their service for the rest of the year because that makes us feel guilty about how we spent all of Vietnam serving in the Young Republican 82nd Draft Deferment Brigade of Patriotic Americans For Patriotism.

Screw cholesterol!!!!!

Also, we officially hate France, homosexuals … and Al Gore…

That’s pretty much it. The states will take care of everything else because STATE governments are super awesome and always do exactly what we say in a totally AWESOME manner that we approve of….

The Bill of Righteousness:

1. Right: Guns, Jesus!!!! plus Guns. And Jesus. Also, guns that fire Jesus bullets.

2. Wrong: Brown People, Red People, Yellow People, Poor People, Homeless People, Gay People, Female People, Foreign People, Handicapped People, Hungry People, Sick People, Liberal People, Moderate People, Progressive People, People Who Don’t Love Jesus, People Who Drive Too Slow In the Fast Lane, Electric Cars, Tofu, and the French.

This Constitution is perfect and totally AWESOME and always will be for all generations, forever. Period. Americans will consider this document holy writ handed down directly from GOD to Moses who gave it directly to Thomas Jefferson personally. Jesus then blessed Ben Franklin’s Glock and told him that all REAL Americans have the inalienable right from their AWESOME creator (GOD!) to rise up in armed rebellion against the government any time they feel scared by black people. Or Latinos. Or Liberals. Basically, whenever, because TRUE Americans love America enough to blow it up and live in a bunker. That’s freedom! All true Americans are born with complete knowledge of the Constitution printed on their brain directly by Jesus and anybody who disagrees is a filthy beret wearing communist homosexual who probably drives a Prius and eats tofu made from aborted Babies. Also, Nazis.

Signed,

John AWESOME Hancock.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Changes to Commenting

Stonekettle Station has become the target of botnet spammers.

This is annoying but not particularly surprising. The blog’s readership has increased dramatically in recent years.  Most of my posts get linked to on various social media sites and Stonekettle Station routinely appears in top search results for various subjects.

I suppose, given the nature of the internet, it was inevitable I’d attract the spammers sooner or later.

I also have reason to suspect that a certain amount of this crap was recently aimed in my direction by people who don’t like what I have to say. 

At first it was mostly annoying, but over the last few weeks managing the increasing amount of automated comment spam is taking up more and more of my time.  Today for example, I’ve had more than a hundred and twenty attempts by botnet controlled computers trying to attach spam comments to various posts.  The most recent gun control essay is being hit repeatedly every fifteen minutes.

Frankly I’m sick of dealing with it.

Managing comment trollage is enough of a headache (especially on topics like gun control) without wading through steaming piles of spam too.

At this point I have three options for dealing with this crap, 1) I can just say to hell with it and allow the spam to post, or 2) I can turn off anonymous commenting and require every commenter to have a valid web ID, either a Google Account or one of the various OpenID’s, or 3) I can turn on word verification and make commenters prove their humanity.

I think you know me well enough that it will come as no surprise to learn that I’ll end up on Dancing with Stars as Bristol Palin’s Man Doll before I allow these obnoxious cockroaches to shit all over my site.  Spamming should be a hanging offense and the world would be a better place if we hunted these sons of bitches down and stretched their necks until their eyes popped out.  There’s no damned way I’ll allow this crap to post, period. That’s non-negotiable.

I think forcing people to register for a Google account or other ID is a bit obnoxious, though I am considering it since it’s likely to cut down on the anonymous trollage. It never ceases to amaze me how anonymity brings out the utter assholerly in certain people. However, turning off anonymous commenting is likely to impact a number of regular commenters, I’m loath to remove the option just to save myself some aggravation.

So, that leaves word verification.

The changes should take effect immediately.


And on a related note: For the love of Cthulhu, Folks, if you don’t have a good up-to-date firewall and virus protection, you’re part of the problem. There’s no excuse for this. You don’t belong connected to the internet without protection. Period. And don’t give me this crap about how you’ve got a Mac or Linux Box or you’re running an old Commodore 64 so you don’t need no stinkin’ protection. You do.  Infected computers aren’t just your problem, they affect everybody on the internet. Infected computers can be hijacked and become zombies without the owner even knowing. Zombie computers, i.e. those infected with certain types of malware, are the source of nearly all the spam and the other harmful crap that clogs the internet and robs us all of time and money and bandwidth every single day. If you’re operating an unprotected computer, you’re a major part of the problem.  So don’t be.

Likewise, if you’re the kind of chowderhead that actually clicks on spam links in blog comments or in email, then you’re a menace. Listen, it’s time somebody told you this, those hot babes that want to have sex with you? Yeah, those are dudes. Russian mafia dudes. Now, truthfully, they will screw you, but you won’t like it.  Also,that nice Christian lady in Nigeria that wants you to help her steal millions in oil money for the children? Yeah, that’s a dude too. A fourteen year old con artist in a Freetown internet cafĂ©. it’s a scam. Repeat, it’s a scam. Stop. Clicking. On. The. Links. Stop it. Stop it right now. You’re screwing up the internet for everybody else. Knock it off.

If you don’t understand that computer stuff then educate yourself, do it now.

There’s plenty of information available and if you can find this site, you can certainly find time to educate yourself and protect your machine.

Thank you and please, feel free to check out my website: Free Solid Gold Rolex Watches Guaranteed To Enlarge Your Man Gadget By A Full Meter and make it whistle the Star Spangled Banner!

 

 


 

Update: 

With word verification enabled, the spam stopped immediately. 

Honestly, after weeks of this noise, the sudden cessation is awesome covered in awesome sauce with little awesome sprinkles on top.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bang Bang Crazy, Part Five

The first four parts of this essay are here:
Bang Bang Crazy, Part One
Bang Bang Crazy, Part Two
Bang Bang Crazy, Part Three
Bang Bang Crazy, Part Four

 


 

“The thing that so angers me, and I think so angers you, is that this president is using children as a human shield to advance a very liberal agenda that will do nothing to protect them…’’

That was State Representative, Steve Toth, speaking to a crowd of torch and pitchfork waving Texans on Saturday in Austin.

Toth was, of course, referring to President Obama’s push for stricter gun control in the wake of recent gun violence across the United States.

Toth says the president is using children as human shields.

Human shields.

We’ll come back to that.

Toth was speaking at a rally promoted as part of “Guns Across America” and “National Gun Appreciation Day.”

Guns across America.

National gun appreciation day.

 

I”ll pause for a moment so you can think about how goddamned insane that is.

 

National Gun Appreciation Day?

Seriously?

I’m a gun owner. I might appreciate the fine engineering or the craftsmanship that goes into making a precision machine, but that’s not what we’re talking about here, is it? Honestly, gun appreciation day? I might allow that given human nature, guns are a necessary evil or even that they are a tool for performing certain actions, but gun appreciation day? Are you kidding me?

