Archive for May, 2010

Lake Pirates Mess With Texas

May 30, 2010

Mexican lake pirates don’t scare me nearly as much as the thought of Tea Baggers in wet suits.

If you thought old white people were going crazy about having a black president, just wait until they find out about this. According to FoxNews, the newest threat facing our nation is… MEXICAN LAKE PIRATES!

Bassmasters beware, here’s how Fox describes the situation: “The waters of Falcon Lake normally beckon boaters with waterskiing and world-record bass fishing. But this holiday weekend, fishermen on the waters that straddle the U.S.-Mexico border are on the lookout for something more sinister: pirates. Twice in recent weeks, fishermen have been robbed at gunpoint by marauders that the local sheriff says are “spillover” from fighting between rival Mexican drug gangs.”

Will Texas call in the Air Force to defend Americans' right to waterski?

When the US media was covering the Somali pirates, they ignored the fact that most of the “pirates” were basically just fishermen who had been screwed over by multinational corporations that were poaching their fish and dumping nuclear waste into their waters. So I’m not going to rush to judge these so-called Mexican lake pirates before I hear their side of the story – They could have a perfectly valid reason for fucking with the Texans. Maybe the Texans were blasting really crappy country music and the Mexicans just couldn’t take it anymore, so they stole their radio.

Anyway, I’m just worried that the US Navy – which has been training dolphins to fight terrorists – might try to enlist some freshwater dolphins to take on these lake pirates. It’s bad enough that the military has drafted marine mammals into the War on Terror – it would really be a shame if they turned dolphins into border guards, too.

Let me see your papers.

Don’t Ask Rush Limbaugh to Take Care of Your Plants Next Time You Go on Vacation

May 20, 2010

Judging by the view from Rush Limbaugh's apartment, the coastline still looks fine. (Yes, Rush actually owns this place -- but who's his interior decorator? This looks like the bedroom of Jimmy Buffet and Marie Antoinette's offspring.)

Rush Limbaugh is still pretending that the BP oil disaster is no big deal, despite the fact that the Louisiana coast is now greasier than Mickey Rourke. Rush serves up more whoppers than Burger King – he claimed for years that nicotine isn’t addictive – so I never really considered the guy Mr. Wizard, in the science department, but his latest claim is even more absurd than the décor of his $14 million New York apartment.

Rush dismissed the devastating effects of this environmental catastrophe by saying that “oil can be a great fertilizer.”

Wow, I can’t wait for the next nuclear plant meltdown so I can hear Rush defend it by claiming that all that radiation will be like free chemotherapy for people with cancer.

Rush Limbaugh's heart. (Just kidding, it's really a tar ball, but what's the difference?)

More Good News for People Who Like Shiny Metal

May 13, 2010

I wonder if there’s a leprechaun inside.

Here’s a story that’s sure to excite rappers, libertarians and James Bond villians: A hotel in Abu Dhabi has installed a machine that dispenses gold. According to AP, “The ATM-style kiosk in the Emirates Palace monitors the daily gold price and offers small bars up to 10 grams or coins with customized designs.”

I kind of wish they would install one in my neighborhood so I wouldn’t have to keep shaving slivers off of the gold bar that I keep under my bed ever time I need to tip the pizza boy. On second thought, a gold-spewing machine would probably attract unsavory characters… like Glenn Beck and his fans.

Just a reminder that this is where gold actually comes from. If you thought that genocide of indigenous people only happens in James Cameron movies, check out http://www.protestbarrick.net/ for the full story.

Land exposed to gold mine runoff water. Scariest before/after image I've seen since...

Why Doesn’t Nike Just Put the Homeless to Work in Their Sweatshops?

May 12, 2010

Remember when high tops with “pumps” started coming out in the early 90’s? Everyone knew it was a gimmick, but at least it made sense in theory. When you’re shooting hoops and you’re about to charge the paint for an in-your-face tomahawk dunk, you’ll want to pump some more air into your kicks to cushion the landing when you come thundering back down to earth, right?

But why the hell would you ever put audio production equipment inside of a shoe? The only reasoning I can think of behind this new ad campaign in Japan is that Nike needed to come up with something outrageously distracting to draw attention away from the fact that this multinational mega-corporation recently bought a public park from some shady Tokyo politicians and is now evicting all the homeless people.

This is the literal equivalent to shaking your shiny keys in front of a baby to make them forget about the shit in their diaper.

Remember the good old days before everything had to have something else built into it?

Is This Guy Running for Congress or Auditioning for a Job at FoxNews?

May 9, 2010

I can’t wait to see Dan Fanelli’s first debate. I hope it goes something like this:

Moderator: Mr. Fanelli, what’s your policy on national security?

