Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

And Then the Invisible Hand of the Free Market Slapped Its Forehead

July 8, 2010

So what's the word on the street? Heard any good tips lately?

Your preschool teacher was right: One person can change the world.

Last year, Steve Perkins, a broker for PVM Oil Futures (company slogan: “The Oil Professionals”), went on a multi-day drinking binge and then proceeded to buy more than 7 million barrels worth of oil futures. These saucy antics drove the price of a kind of crude oil up to an eight-month high.

His company eventually lost millions on the deals and Perkins was banned from trading for 5 years in the UK, but this story proves something very powerful. If you think of the world financial system as a giant bulldozer with the power to literally move mountains (as when the price of coal goes up and mountaintop removal becomes viable) or even devastate millions of lives, which is what happens when speculative trading drives up the price of rice or corn, this story reveals that any drunken asshole can hop into the driver’s seat and send the whole system lurching towards the nearest cliff.

...But I didn't really hit bottom until I bought all those shares in Chrysler... uuuuuh

Steve Perkins just had a few too many whiskeys and turned his life into a mash-up of Leaving Las Vegas and Wall Street. He wasn’t some evil genius, just some lush trader whose balls apparently got bigger with every drink until he decided that cornering the market on crude futures in the middle of a bender was a good idea. Imagine if someone who knew what they were doing tried to cause some real damage?

First, we'll get hella fucked up -- then we'll swap some collateralized debt obligations! Let's fucking paaarty!

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Like the Taliban but Whiter and Way More Guns

July 2, 2010

If Rand Paul ever makes it to the White House, I think we all know who he'll be tapping for Vice Prez...

“New Study Shows That Majority Of Americans Want Their Warlord Leaders To Focus More On Economic Issues.” That headline was a Tweet from The Onion today as part of it’s future-headlines series: #NewsIn2137

Unfortunately, it looks like we could be dealing with warlords in this country a lot sooner than 2137. The hot trend in right-wing campaign ads this season seems to be gun fetishism (surprise!). Touting the NRA’s seal of approval is certainly nothing new for the GOP, ads like this one from Arizona’s Pamela Gorman take it to a new level of absurdity.

Now, unlike many lefties, I’m not a big fan of gun control. How are we supposed to celebrate weddings, mourn at funerals, or pass the time when we’re bored without shooting guns in the air? OK, there are actually much better reasons for supporting the second amendment, like not wanting the State to have a monopoly on firearms, but for Republicans to act like this is the most important issue facing out country right now is stupider than Forrest Gump at a nitrous party.

After all, the Supreme Court just ruled in favor of gun rights this week and Obama hasn’t done anything to suggest that he’s about to take away our ability to purchase weapons that could turn an armored car into Swiss cheese, so why are the Tea Partiers’ all getting their star-spangled panties in a twist?

Here are two explanations to that question:

1)    It’s easy. In US politics, guns symbolize the brand that these kinds of politicians want to associate themselves with. Tough, “law and order”, no nonsense, old fashioned, etc. These are the associations that conservative voters have with leaders who flaunt their firearms. Plus, by focusing on guns (and the brainless, never-ending mantra to cut taxes), these politicians can ignore the complexities of real issues facing us today. If Pamela Gorman tried to talk seriously about an issue that’s actually a major threat to our country like the need for transparency in the derivatives market, her supporters – most of whom I assume are constantly drooling anyway – would probably either fall asleep or start playing with whatever shiny object is closest.

2)    These people want to live in a fantasy world where they get to play the patriotic militia leader Rambo role and rise up against the New World Order and the “antichrist” black president. Media Matters just posted a great summary of how all the right-wing radio hosts are now proclaiming that we’re on the verge of a civil war. Many of these people are already living in a loony tunes universe where the Earth is only 6000 years old, abstinence-only education actually works, and Jesus will be coming back any day now riding a unicorn made of Bibles. The formerly fringe culture of survivalists has gone mainstream (with “crisis garden” commercials running on the number one-rated cable news network – FOX) and upscale (with next generation bomb shelters designed to look like luxury cruise liners).

