Archive for May, 2009

You’ll Never Need to Eat Your Words if Your Mouth is Already Full of Raw Baby Seal Heart

May 28, 2009
"I've never seen an unflattering photo of Michaëlle Jean. She's gorgeous even with seal blood dripping from her lips." -Margaret Wente, The Globe and Mail

"I've never seen an unflattering photo of Michaëlle Jean. She's gorgeous even with seal blood dripping from her lips." -Margaret Wente, The Globe and Mail

Remember last year when conservatives were giving Obama crap for admitting he eats arugula? This is the exact opposite of that:

From BBC News:

“Canada’s governor general, Michaelle Jean, has helped to butcher and eat a seal in an apparent act of solidarity with hunters. Ms Jean used a traditional Inuit knife to help gut the animal then ate a slice of raw heart. It came weeks after the EU voted to ban Canadian seal products, but Ms Jean did not say if her actions were in response to the EU proposals.”

I hadn’t heard of Michaelle Jean before she gobbled the seal heart, and I don’t even kow what a “governor general” does, other than represent the English monarchy  in Canada somehow, but I think there is a good lesson here that all politicians, all leaders, could learn from: Talk is cheap, prove yourself with actions.

We all know that politicians are masters of telling people what they want to hear. They all want to show you how much they “feel your pain” (In the words of Bill Clinton) by listening to your stories, nodding empathetically, and promising that they will stand up for you. Of course, reality has proven time and time again that virtually all politicians are hypocrites willing to sell out everything that was supposedly sacred to them in order to get re-elected or just cover their own asses when times get tough. Sometimes they hypocrisy isn’t even for political reasons, like the countless Republicans who have run on family values issues only to be revealed later as undercover crack-smoking queens.

What kind of a clueless Elmer Fudd really believes politicians about anything?

Here’s the point: If I’m a Canadian professional baby seal clubber, and everyone (even Morrissey) treats me like a piece of crap, but then a politician comes along, sits down next to me, slices open a fucking seal carcass, rips out a raw chunk of seal heart and down that shit like it was a Pop-Tart… I would feel like I had just met a politician that I could trust, or, at least give a chance.

On a side note, while I don’t support baby seal clubbing, if you’re one of those folks who gets all uppity about it,  sending around horrific videos to get people to sign your online petition or whatever and you’re NOT a vegetarian: then, like most politicians, you should also shut up and speak with your actions. Personally, I would much rather live the short, fanciful life of a seal pup and get bashed in the head than the inhumane, unnatural life of a cow or pig confined to a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) on a typical factory farm. However, if I really had my choice, I would be one of those Japanese cows that get pampered with beer and massages.

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Based on a True Story

May 14, 2009
flyer_final

Dolphins have been trained in attack-and-kill missions since the Cold War.

If you like to dance, come through a monthly party I do with the Motion Sickness crew at Vertigo tonight. This isn’t a music blog, so check out  Sneaky P’s blog or GrownKidsRadio if you want to keep up with that scene, but just to let y’all know — this flyer is based on a true story:

Armed and dangerous – Flipper the firing dolphin let loose by Katrina

“It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Experts who have studied the US navy’s cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying ‘toxic dart’ guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet’s smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.

Dolphins have been trained in attack-and-kill missions since the Cold War. The US Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have apparently been taught to shoot terrorists attacking military vessels. Their coastal compound was breached during the storm, sweeping them out to sea. But those who have studied the controversial use of dolphins in the US defense program claim it is vital they are caught quickly.”

Read the rest here.

T&A B.C.

May 14, 2009
ancientvenus

The 35,000-year-old “Venus of Hohle Fels” was discovered in a cave in southwestern Germany.

A few weeks ago I went back to Chicago to visit my folks. I don’t have a TV, so I was totally blown away when I was exposed to a cable channel called Spike TV by my 11-year-old brother. Basically, Spike TV is the opposite of the Lifetime Network. Its target audience is “bros.”