Dan Fanelli: I’ll send our enemies where they belong – and that’s not to a courtroom.

Moderator: Just pack ‘em off to Gitmo, huh? Even though the majority of arrests on “terrorism” charges have resulted in acquittals or been dropped completely because the government is so desperate to make headlines that they’re willing to book people on bogus cases?

Dan Fanelli: Well, let me be clear. I would only support torturing and illegally detaining Muslim or other brown-skinned terrorists. If the people advocating the violent overthrow of the U.S. government are white or pinkish, I actually think they should have more guns. God Bless America.

Moderator: And what about your own background – despite your constant spewing of clichéd Republican sound-bites about stopping “Big Government,” your entire professional career has been funded by taxpayers. You were a Navy pilot and let’s not forget that the government has been known to spend billions of dollars to develop planes that are never even used in combat. Then you worked as a commercial pilot for a major airline that is only able to exist because the airline industry is so heavily subsidized by the U.S. government.

Dan Fanelli: So what’s your question?

Moderator: Are you an idiot?

Dan Fanelli: No… USA! USA! USA!

Moderator: I noticed on your Web site that point 4 of your “8-Point Plan” is: “Respect all human life and support strond family values.” Is that a typo? Did you mean to say “strong family values?”

Dan Fanelli: No, I support those, too, but my real priority is Strond family values. Strond is a small town in Denmark’s Faroe Islands renowned for it’s annual whale and dolphin slaughter. In Strond, it’s a rite of passage for young men to kill their first whale or dolphin.

That’s what I’m talking about when I say Strond family values – fuck marine mammals and fuck the terrorists. Nuke ‘em all and let the ACLU sort out the bodies and then we’ll nuke them, too. Drill baby drill!

Moderator: Ok, I’ve had enough. Time for you to go back to your gated community – I think Glenn Beck is almost on and I know you wouldn’t want to miss that.

Dan Fanelli: I Tivo’d it.

Moderator: Fine, any last remarks?

Dan Fanelli: Ronald Reagan shock and awe I want my country back 9/11 founding fathers Obama is a Muslim guns guns guns with us or against us stem cells are bad… fuck the dolphins!

Not In My 171,000-Acre Vanity Ranch

May 7, 2010

This is not picture of billionaire Louis Bacon, but it's what he's acting like.

Although the media likes to break everything down into “he said/she said” sound-bites, most issues are pretty complicated. Nothing is really as simple as it seems on the surface, and in order to develop a critical analysis, you need consider things from various perspectives and weigh each argument delicately, like a fancy truffle.

That’s why it’s so refreshing when billionaires act egregiously douchy – because it makes figuring out who the bad guy is so easy.

Most billionaires are acutely aware that their vast privilege makes them targets of scorn and envy, so they employ their wealth and power stealthily. When advancing Mr. Burnsian agendas, they use loopholes and facades to influence events from behind the metaphorical curtain.

But not hedge fund titan and founder of Moore Capital, Louis Bacon – this guy’s about as smooth as a frat boy on spring break trying to get laid with a pick up like “nice shoes, wanna fuck?” Moore wields his power like a snot-nose little kid who just got a toy light saber.

According to AP, a huge project to transfer solar energy across Colorado has been delayed and may be reduced in capacity because Bacon doesn’t want the proposed power line to run across his 171,000-acre vanity ranch – the largest privately-owned piece of land in Colorado. This one dude is screwing up Colorado’s respectable efforts to shift from relying on nasty, harmful fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy. And he owns a ranch nearly twice the size of Manhattan.

If he doesn’t like transmission lines, it’s not like he doesn’t have anywhere else to hang out. He also has crash pads in the Bahamas, the Upper East Side, a Long Island estate (which includes a hunting lodge on nearby Robins Island, all of which is owned by Bacon), a grouse moorland in Scotland and three private polo grounds.

Perhaps being recently named to the list of UK’s Top 50 Richest People gave Bacon the urge to throw his weigh around ostentatiously like break-dancing sumo wrestler. Or maybe he’s bummed that his hedge fund just got slapped with a $25 million penalty for attempting to manipulate the platinum and palladium markets… but I don’t know, that’s couch cushion money for a baller whose wealth boomed by an estimated 69% last year.

No, it’s probably since he’s given so much loot to protect the environment over the years that now he feels entitled to fuck it over because there’s a downside in it for him. As his spokesman said, “Mr. Bacon is and has long been well known for his deep and long-standing support of environmental conservation.”  Just in case you didn’t get it the first time, his spokesman added, “He is a nationally known environmental conservationist.”