Yeah, like the zombies really won't be able to find you down there.

Now, I’m not saying that the government isn’t totally messed up at every level and that it is doing and proposing lots of scary things, like an “emergency kill switch” for the Internet. But electing politicians based on the caliber of weapon that they’re stroking in their campaign ad isn’t the way to make things better – unless you want Congressional hearings to look like the climax scenes in Quentin Tarantino movies…

Although Dale Peterson does make a pretty convincing case about the Facebook thing…


But what the hell is this? It looks like a cross between a Tea Party wet dream and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure…

‘Shop Off Their Heads!

June 24, 2010

"Wait. So you're telling me this isn't real?"

When Joseph Stalin began into his Axl Rose-like descent into maniacal paranoia, he had comrades who “betrayed” him not only murdered, but wiped from the pages of history, as well. His propaganda squad would use literally erase Stalin’s ex-henchmen from photographs in an attempt to purge even the memory of his enemies from the collective consciousness.  Of course, Russians drink so much vodka that resorting to this crude revisionism was probably unnecessary, but I guess Uncle Joe was kind of a dictator about stuff like that.

So, flash-forward a few decades and look who’s taking an exacto knife to the history books now: the anti-smoking crowd. According to the UK’s Daily Mail, a British museum features a giant poster of Winston Churchill above the main entrance – but his iconic cigar has been Photoshopped out! Not only is this unsavory from a historical standpoint, but now Churchill looks like Dick Cheney. (If Dick Cheney wasn’t a draft dodger.)

According to the article, the origin of the Photoshopped image is “a mystery,” but this isn’t the first time that the anti-smoking lobby airbrushed a famous stogie. On the cover of a British school textbook, a cigar was removed from the mouth of a renowned engineer to avoid “offense.” Now, I’m not trying to stand up for the tobacco industry – I would be totally fine if BP used the bodies of Big Tobacco execs to stuff up the oil geyser in the Gulf. However, let’s leave revising historical record to psychotic totalitarians, shall we?

“He who controls the Photoshop controls the future.” –George Orwell

“Why are you trying to chop off history’s dick?” –Sigmund Freud

Speaking of creepy fascists (what a coincidence!) The Washington Times ran a Photoshopped photo of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan wearing a turban today. This fraudulent picture was apparently meant to illustrate neo-con Frank Gaffney’s conspiracy theory masquerading as an op-ed involving Shariah law, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Wall Street bailout. The only thing that makes less sense to me than the logic of this article is the fact that Gaffney – who previously tried to blame Saddam Hussein for the ’93 World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings – somehow runs a “think tank.”

Nice job, right-wingers. I could have done it better with safety scissors and a glue stick.

Happy Father’s Day: Here’s What I Won’t Be Getting My Dad

June 20, 2010

Need some last minute shopping ideas? Well... don’t ask this guy.

Non-Recommendation #1

If you’re dad was a huge fan of the Nisour Square Massacre in Baghdad he’s sure to love this inspirational mousepad from the mercenary gang Blackwater. All proceeds go to cover transportation expenses for Blackwater founder Eric Prince, who is reportedly preparing to flee impending criminal indictments by moving to the United Arab Emirates, which doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the U.S.

Nothing says “I love you dad” like fascist office supplies.

Non-Recommendation #2

“Hey, dad, remember when we used to play catch in the front yard? Just you and me, tossing the football back and forth on a brisk Sunday afternoon… I can picture the golden leaves gently falling from the trees as the seasons turned. When you would tell me to “go long” and I would charge across the lawn with my arms open for the Hail Mary pass, I always felt so proud catching ball. Like a real man…

Anyway, isn’t it great that we never had to worry about  white phosphorous bombs melting our faces off? I hope you like this propaganda celebrating the continued oppression of Palestinian children…

It looks like AIPAC got Uncle Sam a new hat.