Who the hell thinks like this? Outside a mental institution, I mean.

Banners at the Austin rally proclaimed “An Armed Society is a Polite Society,’’ ‘'The Second Amendment Comes from God’’ and ‘‘Hey King O., I'm keeping my guns and my religion.’’

An armed society is a polite society?

Bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit. Provable bullshit.  I can show you armed societies, truly armed societies, we’ll start in Iraq and work our way around to Somalia via the Mexican drug corridors through gangbanger territory in Los Angeles.  Universally armed societies are emphatically not polite. And don’t we Americans make fun of comparatively unarmed societies (compared to us) such as France and Great Britain for their politeness?  Canadians are so polite that it’s damned near a clichĂ©, and yet somehow their easy going nature doesn’t seem to be at the muzzle of a gun. 

If armed societies are polite societies, how do you explain Texas?

An armed society is a polite society?

What’s the logic here? Be polite, say please and thank you while kissing my ass or I’ll blow your brains out?  Politeness at gunpoint is neither politeness nor a society. And let’s be honest here, do you really – and I mean really – want to live in a society where social interaction is enforced by the threat of deadly violence? Really? Welcome to Kuwait.  Welcome to Saudi Arabia.  Welcome to Feudal Japan. What’s next? Do we bring back dueling?

I call Shenanigans.

And the Second Amendment comes from God?

Again, bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. And bullshit

How many damned times do we have to go over this? The Constitution is an agreement between human beings, it is a template for government, a basis for law. God doesn’t get a vote. God has not one damned thing to do with either the Second Amendment or any other part of the Constitution. I don’t care if you don’t like it. Too bad for you, you want to live where God makes the laws? Then move to Iran. In the US, God stays on his side of the room and the Constitution stays on the other.  Anybody who doesn’t understand the difference between supposed natural rights (the so-called “God given” rights of the Declaration of Independence) and the manmade legal rights of the Constitution needs to stop waving their guns and bibles and go back to school – preferably one outside of Texas.  The Second Amendment does not come from God, not your god, not anybody’s god. There’s no basis for this statement, not in the Constitution, not in law, not in the Federalist Papers, not in made up quotes from Thomas Jefferson, not in the bible. It’s bullshit, utter and total bullshit, and serves only to demonstrate a profound and staggering ignorance.

And there’s this: I’m keeping my guns and my religion.

Guns and religion.

It’s just me, right? Guns and religion. It’s getting so that I can’t tell extremist Christians from extremist Muslims. Honestly, from where I sit, all you crazy religious people look pretty much the same. Guns and religion. I wonder what Jesus would have to say about that? How in the hell do you get to guns and religion in the same sentence? Guns and religion, throw in a pickup truck, a keg of shitty beer, and an underage pregnant governor’s daughter and you’ve pretty much described the modern GOP, haven’t you? Can you people actually hear the words coming out of your mouths, did you read the banners you’re waving or did somebody else write them for you? Guns and religion?  In that order, no less. 

I’m not a Christian but I was raised in the church and I strongly suspect that Jesus would have bitch slapped the stupid right out of these people.

You know, and I’m just saying here, maybe there’s reason why you haven’t seen him in two thousand years.

Meanwhile, a bit further north, Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign went predictably ape-shit, and fired off a mass mailing like a runaway AR-15 with a filed down sear. The hysteria was almost palpable with dire warnings to Kentuckians that Obama was “coming for your guns!”

"You and I are literally surrounded. The gun-grabbers in the Senate are about to launch an all-out-assault on the Second Amendment. On your rights. On your freedom!"

That was McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton.

Oh no! We’re surrounded!

Surrounded by sissy pacifist liberals! Oh My God! What if they hand us flowers and start singing? Praise God and pass the ammunition! To arms! To arms!

Benton went on to say:

"Our Founders fought a revolution to secure our rights. They would have been appalled by what they heard from an American president the other day. President Obama has the left wing media in a frenzy. The gun-grabbers are in full battle mode. And they are serious."

You know, it’s funny. Whenever the President talks about jobs or the economy or the debt, Mitch McConnell immediately accuses him of not “being serious.” How many times have we heard that exact phrase in the last four years from Mitch McConnell? The president is not serious! Guns though, Mitch is willing to take Obama at his word on that, by God.

The president specifically said that he is not trying to infringe on the Second Amendment and that any significant changes to gun laws in the US would require congressional legislation. 

According to Mitch, liberals are in full battle mode. Conservatives, on the other hand, are in a full-on panic. For a bunch of people armed to the teeth, they sure are scared of a bunch of sissy unarmed gay liberals. It must be a hell of a way to go through life, pissing your pants all of the time. Funny thing, I thought Jesus was supposed to give you courage. But I digress.

Conservatives are losing their minds over the idea of executive action on Obama’s part, once again demonstrating a profound lack of understanding of the actual Constitution and how our government actually works. 

Executive orders only apply to the Executive Branch of Government. Obama can’t just make laws and issue orders, it doesn’t work that way. All executive action can do is enforce, or not, existing law – i.e. bills already created and passed by Congress, and signed into law by the President.

Now, last week, the president unveiled a legislative package which he urged Congress to pass in the wake of the Aurora and Newtown massacres. It includes a ban on assault weapons and armor piercing bullets and a 10-round limit on magazines.  Note that the president can’t out and out ban assault weapons, armor piercing ammunition, or restrict hi-cap magazines, those things require legislation.  Which is what he asked congress to think about. Obama isn’t acting like a dictator despite conservative hysteria, he’s acting like a president – and polls show that a majority of Americans want some kind of control over these weapons.

That’s the president’s job, to ask congress to look into it.

However, McConnell's message calls the president’s proposals a "thinly-veiled scheme,” and McConnell pledged that he will oppose not only legislation but executive actions as well.

The thing is, Mitch McConnell and other conservative lawmakers can’t legally oppose executive action – not without changing the law.

They’ve already given the president that power – it comes with the Oval Office.

If you don’t want this president to have the power, you shouldn’t have given it to the previous one.

And what, exactly are these executive actions that have Mitch McConnell and the gun-lobby pissing blood?

The Vice President's commission on gun violence recommended twenty-three executive actions.

Let’s look at them, shall we?

1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

Obama will order federal agencies, i.e. agencies responsible to the Executive, to provide personal data to the background check system. The background check system that is supposed to help keep guns out of the hands of crazy people and criminals, the system that the NRA claims they support. Yes, that background check system.  Why do Mitch McConnell and Congressional Republicans oppose this? No, really, why? There’s only one answer and it doesn’t include concern for keeping our kids from getting their brains blown out. Socialism! Socialism!

