Archive for July, 2009

That’s not a noose, it’s a “friendship necklace”

July 31, 2009
"So then this black dude called me a racist, and I was like, 'what are you talkin' about, boy? I'm just expressin' myself. You're playing the race card. You're the real racist. That's what I told him."

"So then this black dude called me a racist, and I was like, 'What you talkin' about, boy? You're playing the race card. You're the real racist.' That's what I told him."

The Boston cop who was suspended for dropping the term “jungle monkey” into an email about Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. told a Boston TV station earlier today: “I am not a racist.”

Gotta wonder what this guy’s definition of “racism” is. Like, if referring to African-Americans with dehumanizing insults doesn’t qualify… what would it take? This cop’s racism bar is clearly set pretty damn high.

Maybe he’s one of those guys who doesn’t consider getting a blow job “cheating.”  Maybe he’s one of those guys who who thinks it’s OK to treat immigrants like crap because “they have it better here than in their own countries anyway.” Maybe he doesn’t take showers because he’s “just going to get dirty again, so what’s the point?”

These are all possibilities which may never be confirmed, but one thing is definitely for sure… this guy is a total douche.

"Ask my black friend, he'll tell you I'm totally cool."

"Ask my black friend, he'll tell you I'm cool."

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And Maybe Karl Rove Will Replace Heidi Klum on Project Runway

July 30, 2009
I know that making fun of George W. Bush in 2009 is about as fashionable  "jorts" (jean shorts), but some ideas are just so awful they demand to be ridiculed.

I know that making fun of George W. Bush in 2009 is about as fashionable "jorts" (jean shorts), but some ideas are just so awful they demand to be ridiculed.

Newsweek just posted an article on their site titled “Why Obama Should Make George W. Bush his Mideast Envoy.”

Um, I guess since he’s not eligible to run for Mayor of New Orleans and we already have an abassador to the UN, this would be the one other job that he would be totally perfect for. And maybe Dick Cheney could get a “green job” in the renewable energy sector. I bet it would be really good for the old guy’s heart to get a little exercise putting up solar panels, climbing around on those roofs, getting a tan… and I could totally see Donald Rumsfeld as the new president of Code Pink. I mean, Madea Benjamin must be tired of screaming her lungs out and getting arrested all over the place. It’s really time for her to pass the torch, and if there’s anybody who knows about war criminals, it’s ol’ Rummy – I think pink would look good on him, too. Very flattering with his high cheekbones.

Actually, wait a second… now that I think about it… Newsweek must be smoking crack.

bush

Meet the Guys Who Are Punking America

July 29, 2009
There's a good reason why he looks like he's laughing at us.

There's a good reason why Lloyd Blankfein looks like he's laughing at us.

Michael Lewis posted an Onion-esque op-ed online today titled Bashing Goldman Sachs Is Simply a Game for Fools.”

In “dispelling” the rumor that all Goldman employees look alike, he writes:

“Several recent newspaper photos have revealed that a surprising number of Goldman Sachs workers are white, male and bald. That non-Goldman people glance at such photos and think “Holy crap, they even look alike!” just shows how deeply anti- Goldman bigotry runs in American life.

We at Goldman represent unique clusters of DNA; if we bear some faint surface resemblance to one another, and to creatures from the 24th century, it is only because our superior powers of reasoning lead us to hold in our minds exactly the same thoughts, at exactly the same time.

A shared disinterest in growing hair, for instance, isn’t a coincidence of nature but an expression of healthy like- mindedness.

“The world is a pool table,” our naked-headed CEO likes to tell us. “And all the people in it are either stripes or solids. You alone are the cue balls.”

Indeed, not a single one of these bandits at Goldman bears a lick of resemblance to the Gordon Gecko archetype that I always envision when I picture Wall Street fat cats…

He's laughing at us, too, but he's better at hiding it.

Neel Kashkari is laughing at us, too, but he's better at hiding it.