Non-Recommendation #3

One more thing I won’t be getting my dad this year: Anything from Wal-Mart. Not that I would have been shopping at Wal-Mart anyway, but this new story about how a young gay worker was “outed” by his boss, stripped of his responsibilities and forced to wear a yellow vest during work hours reminded me of what a terrible corporation this is.

Don't expect Walmart to be flying the rainbow flag anytime soon.

Salt: Still Safer Than Anthrax and Tastier, Too!

June 1, 2010

You'll know that the food industry lobbyists have won when you start seeing ads for this new "protein shake" popping up at your local health club.

Despite government health experts’ claim that cutting salt consumption could save 150,000 lives a year, the processed food industry is “working overtly and behind the scenes” to “delay and divert” potential regulation or guidelines.

According to the New York Times, trying to get corporations like Kellogg, Kraft Foods and Cargill to cut back a little on the salt is like trying to get a tweeker to reduce their meth  consumption – they just don’t wanna give up those little white crystals.

Corporate “flavorologists” argue that processed food tastes like “cardboard” or “damp dog hair” without added sodium, so unless you want crackers that taste like a homeless guy was sleeping inside of them or cookies that taste like a mutt’s wet ass, you better just learn how to deal with that hypertension, grandma.

Well… actually, they admit that you can make processed food taste better simply by using fresher ingredients instead of just dumping more salt into them, but that would “risk losing profits.” So instead of investing in healthier food, the food industry is throwing millions and millions into a massive marketing push with junk science and PR front groups like “The Salt Institute.

This is how the folks from The Salt Institute unwind after a long day at the propaganda factory.

Here’s my favorite clip from the Salt Institute’s Web site (and when you’re reading this, just remember that this is all funded by corporations that sell globs of chemicals designed to look and smell like food with names like “Green Slime” (a children’s cereal) and “Chicken Rings”):

Most are unaware of the 14,000 known uses for salt, how it’s produced and our success in ensuring the environmental compatibility as it provides the foundation for the quality of our lives. Mankind evolved from the sea and we have a saline “sea” within us as do all fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals. Environmental author Rachel Carson is best known for her book on birds, but she also wrote The Sea Around Us offering this insight: “When the animals went ashore to take up life on land, they carried part of the sea in their bodies, a heritage which they passed on to their children and which even today links each land animal with its origins in the ancient sea.”

Excuse me while I wipe a salty, delicious tear from my eye – but you’ve just gotta love the corporate behemoths responsible for FrankenFoods and the dominance of factory farms quoting the godmother of the modern environmental movement. These guys must have giant, genetically modified balls to feed us propaganda so ridiculous that if irony was a dude his head would have just exploded.

Cargill’s “Salt 101” campaign is another wonderful case study in corporate psychology and ethics. In response to more and more scientists warning us that excess salt leads to terrible health problems and premature death this company launches an pro-salt advertising blitz that suggests “sprinkling it on foods as varied as chocolate cookies, fresh fruit, ice cream and even coffee.” This would be like if the gun industry put up ads saying “Shoot More People!” so they could increase bullet sales.

Cargill even recruited Food Network celebrity chef Alton Brown to push the “put salt on everything” message. “You might be surprised,” Mr. Brown says, “by what foods are enhanced by its briny kiss.”

Mr. Brown, you can kiss my briny ass – I hope my butt sweat enhances the flavor.

This is the only Salt that I think we need more of…

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...

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!

Teapublicans Want You to Bomb the Capitol Building (Metaphorically, of course)

April 25, 2010

The new face of the Republican Party is pretty creepy... but its definitely an improvement over Dick Cheney.

Ever since the election of America’s first black president, Republican leaders and pundits have been invoking some pretty dubious role models. Texas Rep. Pete Sessions compared Republicans to the Taliban. Sean Hannity called a gathering of Tea Partiers “a bunch of Tim McVeigh wannabes” and they responded with wild applause. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachman organized an anti-health care reform rally on Guy Fawkes Day last year, where she described her followers as “insurgents” and urged these “freedom fighters” to storm the Capitol building to “scare” members of Congress.