2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

Oh, no! Address unnecessary legal barriers? That keep the medical community from reporting mentally disturbed people to the background check system? What’s next? Communism! Communism!

3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

Wouldn’t want that, oh no! We all agree that the background check system is woefully incomplete, but we wouldn’t want to make an attempt to fix it, would we? What about state’s rights to allow crazy people to buy guns? What about that? Nazis! Nazis!

4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

Talk about executive overreach. Direct the AG to review who currently can and cannot buy a gun? Hitler!

5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

Boy, we sure wouldn’t want law enforcement to check the background of those released from arrest before returning their guns. No potential for domestic violence or mayhem there. Marxists!

6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

See, that’s what happened in Nazi Germany, sure. First they passed a law, then the government provided help and training in how to implement those laws at the street level. Next thing you know, they were herding gun owners into ovens.  Fascists!

7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

You can certainly see why the NRA would be opposed to this. Wouldn’t want safe and responsible gun owners. Totalitarianism!

8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

We have the Consumer Product Safety Commission review TV sets and Waffle Irons to make sure they don’t burn our houses down, but why would we want to know if those gun locks and safes actually work or not or are engineered to certain industry standards? Oh that Obama, what a dictator!

9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations. 10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement. 

I can’t even come up with a snarky response to 9 and 10. Really, why would you be opposed to this? Unless you’re a criminal. Oh, wait. Right. Never mind.

11. Nominate an ATF director.

For the last six years, that’s six years, Congress has refused to confirm an ATF director under either George Bush or Barrack Obama. Six years.  The ATF has fewer agents now than it did in 1970 and takes up to eight years between inspections of gun stores because of a lack of personnel. The agency is prohibited from creating a searchable computer database for gun ownership records and has been leaderless for six years. Six years. Because congressmen beholden to the gun industry won’t allow confirmation of an ATF director. Obama recently nominated B. Todd Jones to head up the agency, but Mitch McConnell has already signaled that republicans will not allow even a debate on his nomination, let alone a vote on his confirmation.  Six years, folks.

12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

Um, wasn’t this the NRA’s idea? So why is the NRA and Mitch McConnell opposed? I’m just asking here. Obama could say he was anti-abortion, and every one of these pinch-faced conservative assholes would suddenly be hauling their daughters down to Planned Parenthood for a D&C.  Who opposes proper training for first responders and law enforcement?

13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

Again, isn’t this a conservative idea? Get tough on crime? Or are they just for it when it’s a member of the Neighborhood Watch gunning down an unarmed black kid?

14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, isn’t that what the NRA has been telling us? But, really, we won’t want to know why people kill people, would we? Let’s see, conservatives won’t let us do anything about guns, but they don’t want us to do anything about the people who use guns to commit mass murder. Logically (if that word can be used in this context) it would appear that conservatives are ok with mass slaughter. Honestly, what are conservatives afraid of here? Think about that for a minute, it’ll come to you.

15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.

Boy, sure wouldn’t want the AG to issue a report! Oh no, not a report! Anything but a report.  We wouldn’t want to know about new gun safety technologies, or the challenges to implementing some of these things, or methods for helping the gun industry develop safer guns. We’re all about research that leads to the development of more deadly weapons and ammunition, but not safer guns.  What happens if the government helps gun makers produce safer weapons?  The government did that with cars and look what we ended up with, seat belts and air bags and anti-lock brakes! Communism! Communism! Nazis! Absolutism!

16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes. 17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

Sure wouldn’t want to know if somebody with murderous tendencies or clinical depression or mental issues has easy access to a gun.  Because, guns don’t kill people, people kill people, but people who might kill themselves or kill other people shouldn’t be asked if they have access to guns which don’t kill people.  Conservative logic, conservative tautology. Again, ask yourself what’s the real concern here.  Think about it. If crazy people aren’t allowed to have guns…

18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers. 19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.

Wasn’t hiring armed guards and putting police in schools the NRA’s idea? But now they’re against it? Maybe Obama should propose arming Latinos and black people, see how long it takes for conservatives to start screaming for gun control. And why would Mitch McConnell oppose schools and churches and colleges developing a plan to deal with emergencies?

20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover. 21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges. 22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations. 23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.

Now according to the gun nuts, it’s not the guns, it’s the crazy people. But they’re opposed to anything that might help keep crazy people from picking up a gun and killing other people.  The only option conservatives will support is the one where they get to carry guns so they can shoot crazy people with guns.

Obama proposed twenty-three executive actions. I’ve listed them all. Go read them again. Show me one, just one, proposed Executive Order that infringes on your Second Amendment rights in any way whatsoever. Just one. Go ahead.  I’ll wait.

James Yeager, mercenary, gun nut, raging conservative hard-on, said that he’d “start killing people” if Obama used executive orders to implement gun control. I guess he has to make good on that promise now, I looked at the news today but I don’t see that he’s gotten started yet. Probably still drinking shots of redneck courage. 

Read those twenty-three items and tell me which ones justify killing people.

In the meantime back at Gun Appreciation Day, five people were wounded in three different incidents at three different guns shows.

At the Dixie Gun and Knife Show in Raleigh, North Carolina, a gun “expert” managed to shoot three people “accidentally” at the show safety check-in booth

Seems he put a shotgun in his gun case, loaded and with a shell in the chamber, and it went off when he was taking it out of the case. What kind of moron puts a loaded gun in a gun case? Not only loaded but in battery?  And then he removes the gun from the case, knowing that it’s loaded (or more correctly assuming that it’s loaded as all properly trained gun handlers would do when picking up a weapon) but failing to maintain muzzle control and a clear line of fire should the weapon accidentally discharge. Who trained this idiot? Dick Cheney?

In Medina, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, another Rambo managed to shoot his business partner using a gun he’d just bought from a customer. 

Yes, that’s correct. This idiot was a gun dealer, he picked up a gun without checking to see if it was loaded, hell, he bought a gun without checking to see if it was loaded, waved it around without regard for where the muzzle was pointed, and shot the guy working next to him.  He was a gun dealer, a supposed genuine NRA expert.

At a gun show on the State Fair Grounds in Indianapolis, Indiana, another gun-toting chucklehead shot himself while reloading his gun in the parking lot.

Five people were wounded by so-called expert gun owners on Gun Appreciation Day.

You want these bleeding fools carrying loaded guns anywhere near you? You’re good with that? Fine, that’s on you, but I don’t want these idiots anywhere near me or mine. Period. I damned sure don’t want them near my kid, or yours.