This guy can't wait for you to turn away so he can laugh so more without feeling kind of guilty at the sad look on your face.

Gary Cohn can't wait for you to turn away so he can laugh some more without feeling kind of guilty about the sad look on your face.

This laughed so hard that he needs to change his pants... and his socks and his shoes.

Jon Winkelried laughed so hard that he needs to change his pants... and his socks and shoes.

She heard the real money is at Goldman Sachs, so she's getting ready for the big job interview.

Britney heard the real money is at Goldman Sachs, so she's getting ready for the big job interview.

This guy is just an intern now, but you can tell he's gonna go places, he's got "the Goldman look"

This guy is just an intern now, but you can tell he's gonna go places, he's got "the Goldman look"

You Have the Right to Remain Silent, So Shut Up

July 28, 2009
Prove it.

Prove it.

In the first days following the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr, before the story got put under an electron microscope and dissected from a million different angles, much of the debate was focused around interpreting the police report. As the initial headlines appeared, everyone from mainstream pundits to bloggers seemed to include some variation of the phrase “I read the police report” into their commentary. The tone of this phrase often seemed to imply that the police report could be taken at face value.

After President Obama learned the hard way that even mildly criticizing police is like wading into a pool of piranhas, much of the conversation has remained within the confines of discussing relevant and complex, but relatively predictable, issues such as racial profiling. Even among the pro-Gates crowd, most voices seem to be demanding more “sensitivity” from the police, instead of more accountability. Instead of using this as a “teaching moment,” as Gates has called for, to discuss racial dynamics around law enforcement, why can’t this be teaching moment to ask why so many cops lie in police reports and get away with it?

The woman who called 911 on Gates finally came out today and said, through a lawyer, that Sgt. James Crowley, the arresting officer, completely fabricated a conversation that takes place in the official police report – so this incident would seem provide a good case study to examine this issue. I’m not saying at all that racial factors should be absent from this conversation or even that I necessarily believe this woman any more than Crowley or Gates. I’m just pointing out that police demand to be taken at their word – as their collective reaction to Obama’s common-sense remark that arresting an old man with a cane inside his own house after he’s show identification is stupid – proves.

But if the police are going to demand such unquestioning trust, they need to prove that violent psychos aren’t using the power of the badge to go around starting fights, beating the crap out of people in order to steal their fajitas, tasing kids, assaulting women… and getting away with it! Although a new, outrageous police brutality video seems to be popping up every few days now, the police still seem systematically determined to protect every brutal maniac with a badge instead of reforming their organizations. In this example, the cop who pushed the woman down the stairs and charged HER with felony assault was not fired or arrested – he was punished by losing 8 vacation hours and he continues to patrol Orlando with a gun and a badge:

Sometimes, as in the case of this video featuring a drunk off-duty Chicago cop whaling on a female bartender half his size, the lies in the police report are just too egregious to withstand the visual evidence, and the officer actually loses his job. However, even in these rare instances when cops get fired for their criminal behavior, the system still works to protect them from the laws that apply to everyday citizens. Despite the unprovoked ass-whooping he unleashes on this unfortunate woman, Anthony Abbate was sentenced to only two years of probation and anger management classes (mainstream media in Chicago defended this sentence as “fair”):

I could post dozens of other videos from the last year alone that are equally horrifying, and that fact alone should be enough to raise questions such as: Why is demanding police accountability seen as somehow subversive; Why is this systemic abuse of power generally tolerated in our society; and How can we be expected to trust the police when they have proven, as an institution, over and over and over again, that they seem more willing to cover up their own criminal behavior than eradicate this corruption?

Of course, there lots of people and organizations out there asking these questions and working to demand accountability, but if the Gates episode wasn’t enough to elevate these questions into mainstream debate, I wonder how many more Amadou Diallos, Sean Bells and Oscar Grants it’s going to take.

