Friday, January 30, 2009

Dangerous Criminal Dangerously Adorable

The graphics department in this newsroom deserves a Peabody. [hat tip Lee Camp via Huffpo]

Prez to Deal With Economy Same Way We Do, With Drink

Obama is famous for his cigarette smoking habits, and really, what goes better with the coughy-coughy than some bathtub gin. Our Prez is having a big fisting party (see below) at his Playboy Mansion, but you Hoovervillians aren't invited. From the NY Times [emphasis added]:

"Invitations are out: A presidential cocktail reception – for Congressional leaders only – is taking place on Wednesday evening at the White House."

WTF! Why can't this blog come! Not change-y enough for us, thank you very much. Oh whatever, we'll just go get high with Barney Frank.

Here is an informational video about the Obama's lovemaking technique.

Now You Know

Saddlebacking, defined.

CNBC Gets Mouthy

When this guy talks about the economy, he swears like we swear.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Atheismists are Positively Correct About Doubt

This one is also via Sullivan, from a reader of his. Nice little meditation about what atheists actually believe and stand for.

"The essential difference between atheism and a strong theism such as Christianity is that one makes specific, positive claims about the material universe that are untestable and for which there is no good evidence, and the other does not. It's quite true that a hypothetical atheist who was absolutely certain that "there's nothing out there" would be holding an indefensible position; but in practice, virtually no atheist--not even Dawkins or PZ Myers--feels that way
Remember: atheism as it is normally found in the real world says, "There is no evidence to support (for example) the Christian God, so until such evidence is presented, I maintain no belief in such a god and live under the assumption that he is not there." "

Mike Drucker and I are doing our (D)evangelical show at the PIT this Friday at 7pm. Come by. We'll also be going down to Atlanta, and hopefully DC for related shows in April.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Forces of Retardation of Humanity Still Trying to Retard Humanity

Found this, via Sullivan. It's an excerpt from what one might generously call an "article" Kathryn Jean Lopez "wrote" for something called She gives us all a desperately needed reminder of what an idiot she is, with the following [emphasis added]:

Rick Warren reminded us why all eyes were on the Capitol steps that Tuesday afternoon: “in His name.”

We’re a nation not just where you are free to believe or not to believe; we’re a nation founded for Him — so we could praise Him, so we could do His will. Warren began his prayer as a gentle reminder to those privileged with seats and every Joe sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial:

“Almighty God — our Father. Everything we see, and everything we can’t see, exists because of you alone. It all comes from you. It all belongs to you. It all exists for your glory.”

After a morning of “Obama!” chants, I would have loved to hear some of the crowd — or the president-to-be — join Warren in praying the Lord’s Prayer.

Big Yellow Turd

Folks, we have some sad news to report. Most of you who read this blog already know that our beloved Sound Fix Lounge will be closing down at the end of February. The Comic's Comic is reporting this news now, so we figure we can go public with it as well. Comedy Free Williamsburg will run at Sound Fix through the end of February, at which point the show will move to another location in Williamsburg, still to be completely finalized. It will probably be renamed The Bump, for those who remember the old times.

We'd just like to say how great everyone there has been, especially Tammy. In the next few days we'll write up a collection of memories from the past year there. Until then, we were thinking of posting the Cheers song, or Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" (paved paradise, and put up a parking lot...), but nothing sums up the way we're feeling here at ComedyandPolitics quite like the video below.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Krugman Sick of the Haters, Mad That He Got Floor Seats at the Lakers

Mild-mannered New York Times columnist Paul Krugman will, on occasion, rip his dress shirt in two and transform into a hulking Keynesian monster. This is one of those times.

He has had it up to here with all the stupid anti-stimulus talk he's been hearing lately. His rhetoric in today's Op-Ed is about as close as you can get in the Times to saying, "Seriously, ass-clowns, shut the fizz-uck up and let Dr. K-man operate."

He describes much of the anti-stimulus talk as "bogus," "fraudulent" "cheap shots." Those who espouse it are "dishonest flacks." And this next section really needs to be quoted in full:

"It’s true that the normal response to recessions is interest-rate cuts from the Fed, not government spending. And that might be the best option right now, if it were available. But it isn’t, because we’re in a situation not seen since the 1930s: the interest rates the Fed controls are already effectively at zero.