And then, of course, down in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a fifteen year old teen took an assault rifle, an AR-15, and killed both of his parents and three of his siblings. Five people. Funny thing though, he was headed to Wal-Mart where he intended to continue the slaughter and die via suicide by cop. Instead he called a friend, who put him in contact with a church security guard, who talked the kid out of killing himself or anybody else. I said funny thing, I meant funny odd, see, the situation was resolved without guns, without shooting the kid down.  Some likely won’t see that as a good thing, but I do find it interesting.

One way or the other, it was a heck of Gun Appreciation Day, wasn’t it?

Especially if you appreciate irony.

Why is it that when storms and hurricanes and earthquakes ravage our society, conservatives say it’s a sign from God to change our ways. But when ten people are shot on Gun Appreciation Day, well, you know.  Nazis.

Hey, don’t get all pissy and start pointing your Assault Bible at me. I’m just asking. Guns and religion make my head hurt.

The thing that so angers me, and I think so angers you, is that this president is using children as a human shield to advance a very liberal agenda that will do nothing to protect them…

No, Representative Toth, it doesn’t anger me. What angers me are fear mongers like you. Hateful, paranoid, fearful little rabble rousers like you, that’s what angers me.  Frightened insecure gun nuts who can’t seem to differentiate between their dick and their pistol, that’s what angers me. The fact that when children are slaughtered in a riot of blood, when adults are killed in a hail of bullets, when Americans are gunned down on the streets of the United States every single day, the first thing people like you think of is to run out and buy more fucking guns. That’s what angers me, Congressman Toth.

I’ll tell you what really angers me, that fact that as a gun owner myself, as somebody who has owned and used and taught firearms for most of my adult life, I get lumped in with lunatics like you and the NRA, that’s what pisses me off more than anything else, Representative Toth.

And really human shields?

Human shields?

Seriously?

At least President Obama thinks of children as human.

Unlike Representative Toth and his friends down at the NRA who seem to regard kids as little more than pop-up targets.

 

The only thing Gun Appreciation Day did for me, was make me appreciate the fact that today America swore in a president and a vice president with the courage to face these idiots head on.

Go get them, Mr. President.

 

 


The first four parts of this essay are here:
Bang Bang Crazy, Part One
Bang Bang Crazy, Part Two
Bang Bang Crazy, Part Three
Bang Bang Crazy, Part Four

Related Essay written after the Aurora Massacre :

The Seven Stages of Gun Violence


The standard warning applies:   if you’re a first time reader and you don’t know me and you came here all ready to school my liberal America hatin’ tree hugging ass about guns, stop. Read Part One, read it all of the way through, especially that last paragraph, the part where I explain my background when it comes to guns. It’s very likely that I know far more about guns and their usage under combat condition than you will ever know.  It’s quite likely that I own more guns than you do. Read the commenting rules, heed and obey. If you feel that you can’t adhere to the admonishments set forth in this paragraph, then leave. Don’t comment, don’t email me with your NRA bullshit, just leave. This will be your one and only warning.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Apartness

“God is giving a plan I think to me that is not really a plan … the problem is that I think the plan that the Lord would have us follow is hard for people to understand. Because of my track record with you who have been here for a long time, because of my track record with you, I beg of you to help me get this message out and I beg of you to pray for clarity on my part.” Glenn Beck, “The Glenn Beck Program” April 20, 2010

 

First he told us that if we didn’t like it, we could just get out.

When it turned out that we weren’t moving to sissy Canadaland, he declared that he and his pals were going to take back “their” country.

He even held a big rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and proclaimed the restoration of America – in his image. 

Of course, it didn’t exactly pan out that way.

So now, rather than admit his assholery, rather than agree to live with the rest of us and stop acting the fool, Glenn Beck has announced plans to crawl into his own belly button.

 

Beck proposes to "go Galt" in the style of Atlas Shrugged.

 

Welcome to Independence, USA.

Independence, USA. It's a serious little community of stern faced libertarians, white picket fences, and a tidy little town square. A place where endless electricity falls like magic snow from the sky and the citizens walk about with pistols on their hip. Here in this Randian paradise there is no law, no government, no taxes, no crime, each man is a sovereign island unto himself, unfettered by the sucking socialist burden of civilization.

Think EPCOT Center crossed with Leave It To Beaver...

...if the Community of Tomorrow was built by Jim Jones instead of Walt Disney, and The Beav was the chain smoking bastard offspring of Ayn Rand and BoBo The Drooling Monkey Boy.

Glenn Beck announced earlier this week that he intends to found himself a new town, Independence, USA.  You’ve heard of a City-State? Think Bunker-State and you’ll be in the right ballpark, Independence will be part planned community, part theme park, part Colonial Williamsburg gets ass raped by the Creation Museum. Beck claims that it will be a community built on the “principles of the free market” where families can find “happiness, inspiration, courage, and hope.” According to Beck’s website, The Blaze:

Glenn believes that he can bring the heart and the spirit of Walt’s early Disneyland ideas into reality.

That rumbling sound you hear is Walt Disney’s frozen head spinning in its vat of liquid nitrogen deep in the secret vaults below Tomorrowland.

Beck goes on to say:

Independence, USA wouldn’t be about rides and merchandise, but would be about community and freedom…

So, it is like Disneyland after all, but without any of the fun stuff.

It’s not about rides and merchandise.

It’s about the principles of the free market – because Disney isn’t a giant free market money making machine designed to transmute little princess dreams into ingots of warm yellow capitalism.

It’s not about the merchandise. It’s not about the money.

This from a guy who has spent his entire career reducing the founding concepts of America down to little more than simpleminded marketing gimmicks that are the philosophical equivalent of mouse ears.  Right. I give Independence, USA two weeks before Dittoheads in giant cartoon Tom Jefferson suits are hawking Glenn Beck Fudge Bars from carts on the corners for $4.95 a pop.

Apparently, Beck drew inspiration for his own personal town from Galt’s Gulch (AKA “Atlantis” or “Mulligan’s Valley”), the mystical place high in the Colorado Rockies where John Galt leads all the striking Makers in Ayn Rand’s libertarian masturbation fantasy, Atlas Shrugged.

Visits to Beckville will be controlled via a main entrance, implying that, similar to Galt’s walled fortress-like Gulch, or Disneyland, access to the town will be limited to those who can pay. The Blaze reports that residency will be strictly controlled and based on an immigration process similar to Ellis Island, because, according to Glenn Beck “that’s how most Americans came to the country.”

Most Americans came to the United States via Ellis Island.

Most Americans.

I assume that means main street, Independence, USA, will likely demonstrate a marked lack of black, brown, yellow, or red faces, maybe Beck should call it Western European Boulevard – or Tea Party Avenue. But I digress.

I hope those libertarians all have fun with the Ellis Island style delousing and background checks.