Considering the fact that some cops have actually weighed in on the Gates arrest to say that anyone who mouths off to a cop is lucky not to get shot and that Taser just unveiled their new model of souped-up stun guns (despite the fact that the regular old version has been involved in 351 deaths in the U.S., according to Amnesty International), it doesn’t seem likely that we’re about to see a new wave of “sensitivity” wash over the boys in blue any time soon (Yes, I know there are lots of female cops, but it almost always seem to be the bros who are causing problems).

Now, I’m not trying to say that there aren’t plenty of cops out there who are trying to be the good guys and provide a much-needed service, since there are obviously a lot of scum bags out there. But don’t expect me to take a cop’s word over anyone else’s until I see the police keeping themselves in line instead of just lashing out at everyone who tries to make them play by their own rules. For example, would you still have your job if you called someone a “bitch ass nigger” (just like Tony Pirone did as he was attacking Oscar Grant right before Grant was murdered)? Didn’t think so…

I'm not talking about you guys, you guys seem cool... I'm just going to walk away now.

I'm not talking about you guys, you guys seem cool... I'm just going to walk away now.

Vision, Leadership, Courage… Now They Have None of the Above

July 24, 2009

budgeteyegouge

When word got out that their nefarious plans to fix the budget included auctioning off endangered condors and having little kids fight in Thunderdome death matches, the Legislature freaked out big time. State Senators Alan Lowenthal, seen here gouging his own eyes out, took it the hardest. In the foreground, Christine Kehoe is seen waiting for his eyeballs to pop out, so she can sell them on eBay… I guess some people never learn.

We’re All on the Chopping Block Now

July 23, 2009
"Who wants to be the first 'volunteer' for the new organ 'donation' program?"

"Who wants to be the first 'volunteer' for the new organ 'donation' program?"

Here’s how today’s LA Times begins an article about California’s new budget deal:

“Roads will be rougher, classrooms fuller and textbooks more tattered. The odds of encountering someone fresh out of prison will almost certainly be higher. If the budget deal crafted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and top legislative leaders is passed by the Legislature and survives the inevitable court challenges, California will eat the biggest shit sandwich in its history.”

Just kidding about that last part. The article actually said “undergo perhaps the biggest downscaling of government,” but I think the shit sandwich part is actually a better description of what’s really going down here.

In fact, I’ve heard from some “inside sources” that they’re keeping some of the most controversial proposals top-secret… but in the public interest, I’ll share them with you right now. So here it is — these are some of the changes that Californians can expect to see in the near future:

  • Instead of getting cash prizes, winning the state lotto entitles you to a free backrub from Jerry Brown.
  • From now on, firefighters will be getting paid to torch buildings for insurance money as opposed to putting them out.
  • In addition to permitting more offshore rigs, drilling efforts will also be made to extract oil from Gavin Newsom’s dome.
  • Let’s just say you’re gonna be seeing a lot more endangered California condors popping up on eBay in the next few weeks.
  • Instead of gym class, students will compete in Thunderdome death matches to see who gets to go to school.
  • No more prescriptions for “medicine” from doctors, just recommendations on which cheap wine goes best with your condition.
  • Instead of prosecuting the growing number of poachers who are killing bears in state parks to harvest their gallbladders for black market export to Asia, the Department of Fish and Game will “look the other way,” as long as they get a piece of the action.
  • In addition to the IOUs that the state has already been using to pay the bills, they will also begin sending out FUs to everyone that it owes money to.

Best Thing to Happen to the Auto Industry Since the Invention of “Truck Nuts”

July 21, 2009
The best thing to happen to trucks since the invention of truck nuts: Free guns!

Buy one phallic symbol, get one free!

Good news: A savvy and patriotic entrepreneur has finally solved the problem that’s been vexing troubled car dealers across the country. So what was the trick for convincing cash-strapped consumers that now is the time to buy a big ol’ American truck? Three simple words: Free Assault Rifle.