That’s why we’re talking about large-scale fiscal stimulus: it’s what’s left in the policy arsenal now that the Fed has shot its bolt. Anyone who cites old arguments against fiscal stimulus without mentioning that either doesn’t know much about the subject — and therefore has no business weighing in on the debate — or is being deliberately obtuse."

We say good for him. Bring the tough rhetoric. We're looking forward to next weeks column, tentatively titled, "Ah Nah, Now Y'all Done Got Me Pissed."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Journalism at its Finest

Every once in a while the mainstream media really rises to the challenge and presents a story that changes the social and political landscape. Dana Priest's investigation of CIA black sites and Charlie Savage's report on Bush's hundreds of signing statements both come to mind as some of the finest examples of contemporary journalism.

Today, Sarah Lyall of the New York Times joins those two in the upper echelons of the media elite, with a piece entitled "No Snickering: That Road Sign Might Mean Something Else," which is accompanied by this photograph:

One struggles to overstate the importance and hilarity of this article. For instance, we learn that for those who live on Butt Hole Road, life is anything but clean and regular:

“If they ordered a pizza, the pizza company wouldn’t deliver it, because they thought it was a made-up name,” Mr. Hurst said. “People would stand in front of the sign, pull down their trousers and take pictures of each other’s naked buttocks.”

As further proof of the existence of comically-named townships, the Times provides this delightfully labeled map:

And just to round it out, there's a place that doesn't appear on the map called Slutshole Lane, in Norfolk. Now you know.

Last month we awarded our first ever "Excellence in Journalism" award to the WSJ for an article exposing the hidden underbelly of Chuck E. Cheeses nationwide. We are proud to say our new champion of reporting is "Butt Hole Road." We did it, guys. We really did it.

Comedy Free Williamsburg Promo #2

Because no gesture is too late or too futile, here's the latest promo for CFW. It features our good friends Murderfist, Jon Savoy, and our terrific announcer Mo Diggs.

Existential Clarity Through Jackets and Such

If there's one thing this blog knows for sure it's that society is comprised of lonely, isolated, atomized persons, all desperately searching for some sort of distraction from the ultimate cosmic truth/cliche which states: everything that begins must end. As Bob Dylan so accurately sang:

"We sit here stranded/
but we all do our best to deny it..."

Truly, each person is alone, creating his or her own universe every moment of every day. That's what we thought, at least, UNTIL WE SAW THIS!

That dude is dressed exactly like me! (Have to drop the editorial "we" for this part of the post; it would be too weird otherwise) No way is that a coincidence. There is some sort of higher power at work, here. Seriously, look at that guy! Now, look at me! Do it! Look at me!

It's like he's wearing a "John Knefel" costume for christssake! Turns out we are not ultimately alone, God exists, and love is real. Our apologies for the confusion.

We will leave you with a quote from an episode of The Simpsons in which Homer finds himself in the exact same position that this blog is in.

"Oh my God, this guy is my identical twin...(gasp) THAT DOG HAS A PUFFY TAIL! C'mere puff ball!"

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Internet Radio

For anyone interested, we'll be on David Angelo's radio show tonight. All the necessary info is here. Please listen, spread around, etc.

You can listen to the show live from the website. It starts at 8pm EST, and if you want to call in (YOU SHOULD!), call (251)-300-JOKE.

Nir Rosen on "Terrorism"

Now that Israel's heroic massacre of Gaza is over, the article that we present below is totally out-dated and irrelevant, but we'll pass it along anyway, on the off chance that at some point in the future a native population fights back against their oppressor.

Nir Rosen, writing in the Guardian, argues that "the term 'terrorism' has proved a rhetorical smokescreen under cover of which the strong crush the weak." His analysis is more precise and eloquent than this blog is capable of producing, so we quote him at length, and highly recommend reading the whole piece.

"Terrorism is a normative term and not a descriptive concept. An empty word that means everything and nothing, it is used to describe what the Other does, not what we do. The powerful – whether Israel, America, Russia or China – will always describe their victims' struggle as terrorism, but the destruction of Chechnya, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the slow slaughter of the remaining Palestinians, the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan – with the tens of thousands of civilians it has killed … these will never earn the title of terrorism, though civilians were the target and terrorising them was the purpose.