Beck hasn’t said if he plans to mask the town from overhead surveillance via vision warping heat rays ala John Galt. However, The Blaze has announced that Independence, USA will have its own power supply – one can only assume that since Beck left Fox News he finally had enough free time to invent John Galt’s Electrostatic Motor which perpetually sucks magic juju beans electricity from the sky.

The centerpiece of Glenntopia will be the marketplace,

The Marketplace would be a place where craftsmen and artisans could open and run real small businesses and stores. The owners and tradesmen could hold apprenticeships and teach young people the skills and entrepreneurial spirit that has been lost in today’s entitlement state.

That’s right kids, put aside that entitlement mentality. That lazy taker attitude that’s had your generation filling the ranks of our volunteer military for the last ten years and fighting our wars on two fronts. Yes, you, you lazy, good for nothing worthless pieces of crap. That’s you, the shit generation, the taker generation. God, you suck, you all suck so bad. You think that just because you’ve been shedding your blood for this country for more than a decade now that your worthless shitty generation is somehow entitled to a piece of the American Dream. Who do you think you are? The Greatest Generation? Takers, that’s you. But, hey, it doesn’t have to be that way. No sirree. Step right up and learn a real American trade by apprenticing to one of our Tea Party Job Creators (Note: Apprentices don’t actually get paid in money, but they do get a nice warm feeling of patriotism). College? You don’t need no college, those places are full communists and socialist and stinky liberals anyway. We’ve got lots of old fashioned apprenticeship choices here in Glenntopia Marketplace! How about blacksmithing or maybe barrel coopering? We’ve got TEA Party sign making too, and you don’t even have to know how to spell!

I don’t suppose this is the place to tell Glenn Beck that out here in the real world, trade unions typically provide on the job training, apprenticeships, and professional certification for jobs that actually have some utility outside of renaissance fairs and flea markets.  And given the general bent of these people, I’d suspect that the Glentopian Marketplace will be less a showpiece of Austrian School Economics and more the kind of place where you stone gays and uppity women to death for defying God.

There would also be an Media Center, where Glenn’s production company would film television, movies, documentaries, and more. Glenn hoped to include scripted television that would challenge viewers without resorting to a loss of human decency. He also said it would be a place where aspiring journalists would learn how to be great reporters.

The Glenn Beck Media Center where they make Glenn Beck TV and Glenn Beck movies and Glenn Beck documentaries. And more. So very much more.

Without resorting to a loss of human decency.

A place where aspiring journalists learn to be great reporters.

Learn human decency and great reporting. From Glenn Beck himself.

It’s like the jokes just write themselves, isn’t it?

Across the lake, there would be a church modeled after The Alamo which would act as a multi-denominational mission center.

A church.

In a cult-like closed community of paranoid religious extremists.

Modeled on the Alamo.

Listen, word of advice: When the Feds show up in tanks and Glenn Koresh (Jesus, five letters. Glenn, five letters. It’s really just a matter of time, isn’t it?), when Jesus Beck commands you all to grab your kids and your guns and make your last stand in Temple Alamo? Yeah. You might want to think that one through, Davy Crockett. I’m just saying.

Also, anybody else catch that “multi-denominational” bit?

Multi-denominational.

I think that means they’ll have both country and western music playing on the Alamo sound system.

The town will also have a working ranch where visitors can learn how to farm and work the land.

Not to be pedantic or anything, but you work the land on a farm, you raise animals on a ranch. But hell, they’re worshipping in an multi-denominational evangelical church built by a born again Mormon modeled on a fort made from an old Roman Catholic Spanish mission, farm, ranch, tomato, potatoe, fuck it never mind.

Visitors can learn to work the land… and by “work the land [wink wink]” we mean fill out farm subsidy paperwork. I understand that they’ll be calling it the Bachmann Spread.

According to Beck, Independence, USA will grow all its own food and be completely self sufficient. Wasn’t that a major selling point on the Jonestown brochures as well? But I digress.

Independence would also be home to a Research and Development center where people would come to learn, innovate, educate, and create.

I look forward to the fruits of this institution.  What marvelous wonders will spring from applied creation science? New, more detailed conspiracy theories? A deeper understanding of Birtherism and 911 Truthiness? Will there be treatises on advanced Global Climate Change Denial? Survival tips for avoiding liquidation in FEMA Death Camps of Death? Refined quantum chalkboard theory? New cures for Teh Gayz? Guidelines for Ebay gold trading techniques? Nazi identification technology? Cheap domestic production techniques for New World Order tin foil hats on an industrial scale? A revolutionary new theory of Jesus Economics built on a foundation powered by the magical Ayn Rand Bullshit Generator?

Before you send your kids to college, you come to us. And you spend a week with us. We're gonna tell them exactly, we will show them the truth, we will tell them what they're going to try to do, and we will deprogram them every summer, if you care.

That would be great. I can spend forty grand a year making sure my kid gets a solid foundation in science, math, history, and cognitive skills – and then I can send him to Never Never Land, where Glenn can teach him how man and dinosaur frolicked together in sinless vegetarian joy six thousand years ago until it was ruined by Hitler.  I’m sure that will be very helpful, because the world doesn’t have enough homeless street preachers who reek of cat piss and bath salts and who spend their days in the park shouting at Satan. I wonder if the Becktopia Marketplace will have an apprenticeship program for that.

There would be a theme park for people to recharge and have fun with their families.

A theme park?

I gotta tell you, this place sound a lot less like Disney World to me, and a lot more like Westworld.

And yes, that sounds like fun … right up until the Robo Glennslinger goes berserk and starts slaughtering people, then it’ll be hilarious.

And finally,

People would also have the option to live in Independence, with a residential area where people of different incomes could all come together and be neighbors.

People of all different incomes could live together and be nei … SWEET ANGRY MONKEY GOD, IT’S LIBERAL HELL! Just like Hitler!

And who exactly will your neighbors be?

Commenters on The Blaze, Yahoo News, and Salon should give you a pretty good idea:

It is all possible, our ancestors did it over 200 years ago..

Yeah, and some of their descendants haven’t advanced since then.  Seriously, you want to live like your ancestors did two centuries back, that’s on you. I like indoor plumbing, social safety nets, and cable TV.

Beck preaches self-reliance. When a devastating weather disaster hits me I will overcome then help my neighbors. That’s why we stock pile food, water, gold, and guns. You have to be a fool to believe that government will help you after Katrina and the last hurricane. Believe/rely in yourself that’s all Beck teaches..

You’d have to be a fool to believe that government will help you after a disaster? Yeah, especially when conservative extremists (i.e. the people who listen to Glenn Beck) in congress are doing everything they can to delay federal assistance

Why would u need taxes [in Independence, USA]? Pay electric bill, water bill, and phone bill. FD will be volunteer[sic]. No democraps so no need in police. Only thing will be mandatory is military service and it will be funded by donations

See, if there are no democrats, there won’t be any crime. Because conservatives don’t commit crimes. That’s why there are no republicans in prison.  Want me to pull the thread on that one for you? Or can you get to the racist underpinning on your own? 