Now, some might find it hypocritical for Bachman, a woman who has received more than $250,000 in welfare checks (in the form of corn and dairy subsidies for her family farm), to choose Guy Fawkes as the mascot for her anti-government crusade. Fawkes, after all, was a “terrorist” who was executed for attempting to detonate 36 barrels of gunpowder beneath the UK Parliament with the King and all the noble aristocrats inside.

Guy Fawkes: Hero of the Left or Paleo-Teabagger?

However, Bachman did resign from a school board over controversy involving the movie Alladin promoting “witchcraft;” belonged to a church that thought the Pope was “the anti-Christ;” and recently advocated armed revolution in response to Obama’s energy policy, so the Fawkes thing actually rates pretty low on the Bachman Wack-o-meter.

Anyhoo, getting back to the point, the Republican Governors Association just unveiled a new campaign called “Remember November” that not only rips off its title from the Guy Fawkes legend, but uses the famous “V” logo created by Alan Moore for his Fawkes-inspired comic book “V for Vendetta” (the “V” is subtly inserted into the word “NoVember” at the end of the video.)

Are they serious? It was silly when RNC chairman Michael Steele was co-opting dated rap lingo to sell an “off-the-hook” “hip-hop makeover” for the GOP, but this is just ridiculous. I knew that RGA President and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour was looney tunes when he said that not mentioning slavery in a proclamation about Confederate History Month “doesn’t matter for diddly,” but now he’s running a campaign that’s culture-jacking from Alan Moore – a vegetarian, anarchist pagan?!

Alan Moore: Serpent-Worshipping Hermit or the Next Karl Rove?

Plus, people dressed up like the “V” character were a staple at anti-Bush rallies for years. Republicans can’t steal this from left-wingers – that would be like if progressives started wearing tri-corner hats at street protests or if Glenn Greenwald wore a bow tie during his next MSNBC appearance. Some lines you don’t want to cross.

And, frankly, this is unfair. Right-wingers have so many action heroes to choose from. They made Arnold Schwarzenegger a governor. Chuck Norris was Mike Huckabee’s body-guard/confidant. Sylvester Stallone has recruited a whole horde of washed-up ‘roid-heads for a new anti-Hugo Chavez movie. Besides the blue guy from Avatar and Matt Damon, what kind of ass-kickers do the left have? Emma Goldman?

Instead of co-opting V for Vendetta, here’s a list of movies that I think would be more appropriate for the Teapublicans to use for their next campaign:

Grumpy Old Men
Why: Self-explanatory.

The Wrestler
Why: I think a lot of Tea Partiers should be able to relate to Mickey Rourke’s character: a creepy, over-the-hill white guy who is addicted to pain-killers (like Republican patron saint Rush Limbaugh).

300
Why: The violent, xenophobic nature of… actually, forget it. I don’t want to any super-sized wingnuts running around in loincloths and capes.

Groundhog Day
Why: Because Republicans always make the same mistakes over and over again (failed imperial military adventures; driving up the Federal budget after the say they’re going to “shrink government”; passing “family values” laws and then getting busted for gay affairs and/or soliciting sex workers; etc.)

A Day Without a Mexican
Why: I don’t think they would like the actual movie, but the GOP’s widespread support for Arizona’s new law that makes having brown skin probable cause for arrest indicates that most Republicans are supportive of this concept.

Road Warrior
Why: Mel Gibson, ultra-violent militias and everyone is obsessed with fossil fuel. ‘Nuff said.

OK, since I’ve given all this free advice to the Republicans, I really owe at least once suggestion to the Democrats. If the Dems decide to base a new campaign on movie, I think it should be…

The New Star Wars Trilogy
Why: It didn’t live up to the hype, it was hard for fans to follow the plot, and it didn’t close Guantanamo, just like the Obama Administration, so far…

"Yeah, I know I said I was going to ban corporate lobbyists from working in my administration, but if you don't quit bugging me about that I'll slice your arm off!"