Now, even though NIMBYism gets a bad rap, a lot of the time it’s totally justified. Can you blame people with little kids for not wanting an incinerator setting up shop down the block? Or Native American tribes for not wanting their sacred burial sites turned into a nuclear waste dump? But a billionaire “environmentalist” blocking a clean energy project –  put that one in the NIMBY Hall of Shame next to the Cape Codders who tried to block the wind farm and the Castro neighborhood business association that blocked a shelter for teen runaways a few years back.

Nuke the Rainforest: That Would Make As Much Sense

May 4, 2010

“One size fits all” works fine with the “Snuggie,” but not so much for a national policy on levee maintenance. Could someone please tell that to the US Army Corps of Engineers?

Stories like this really make you wonder how our government was ever competent enough to send a man to the fucking moon.

According to an article in today’s Sacramento Bee, “The federal government is pressing forward with a policy that could require trees to be stripped from California levees, eliminating what shade and wildlife habitat remain along the state’s rivers.”

New guidelines on levee maintenance developed by the Army Corps of Engineers require levees to have nothing other than grass on them. In other words: goodbye foliage.

Right now you might be thinking, “Hey, don’t be a dick! I’m sure these professional engineers have a really good reason for this policy – they’re probably trying to keep you from drowning next time there’s a flood, Mr. Smartass.”

If that’s what you’re thinking: You’re wrong.

And why would you have that kind of faith in the Army Corps of Engineers, anyway? They were supposed to be in charge of the levees in New Orleans, too, and remember how that turned out?

Anyway, the Army does claim that trees along rivers can cause floods if they’re over-turned during storms and rip out chunks of levee, and they’re right about that… in the South. During hurricanes and tropical storms along the Gulf Coast, that’s exactly what happens. But in California – where we don’t get too many hurricanes – flooding is different and the trees actually strengthen the levees by binding the soil together with their roots.

Doesn’t the Army know we’re not part of the South? I mean, this isn’t the Middle East, where it’s pretty easy to get lost and end up fighting a war in Iraq when you were supposed to be in Afghanistan.

I guess cultural homogeneity could be partially to blame. After all, California is now chock full of Cracker Barrels, NASCAR fans (even in Sonoma County where tailgating fans beer bong Pinot Noir) and racist bumper stickers… so it’s not too hard to believe that the Army doesn’t understand the difference between Louisiana and California.

But this is quite a double-whammy, even for the Army. In the short term, they want to destroy what’s left of California’s thriving and biologically diverse river ecosystems. And in the long run, the flooding will be worse because removing the trees will actually weaken the levees. This plan is so evil and stupid that I hope it makes national news, because I would love to see FOX News and Rush Limbaugh figure out ways to defend it. Probably something about how protecting trees is all part of Al Gore’s phony climate change “agenda.”

Fortunately, there is one factor that may prevent the tree massacre from happening: it would cost $7.5 billion. All we need is another economic meltdown and then our government won’t be able to afford to cut down the trees.

Considering Congress’s characteristically inept and even more characteristically corrupt efforts to “reform” Wall Street and pass meaningful legislation to prevent another devastating bubble… well, let’s just say that those trees might not have too much to worry about after all.

The US Army "liberating" insurgent trees. Soon, unmanned drones will be called in to "pacify" extremist ferns and bushes hiding out in California's notoriously ungovernable mountain regions.

Instead of “Fatal Gunshot Wound,” Let’s Just Call it “an Ouchie”

May 1, 2010

A courtroom artist's depiction of Officer Johannes Mehserle

When is somebody who gets shot in the back while they’re lying face down on the ground not “a victim”?

On New Year’s Eve 2009, Johannes Mehserle, a white BART cop, killed Oscar Grant by shooting the young African American man while he was laying face-down on the ground. Following the release of a widely-viewed YouTube video and youth-led riots through the streets of Oakland, Mehserle was charged with murder. The trial was moved to Los Angeles because it was deemed that Mehserle “couldn’t get a fair trial” in Oakland.

Now Mehserle’s lawyers are trying to stack the rhetorical deck by convincing the judge that a guy who got shot to death by a cop should not be referred to as “the victim” – but “Mr. Grant,” instead.  That certainly sounds a lot more respectful “bitch-ass n*gger” – the term that BART cop Tony Pirone used to address Grant shortly before Mehserle shot him.

The lawyers also want Johannes to be called “Officer Mehserle” rather than “the defendant,” even though Mehserle quit the force six days after the shooting.

As long as they’re re-writing legal definitions, why stop there? If they really want to win over the jury why not really get creative?

Why not refer to Mehserle as “the hero” and Grant as “the thug”? Why not manipulate the YouTube video and sprinkle some digital PCP on Grant and put a gun in his hand?  In fact, instead of showing actual footage of the murder, why not just show the jury re-runs of the TV show “Cops” until they decide to acquit Mehserle so they can just go home?

A courtroom artist's depiction of Mr. Grant.