Via The Telegraph (UK):

“A Missouri car dealer has taken a novel approach to combating the fall in US vehicle sales by offering a free Kalashnikov assault rifle with every truck, whether new or used. Mark Muller, whose business slogan is “God, Guns, Guts, and American Pick-Up Trucks”, said he had been overwhelmed by the response.

‘It’s extremely successful. There is a lot of worry about crime, we have a methamphetamine problem around here and people just want to protect themselves,’ said the boss of Max Motors near Kansas City. ‘And what could be better than supporting American products in these troubled times?’”

All you fancy Madison Avenue ad execs should slapping your foreheads right now. It’s like: DUH!

The big auto companies have been spending gobs of cash on marketing efforts to rebuild “trust” in their brands and all kinds of warm,fuzzy bullshit like that… but obviously the best way to make people start buying cars again is to bribe them with guns (lap dances would probably also work well). Somebody should make sure that Obama’s “car czar” gets the memo on this (He can file it in the “stuff only white people would try to get away with” section).

Anyway, we all know that any time anything is successful, the imitators can’t be far behind. I’m guessing it won’t be long until we see similar deals popping up all over the place.  Don’t be surprised if you see one of these offers coming soon to a storefront near you…

“Free sniper crossbow with purchase of a snow-mobile!”

“Buy a Segway, get a free machete”

“Score a new wheelchair and roll out with free nunchucks!”

“All roller-blades now come with a complementary set of brass knuckles”

“Purchase a kayak now and you’ll walk out with a sock full of lug nuts – no extra charge!”

Bernie Madoff is a Purse-Snatcher Compared to These Guys

July 17, 2009
An artist's rendition of the Goldman Sachs business model

An artist's rendition of the Goldman Sachs business model

After thoroughly exposing Goldman Sachs as a “giant vampire squid” in his recent Rolling Stone article “The Great American Bubble Machine,” Matt Taibbi follows it up with a must-read response to the news of Goldman’s record profits and impending bonus bonanza. You can check out the whole take-down on his blog over at True/Slant, but here’s a quick preview:

“Last year, when Hank Paulson told us all that the planet would explode if we didn’t fork over a gazillion dollars to Wall Street immediately, the entire rationale not only for TARP but for the whole galaxy of lesser-known state crutches and safety nets quietly ushered in later on was that Wall Street, once rescued, would pump money back into the economy, create jobs, and initiate a widespread recovery. This, we were told, was the reason we needed to pilfer massive amounts of middle-class tax revenue and hand it over to the same guys who had just blown up the financial world. We’d save their asses, they’d save ours. That was the deal.

We constructed this massive bailout infrastructure, and instead of pumping that free money back into the economy, the banks instead simply hoarded it and ate it on the spot, converting it into bonuses. So what does this Goldman profit number mean? This is the final evidence that the bailouts were a political decision to use the power of the state to redirect society’s resources upward, on a grand scale. It was a selective rescue of a small group of chortling jerks who must be laughing all the way to the Hamptons every weekend about how they fleeced all of us at the very moment the game should have been up for all of them.”

What the hell are they going to do when they’ve drained the tax-payers drier than a Mormon on Sunday, start harvesting our organs?

And what’s it going to take for people to get outraged enough to actually fight back against this monumental extortion? Well, getting more guys like this on American TV programs would certainly be a good start…

DISCLAIMER: I know we already have plenty of name-calling, fire-breathing populists like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly on the air, but this guy actually knows what he’s talking about. Big difference.

Like a Disco Inferno, But Without the Disco

July 16, 2009
Put away that hose, you fool! Can't you see these people are poor?

Put away that hose, you fool! Can't you see these people are poor?

The big fire story in today’s news was the release of the shocking video of Michael Jackson’s head going up in flames, but here’s another fire-related tidbit that may have flown under your radar. Fire departments in California might stop helping each other put out fires, because they’re too broke.

Via San Diego Union-Tribune:

“…with the debt-saddled state issuing IOUs instead of providing cash reimbursements, a growing number of fire chiefs are warning that the day may come when they have to check their bank balances first before dispatching crews far from home to assist Cal Fire.”