Although the action flicks and cage fights that fill Spike’s programming schedule are heavily saturated with boobs, there is a Spike original show called “Manswers” that is so obsessed with breasts that Russ Meyer would blush. With its segments like “How big do boobs need to be to crush a beer can?” watching Manswers feels like witnessing a pervy fourth-grader’s wildest fantasies run amok. (see the horrendous video below for proof)

When I saw the pictures of a 35,000-year-old statuette released earlier today, I realized just how far back humans’ obsession with breasts goes… it goes all the way back — this statue was made when early homo sapiens were still co-existing with Neanderthals, during the Paleolithic era. With her enornmous torpedo-like bosoms and bulging vulva, the “Venus of Hohle Fels” gives us a strong hint that cave-bros were focused on many of the same female attributes as modern bros.

But it might be a mistake to write this off as just prehistoric objectification of women. In place of her head, Venus has a ring coming out of her neck. Probably so she can be suspended by a string, perhaps worn as a ceremonial amulet during ancient rituals or hung in a cave to conjure fertility spirits. The exaggerated representation could signify that the female body was considered sacred and worshipped among Paleolithic cultures.

Unfortunately, Manswers seems to provide evidence that a large segment of our population has devolved in the millennia since. Hopefully,Spike TV fans’ attitudes towards women will some day catch up with those of their cave-dwelling ancestors.

Not the Good Kind of Extreme

May 8, 2009
Jeff Schoep, head of the National Socialist Movement, the largest neo-Nazi group in the U.S., told USA Today, “Historically, when times get tough in our nation, that's how movements like ours gain a foothold. When the economy suffers, people are looking for answers… We are the answer for white people.”

Jeff Schoep, head of the National Socialist Movement, the largest neo-Nazi group in the U.S., told USA Today, “Historically, when times get tough in our nation, that's how movements like ours gain a foothold. When the economy suffers, people are looking for answers… We are the answer for white people.” (Image: Latuff)

When the Department of Homeland Security released the report “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” last month, right-wing bloggers, media and politicians went completely bonkers.

The report suggested that racist extremists might use the election of the nation’s first black president to recruit members and that the recession “could create a fertile recruiting environment for right-wing extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and government authorities similar to those in the past.”

Predictably, conservatives were flabbergasted by the notion that there could really be the threat of another crazy whitey out there like Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, and denounced the report as politically motivated propaganda. There was literally no consideration that anything in the report could be valid. Instead, Republicans lashed out at Obama (despite the fact that the report was initially commissioned under Bush) and DHS Chief Janet Napolitano.

A statement made by Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) on April 22 accurately captures the tone of his party’s outrage: “Singling out political opponents for working against the ruling party is precisely the tactic of every tyrannical government from Red China to Venezuela.”

Strangely, instead of standing behind the report Napolitano apologized. Things settled down for a bit, then on Wednesday House Republicans “filed a resolution of inquiry that would give Napolitano 14 days to provide Congress with materials detailing how the Department of Homeland Security arrived at the conclusions contained in the report.” (via RollCall)

Why Napolitano didn’t fight back to defend the DHS report in the first place is baffling, because there is much credible evidence to back up concerns about right-wing extremists. The part of the report that infuriated its critics most was the warning that vets returning from the Middle East could play a role in these militias, and this is the claim that Napolitano seemed to back down from fastest. Yet, way back in 2006 Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report revealed that “alarming numbers of neo-Nazi skinheads and other white supremacist extremists were taking advantage of lowered armed services recruiting standards and lax enforcement of anti-extremist military regulations by infiltrating the U.S. armed forces in order to receive combat training and gain access to weapons and explosives.”

Another SPLC report released in 2008 quoted a freshly unclassified FBI Intelligence Assessment titled “White Supremacist Recruitment of Military Personnel Since 9/11” to provide evidence of this trend: “Sensitive and reliable source reporting indicates supremacist leaders are encouraging followers who lack documented histories of neo-Nazi activity and overt racist insignia such as tattoos to infiltrate the military as ‘ghost skins,’ in order to recruit and receive training for the benefit of the extremist movement.’” [I emphasize: That sentence is from an FBI REPORT.]

The SPLC article, “Evidence of Extremist Infiltration of Military Grows” by David Holthouse, cites several examples of white nationalists discussing plans in online forums to use stolen weapons and explosives training gained in the military to instigate a race war. Far from anonymous cyber-swagger, the FBI Assessment explains that coordinated plots to steal military supplies for this very purpose have already been identified.