Also, Independence will have its own military. Funded by donations.  Military service will be mandatory.

I suspect YouTube videos of the Glenntopia Conscript Militia in their donated equipment engaging the US Army during the five minute Battle of the Alamo will be regular inclusions in the Darwin awards and world’s biggest idiot compilations for decades to come. It’ll probably be right after that video of Saddam Hussein daring George Bush to invade.

Beck wants to go back to the Leave it to Beaver days and I for one would love to see it, but I don't think it can be done.... Would love to see it though! Blacks and or the ACLU will try to screw it up as soon as it starts!.

Well, at least they’re not racists. And really, why wouldn’t people of color want a do-over of the 1950s?

If Beck’s dream fails, it’ll be the ACLU’s fault, mark my words.

Read the book atlas shrugged if you want to be informed. […] I am all for it. Plus the "society" Galt created had a financial system but was built on the premise of no Looters (Democrats), or Moochers (people on the system) only producers. Obama believes the following: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" So the point is best put by the words of Ayn Rand and galt " I swear by my life, and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." That is how I will live my life and I refuse to work for the benefit of another unless I choose too. I believe in charity, of MY CHOOSING, it is not the place of the Government to take from me and give to whatever they believe in. i have my beliefs and it is not the beliefs of Obama or anyone else for that matter. So you have all voted for what you are now getting. "reap what you sow". You are now doing that. Give Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Reid, Feinstein, etc. your guns. You have now given up. Live free in your utopia. Give 100% of your money to them as well, they know better than you do how to spend it. besides, you will be getting your health care, benefits, etc. from the government. So what do you need "Producers" for. Oh yeah, you cannot pay for all of this "Freedom" without the producers in the world. Hence the motto of the book. What would happen if the "producers" left and stopped being robbed at the barrel of a Government Gun. Don't believe the increase in "Revenue" obama likes to call it is not at the gun, then try not to pay your property taxes. Then a Sheriff will come to your house with a GUN and evict you. Even though you supposedly OWN your property. Well we do not anymore. Welcome to the United Socialist States of America cir. 1939. FDR new deal has made his socialist (communist) dream come true..

I think we’ve found the perfect guy to chair the Economics Department at Beck University.

And a history professor:

The Pilgrims did't take anyone else's land. Look it up- they waited for the folks who had cleared the area of Plymouth to show up only to learn they had all died of disease. The last man of that tribe had been abroad when the epidemic hit so he survived and lived with a neighboring people group. He welcomed the Pilgrims and helped them out. If you wanna talk about koolaid drinkers, those of you regurgitating the self-loathing lies of the left are the real cultists. Don't you ever question the contempt-filled litany of white guilt that was drummed into your skulls at college? Try it- the truth will set you free…[sic]

The truth, it will set you free. There’s a very funny de-motivational poster in there somewhere.

An isolated walled garrison town, created and controlled by Glenn Beck

Populated by people who think just like Glenn Beck

Designed to produce more people who see the world just like Glenn Beck!

Walt Disney my ass.

Independence, USA sounds like something dreamed up by Stephen King; it’s not EPCOT, it’s The Stepford Wives meets Children Of The Corn.

 

 

Two years ago, Glenn Beck stood on the Washington Mall in the shadow of Abraham Lincoln and told us that we, people like you and me, we weren’t Americans. That we didn’t belong.

Five decades ago this year, Martin Luther King stood upon those self same steps.  Dr. King looked out upon our nation and spoke in a voice that still brings me to tears and he told us all that he had a dream.  That dream, well, that dream was about more than just race, it was about people, Americans, coming together – instead of hiding in isolation, nursing their festering ignorance and bigotry and hatred. 

Dr. King’s dream was about building a nation, not tearing one apart and squatting in the ruins. 

It seems that some folks never got the message.

Glenn Beck wants to create his own retreat far from us?

I say fine.

Brick him in and let him rot in his apartheid.

 


Hat Tip to Vernor Vinge and his short story “Apartness” for the title and the last line of this essay.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Thought It Was The End, But It’s Snot…

I've been mostly offline for two weeks.

Some of you may have noticed.

Or not.

I had a horrible head cold.

At first it was fun.

And by fun I mean, really, who doesn’t enjoy chapped lips, painfully raw red nose, eyes like over-pressurized boiled onions, plugged-up ears that make the entire world sound like it’s happening underwater in an inverted bucket, the inside of your head itching like ants are crawling all  over your brain looking for toast crumbs, the red pulsating shooshing noises of the sinus headache, the constant coughing, and the snorfling of snot.

The endless, endless snorfling of snot.

And, of course, there was the plague of boils and the giant festering open sores, the rotting flesh and the rising up of the undead … wait, Okay, maybe I just hallucinated that part. Word of advice, don’t fall asleep with a fever while watching Mitch McConnel on CSPAN. I’m just saying.

So, anyway, you know what the best part was?

It happened over the holiday break.

Because really, why wouldn’t I want to spend New Year’s Eve rolled up on the couch in an achy moaning ball of snot snorfling?

But as that Veg-O-Matic guy used to say, Wait! There’s more: after a week the virus decided to move into my chest and in addition to the snot snorfling I got to add bubbling liquid sounds like a dying asthmatic Darth Vader after the Emperor EMP’d the Dark Side out of his life-support system with the crackling lightning bolts of five-fingered Sith Lord Assholery.

Ahahhhhurgle weeeeezh burble burble weeeezh ohaaa snorfle snorfle…

Vader died. Because he was a little clockwork bitch. I lived because my body responded to this affront by transmogrifying into a hundred and eighty pound gastropod.

That’s right, for the last two weeks I’ve been living life as a large garden slug.

Slow, lethargic, cold, unpleasant of personality, disgusting to the touch, and able to hourly generate my own body weight in mucus. I didn’t get over the virus, Folks, I didn’t develop immunity to this particularly obnoxious strain, no, I drowned the son of a bitch in phlegm. That’ll teach it.

There’s only one thing that could possibly make a cold like this better. 

Yes, my wife had it too.