Ok, so firefighters are always trying to scare us when they’re having budget problems by warning us that our houses are going to burn down if they don’t get more money… but shit is finally getting so bad that it might actually be true this time. To make matters worse, the federal firefighting budget was slashed so deeply during the Bush years that the US Forest Service firefighters—who are often the first on hand to battle California’s infamous wildfires before they rage out of control—are working with increasingly smaller crews despite the greater risk of catastrophic blazes resulting from another little problem called “climate change.”

Good thing our pals in the insurance industry have got our backs. Chubb Group, for example, recently “began offering fire protection to its clients in 13 Western states as long as their homes have a replacement value of at least $1 million.” Hell, yeah—once again, privatization to the rescue!

If you would rather support a “local business” rather than one of those faceless corporate giants, just give Golden Valley Fire Suppression a call, and for only $30,000, they’ll make sure your house stays nice and cool while your poorer neighbors watch their shitboxes go up in flames (Serves them right for relying on “the government” to protect them – suckers!)

But for real, you know fire departments are tapped out when they can’t even afford clothes for their hard-working firefighters anymore. These poor fellows don’t even have the money for shirts!

Change? Got any spare change?

Change? Got any spare change?

For That Much Money, It Better Have Some Kick-Ass Rims

July 15, 2009
Wouldn't it save time if we just all threw our wallets directly into this thing's tailpipe?

Wouldn't it save time if we just all threw our wallets directly into this thing's tailpipe?

Maybe they should change it’s name to the F-22 Rasputin, because just like the infamous Russian weirdo who was poisoned, shot and clubbed before he finally met his demise in an icy river, this thing refuses to die.  To make a long story short, President Obama said that he wouldn’t support spending $350 million a piece on these fighter jets, not only because they’re insanely expensive, but because they’re obsolete. We’ve spent $65 billion on F-22 Raptors since the early 90s and they’ve never even fired a single shot in battle.

However, the parts for the F-22s are manufactured in 44 different states and supporters say that cutting production would cost 25,000 high-wage manufacturing jobs, so everyone from the United Steelworkers to hawkish Republican legislators have fought to keep this uber-gravy train a rollin’. The latest twist came when the Senate Armed Services Committee ignored Obama’s veto threat and approved a request by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) to slip $1.75 billion in the defense budget to purchase seven more of these flying money vacuums. Remember that Chambliss is draft-dodger who got elected to the Senate by attacking an opponent who lost three limbs in Vietnam for being too soft on national defense, so clearly this guy is, like, the Michael Jordan of weasels.

Back to the point, the fact that the F-22 refuses to die despite the staggering stupidity of spending another $1.75 billion on planes that will probably never even kill anything perfectly illustrates the power and ingenuity of the military-industrial complex. The manufacturer of the F-22 is Lockheed Martin, which like other mega-corporations at the core of the defense industry, is really, really good at protecting its interests. Eugene Jarecki did a great job of breaking this down in his 2005 documentary, Why We Fight (which you can view here), but the gist is that these companies have entangled themselves so thoroughly within the fabric of America that any time you try to cut any part of their revenues, you are hurting American workers by killing off some of the last high-wage, high-skill factory jobs out there. So that’s why you see supposedly “anti-war” legislators defending bloated military budgets, because they’re covering their own asses by protecting jobs in their districts.

Of course, it would make a lot more sense to use these billions of wasted dollars on transitioning workers from manufacturing silly death machines to something that might be a little more useful like wind mills, solar panels or high-speed trains (which we are planning to import from Europe). But that’s why companies like Lockheed have armies of lobbyists and never turn away a politician looking for a contribution during “campaign season” (which is actually all year long).

Alas, when will they learn that we don’t need fancier weapons—just more soldiers with awesome names like this young warrior. Although, I must admit, even I’m pissed at Obama for scrapping plans to develop this giant dragon-shaped tank…