The FBI Assessment describes how there was “probable cause” to believe that a soldier stationed at Fort Hood inTexas “had participated in a white extremist meeting and also provided a military technical manual 31-210, Improvised Munitions Handbook, to the leader of a white extremist group in order to assist in the planning and execution of future attacks on various targets.” Shockingly, the investigation of the soldier involved in this incident was called off by “higher ups” in the military after a single November 2006 interview.

Evidence obtained from the Army’s Criminal Investigative Division through a Freedom of Information Act request by Columbia University’s Matthew Kennard found that “Army commanders repeatedly terminated investigations of suspected extremist activity in the military despite strong evidence it was occurring.” In other words, there are plenty of similar cover-ups happening out there.

Without even taking into account the historical precedent that many extremist militia members have come from military backgrounds, the findings suggesting that military officers are turning a blind eye to white nationalists using their time in the service to train for domestic terrorism operations and even use government materials to carry out these attacks should would seem to have provided Janet Napolitano some ammo to fire back with… so why didn’t she?

I have no idea, but I hope her response to the Republicans’ inquiry draws a bit more critical attention to this issue than last time around.

The Taliban More Popular Than Republicans

May 5, 2009
lolduncan

Former RNC chair Mike Duncan recently told his fellow Republicans that they need to “do it in the Facebook, with the Twittering.”

What’s the difference between the Taliban and the GOP?

The Taliban has a better PR team. No, seriously.

You may remember a few months back when Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) raised a few eyebrows by suggesting that the GOP could learn a little something about political strategy from that other underdog party — the Taliban. “One can see that there’s a model out there for insurgency,” he told National Journal editors.

Explaining how the GOP might look toward those masters of persuasion in the Taliban for insight, Sessions said, “They went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person’s entire processes.”

Well, if the Republicans want to keep up with the Taliban, they’ll have to try a lot harder, because in the time since that interview, they haven’t been doing so hot. Quick recap: Rush Limbaugh’s enormous face everywhere, Michael Steele talkin’ about a hip-hop makeover, Norm Coleman loses to Stuart freakin’ Smalley, Arlen Specter flees for bluer pastures and teabagging teabagging teabagging! What’s next? Will John McCain’s ol’ campaign buddy Joe the Plumber say something even stupider and more bigoted than anything he’s said before, like how he would never let “queers… anywhere near my children”? Oops, just said that.

So the GOP “insurgency” is on a roll like a Hummer with four flat tires.

Meanwhile, the Taliban — a group not usually noted for their public relations savvy — has really improved their communications skills. According to Time magazine’s new article “Why the Taliban Is Winning the Propaganda War,” “The same Taliban that once banned television now boasts a sophisticated public relations machine that is shaping perceptions in Afghanistan and abroad.”

Motivational DVD’s, a pirate FM station called “Mullah Radio,” fancy press releases and staged photo shoots — the Taliban spin doctors have apparently been working hard to capture those hearts and minds, and it seems to be paying off. In recent weeks, the Taliban has moved deeper into Pakistan, prompting The News International, a leading English newspaper, to call the Pakistani government’s failure to “evolve a counter-narrative to the Taliban propaganda” that fills airwaves and newspaper columns a “dereliction of the highest order.” (via Time)

So let’s review: A bunch of dudes who have spent much of the last decade hiding in caves between guerilla battles with the strongest military force in world are totally kicking ass, according to mainstream Western media. And the Republicans? They couldn’t even figure out how to get their shit together on Twitter.

So maybe emulating the Taliban was a little too advanced for the GOP. Maybe they should try setting their sites a little lower and see if they can keep up with Ashton Kutcher first.

And Here’s Lil’ Weezy with Weather and Traffic, Y’all

May 1, 2009

I wouldn’t be surprised if someone looks back on this hilarious auto-tune news satire in a few years and doesn’t get that it’s a joke.

Between the freak show that FoxNews has devolved into and the ludicrous racial stereotyping that CNN is now serving up as cultural analysis (see video below), would it really be that shocking to see T-Pain take over as the next host of Meet the Press? Hannity & Lil’ Jon?  The E-40/Leher NewsHour?