Misery (that’s my wife) loves company:

You’ve giben be the damned colb.
Nu uh, you gabe it to me.
I hate you.
Hate me quieter, I can’t hear Rick Castle’s wisecracking over your snorfling
You want sub more tea?
Ok. But not that disgusting herbal shit.
What kind do you want?
Bushmills flavor. With extra Bushmills. And a slice of Bushmills on the top.
I’ve heard alcohol kills germs.
Ever see an Irishman with a cold?
Well, as long as you’re getting yourself some, get me a cup too.
Ha ha. Funnee. I sneezed on your toothbrush. Just so you know.
That’s OK. After I brushed my teeth, I licked your soup spoon.
Wanna go wipe a booger on the kid?
Yeah. Serve him right. Why should he be so disgustingly healthy?
Damned straight. Besides we’d be manning up his immune system.
The world’s a tough place.
He’ll thank us for this one day.
Quiet now, Castle’s back on.
I’ll bet Beckett kicks somebody in the nuts.
Don’t ruin this for me…

It’s always good to have somebody to share your disease with.

The good news is that between the two of us, the children of Kimberly-Clark Inc, makers of Kleenex brand tissues, will now all be able to attend Ivy League colleges and it’s entirely possible that our need for various pharmaceuticals, soup, tea, whiskey, warm socks, blankets, court ordered parental counseling, and reruns of Castle on Hulu are responsible for the drop in unemployment and the uptick in the global economy.

Yeah, yeah, you’re welcome.

On a side note, if you’d like to have the donuts all to yourself at your next meeting, I highly recommend the Darth Vader Chest Cold of Death. I had no choice but to sit through two meetings on Monday and I had one whole end of the conference room to myself. The rest of them kept looking at me like I was that guy in Dawn Of The Dead, the one hiding bite marks (I’ll be OKAY! I’ll be OKAY! Wait, c’mere, you smell like donuts, tasty, tasty donuts…).

So, you know, it wasn’t all bad. You want in on this action, send me five bucks S&H via PayPal and I’ll sneeze into an envelope for you, because I’m a giver, everybody says so – except it sounds like “Typhoid Mary,” but that’s probably just because my ears are still plugged up.

 

So, anyway, what did I miss?

 

Let’s see…

…Well, for starters, it’s a new year.

2013.

I remember when 2013 sounded like it was maybe a bazillion centuries in the future.

As a kid, I figured I’d be living on Mars no later than 1990. Certainly no later than 1992 – and then only if I opted to stay on Earth for a couple of extra classes at Astronaut University. 2013? Hell, I couldn’t even visualize that. What would the human race be by 2013? Big giant brains in glass jars? Creatures of pure energy? No doubt war, poverty, crime, hunger, and disease would be only distant horrors our great-to-the-nth grandchildren would learn about in history lessons – lessons fed directly into their huge giant god-like brains via direct computer interface.

So, 2013.

Frankly, I’m a little disappointed.

Still no flying cars. Which is a good thing, I suppose, given that human evolution remains frozen at the gibbering monkey stage.

There’s no big giant brains either. War, poverty, hunger, crime are still going strong, and instead of getting rid of disease we’re making new ones.

On the other hand, Kim Kardashian is preggers. Can’t say I saw that coming back in 1973.

 

What else?

There were a couple more public shootings.

Fortunately this latest round of carnage seems to have brought the gun crowd to its senses.

Heh, heh, right. That’s apparently the Nyquill talking.

Don’t worry, Republicans are working diligently to protect the inalienable right of crazy people to own as many assault weapons as the crazy little Jesus voice in their crazy little heads commands them to have.

Speaking of crazy little voices in your head, who says bang bang crazy better than Alex Jones?

No, really.

Seriously, if there was ever a more convincing case for involuntary commitment and forced medication – the kind that involves a long-sleeved shirt that buttons down the back, a small soundproof room smelling of urine and vomit coated in deep padding, and a large syringe full of Chlorpromazine – it’s Alex Jones.

Because, wow.

Jones, the under-medicated moon faced King Kong of Krazy Konspiracy, showed up on CNN this weekend about one tranquilizer dart shy of a blood maddened rogue elephant – the kind that keeps trumpeting wildly and biting at its own tail, while stomping villagers into a thin red paste. 

Don’t get me wrong here, I really don’t give a fig one way or the other if Piers Morgan loves or hates the Second Amendment.  But, frankly I just can’t get spun up over the idea of Piers Morgan and his Redcoats coming to take our guns. Given how gaga most Americans are over British Royalty, we’d probably welcome them aboard with a cup of Earl Grey and a scone anyway.  What? Hand over my pistol for a peek at Kate’s royal yabos? Deal! Hey, what do I get for this M-14 and a grenade launcher… ?

But I digress.

When I hear the word “NRA,” I immediately flash to a mental image of an apoplectic red-faced Alex Jones screaming in spittle flecked paranoid hysteria about 1776 and the Redcoats and Mao.  That’s exactly what I picture.  Exactly.  Call me a tree-hugging America-hating comunazi homofacist if you must, but frankly Alex the rampaging rogue elephant and his sleep deprived fan club down at the NRA are precisely the kind of people who shouldn’t be allowed access to anything more deadly than a soft rubber bowl full of cherry Jell-O.  A small bowl.

And this is the kind of guy that the NRA wants guarding your kid at school.  With a gun.

I’m just saying.

 

How about that fiscal cliff?

You know, it’s 2013.  Frankly I’m sick of hearing about the fiscal cliff. 

It’s not a cliff.

It’s also not a precipice, a hill, or a slope.

This year, let’s call it what it really is: The Fiscal Abandoned Well In Our Backyard That Wouldn’t Be A Problem Except That In A Fit Of Drunken Bravado We Ripped The Covering Boards Off And Dared The Neighborhood Children To Ride Their Bikes ‘Round And ‘Round The Crumbling Bricks Of Its Rim While We Throw Clods Of Flaming Dog Shit At Them.

Sure, it’s a little long, but anybody who has taken basic economics will agree that my term is much more accurate than fiscal cliff.

Do I think it will catch on?

That depends on if I can bribe Paul Krugman to use it in a sentence.

 

We got ourselves a new Congress, the 113th.

Awesome.

Well, Okay, it’s not exactly awesome or new new.  The 113th Congress is more like a high mileage used car with a couple of sketchy refurbished parts and no warranty.  Sooner or later this old rusty POS will probably leave us stranded and cursing on the side of the highway.

But hey, at least it’s not the 112th Congress, eh?

The freshman class of the 112th, mostly TEA Party fanatics, showed up in Washington two years ago and made everybody read an edited version of the Constitution out loud on national TV. Remember that? It probably sounded good in concept, but in reality it reminded me of that Star Trek episode, The Omega Glory, where a bunch of murderous post-apocalyptic barbarians, the Yangs led by a charming fellow named Cloud William, literally worship an old American flag as if it was the Angry Monkey God or something and mumble their way through a slurred mutated version of the preamble to the Constitution of the United States. The Yangs no longer understand the words or their real meaning, having turned concepts like “freedom” into mere shibboleth, empty words and magical incantations meant only for a chosen few and denied to those that they didn’t like. 

Of course, in the end Captain Kirk bangs a few heads together and manages to convince old Cloud William that liberty and justice either apply to everybody equally or they mean nothing. Period.

Watching 112th Congress with the fire of fanaticism burning bright in their glassy eyes, reciting the Constitution as if it was a holy document, and a magical test of Americanism, made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

According to Kansas Republican Tim Huelskamp, they were going to make “big bold changes” and “shake things up.”  No more old school Washington. 

2013, two years later, 112th congressional freshman class president Scott Austin (R-GA) provided a smug assessment of how they met those lofty goals, “We’re here under a Democratic president, and our job for the most part was going to play defense against what he was going to do. I think we were pretty effective at doing that.”

I think we were pretty effective in doing that. 

You may, if you like, visualize Captain Kirk making the Vulcan facepalm.

That’s right, Folks, the way you get big bold changes is by keeping anything from happening. Obstructionism, secret to the universe, Kids. Write that down, there’ll be a test later. If we still have schools, I mean.

They were going to slap down President Obama, put his uppity black ass back in its place. Make him a one term president, and then erase his name from history. How’d that work out again?  They allowed their rabid ideology to become so all consuming that even their own party began to hate them and two months ago, standing in the smoking wreckage of their disastrous presidential campaign, House Republican leadership finally had had enough and stripped the most obnoxious of their committee assignments. 

Hell, the 112th sucked so bad that Chris Christie ended up looking like a Democrat in comparison.  You gotta suck pretty hard to pull that off. Seriously.

I noticed that they didn’t begin the new 113th Congress with a big show of reciting the Constitution like last time. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, I’ll reserve judgment for the moment.

Likely we’ve just traded in one clunker for another, but at this point I’m of the opinion that even Cloud William and his band of bloodthirsty Yangs would be better than the 112th Congress.

 

Speaking of Congress and getting it done, who would have guessed that Joe Biden would turn out to be The Closer?

You know, it’s ironic. It’s ironic that the Right has done nothing for the last five years but attempt to paint Obama as inexperienced and out of his depth and Biden as a bumbling oaf who spends most of his time swearing at furniture. 

And yet, at every turn conservatives have had their asses handed to them by these same two guys. 

If conservatives are right about Obama and Biden (not that they actually are, but…), you have to wonder what that says about conservatives.

Seriously, you have to wonder who’s having one over on who.

Suddenly Joe Biden is everywhere, from fiscal talks to gun control. He’s the man. Frankly, I’m starting to wonder whether we’ll see a Biden/Clinton ticket in 2016.

But I digress.

 

Congress isn’t the only thing changing in Washington, it looks like we’re going to get a new, or at least partially refurbished, Presidential Cabinet to go with our new Congress and newly reelected President.

No real surprises there, that’s pretty typical following a president’s reelection.

Cabinet positions are usually stepping stones to better and much higher paying jobs in the private sector.

And more importantly the second term Cabinet is going to have a much different set of operating parameters from the first term and from that standpoint changes in the president’s cabinet are not only  expected, they’re a requirement.

Today the President will nominate Jack Lew (who my brain insists on pronouncing as Jack-O-Lope for some reason) to replace Timothy Geithner at the Treasury.  Lew is obviously the best possible candidate. Most of the objections so far are the standard rightwing kneejerk rejection of anything proposed by Barack Obama, but I doubt Lew will face any real opposition to his confirmation.

Labor Secretary is up for grabs since Hilda Solis is leaving, no official word yet on who Obama will nominate to replace her.

John Kerry will likely follow Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and like Lew, I don’t expect he’ll face much in the way of opposition during confirmation – especially since Republicans want a crack at his Senate seat and he was basically their pick anyway.

Sometime in the next year Attorney General Eric Holder will likely resign, which should make conservative conspiracy nuts like Alex Jones deliriously happy. If I was Holder, I’d retire from government and open up a gun shop that caters to Latinos on the Arizona border – just to screw with Republicans. But, hey, that’s me.

And that takes us to my favorite laugh out loud moment in the last three weeks: the nomination of Republican Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.

Speaking of screwing with conservatives.

Senator Lindsey Graham was literally outraged, calling Hagel’s selection an “in-your-face nomination by a president to all of us who are supportive of Israel!”

Bawahaha.  That’s right, it’s Chuck, in your face.

Hagel’s nomination is brilliant.  I don’t know if he’ll be a good or a bad SecDef, but I like him just for the sheer level of apoplexy he induces in the opposition.

For hard line conservative fanatics, Hagel’s nomination is the emotional equivalent of Eric Holder opening a gun store on the Mexican border.

There’s some fine, fine irony indeed when gay republicans vehemently oppose Chuck Hagel’s nomination because Hagel is, well, a Republican.

Gay Republicans, now there’s an oxymoron for you.  If gay republicans are opposed to republican Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense because he’s not an enthusiastic supporter of gay rights and because he tends to look at gay people as second class citizens, then by extension they should be opposed to any republican in public office because, fuck, look it’s the Republican Party! 

Jesus H. Christ, have you idiots even read your party’s platform?

The fact that there even are Log Cabin Republicans boggles my mind, that’s like the Vegetarian Local of the Meat Packers Union.

Besides the fact that republicans hate Hagel because he’s not gay enough, they also don’t think he’s Jewish enough and he just doesn’t love war enough despite his two, two, Purple Hearts earned as an enlisted infantryman in the jungles of Vietnam (I guess because he’s a Republican, he doesn’t rate Swiftboating over those decorations. So far). 

Honestly, I’m not sure where Obama was supposed to find the gay Jewish warmonger who would satisfy Republicans (take that any way you like), but the comedic possibilities here have had me belly laughing through my own phlegm for the last two weeks.

Even if Hagel ultimately doesn’t survive the confirmation process, I’m going to enjoy watching the hearings given that Mitch McConnell said, “The question we will be answering, if he's the nominee, is do his views make sense for that particular job? I think he ought to be given a fair hearing, like any other nominee, and he will be.”

Mitch McConnell thinks Chuck Hagel should be given a fair hearing, just like any other nominee.

Any other nominee but Susan Rice, apparently.

 

If the first two weeks are any indication, 2013 promises to be an interesting year.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go buy some more Kleenex.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

For Sale

Apologies for the hiatus.

I’ve been ill. Nothing serious, just a horrible head cold. I can’t write when the inside of my head itches, if you know what I mean.

 

 

In the mean time, a number of you have written asking about the woodwork I do and if it might be for sale. 

It is, periodically.

You can find the stuff I make for sale on the Stonekettle Station Etsy Store.

A whole bunch of new stuff was just uploaded.  And remember, every penny you spend there goes to a good cause. Mostly keeping me in cough drops, but I can’t think of a better cause than that at the moment.