Counterinsurgency, now popular again among in the Pentagon, is another way of saying the suppression of national liberation struggles.
Just as the traditional American cowboy film presented white Americans under siege, with Indians as the aggressors, which was the opposite of reality, so, too, have Palestinians become the aggressors and not the victims. Beginning in 1948, 750,000 Palestinians were deliberately cleansed and expelled from their homes, and hundreds of their villages were destroyed, and their land was settled by colonists, who went on to deny their very existence and wage a 60-year war against the remaining natives and the national liberation movements the Palestinians established around the world. Every day, more of Palestine is stolen, more Palestinians are killed. To call oneself an Israeli Zionist is to engage in the dispossession of entire people."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Microsoft SongSmith Now One More Reason to Ease Into Warm Bath of Madness

If anyone out there is on the brink of sanity, for whatever reason, and thinks that a small shove might send you into the gaping maw of unrelenting lunacy, we've got a finger to poke in your chest.

As far as we know this is real. We dare you to try to listen to the whole thing and not once contemplate the profound emptiness of modern life. You won't be able to do it, and you will understand loneliness, again, for the first time. [h/t sara k]

Diane Sawyer Enjoys Open Bars

Here is a video of her, clearly drunk, on the television. Please watch it.

Teflon Obama

Yesterday's swearing in of Pop sensation Barack Obama as our 44th Student Body President presented quite a few security problems for Government officials. One (awesome) security measure that this blog didn't even know about is something called "bullet-resistant clothing." This armor is somewhat less protective that a bulletproof vest, but somewhat more protective than a winning smile and positive disposition. More information, you ask? Of course [via Slate]:

"It's unclear what brand of body armor Obama sported at the inauguration, but several companies produce discreet, thinner vests that can be worn underneath clothing, inserted into an outer layer (like a coat) or woven into a shirt. Miguel Caballero, a Colombian company, makes bullet-resistant leather jackets, polo shirts, Windbreakers, and ruffled tuxedo shirts, which range from a few hundred dollars to $7,000 in price."

Wait wait wait. "Ruffled tuxedo shirts?" Yes. Yes, this blog would like a closet full of those, thanks. Combine those with our winning smile and positive disposition and we'll be untouchable, just like Mr. 44 himself.

Stress Already Getting to Obama

Life as we know it is over because the King of Pop, Barack Obama, is back to the nose candy, CNN is reporting. Since you all have nothing to live for now, here's a video that will cheer you up. It's by The Mountain Goats, and the SnowMan (Barack Obama) probably just should've sung this song three times for his inaugural speech, because it makes everything better (trust us). It's called This Year, and it will help Obama get through the rough patches better than doing keys in bathrooms will.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama and Gaza

Here's an exerpt from a wonderful article in The Nation, concerning the steps that the author believes need to be taken for a viable Two-State solution to work:

"Everyone knows what those steps must be, and it would be useful if Obama were to state them explicitly at the start. (No one will be shocked.) They are: the partition of Jerusalem, the dismantling of West Bank settlements (including, potentially, the resettling of 300,000 Jews), a land swap to rearrange slightly the contours of the West Bank for a Palestinian state, a multi-billion dollar package to provide for the refugees' right-of-return compensation, and the removal of the checkpoints, barriers, and blockades that have turned Gaza into a concentration camp and the destroyed the economy and the quality of life in the West Bank."

The Great Equalizer

He's bad, but he'll die. So I like it.
-- Art critic, on Marge's portrait of Mr. Burns, ``Brush with Greatness''

The above quote is taken from a Simpsons episode in which Marge paints Mr. Burns in the nude, thereby showing his frailty and, ultimately, his humanity. Below is C-SPAN video of Cheney in his wheelchair today.

Kennedy and Byrd Go Down

Politico is reporting that Ted Kennedy, who recently had brain cancer, and Robert Byrd, who is 120 years old, had medical problems at the lunch held immediately after Barack Obama became the King of Pop.

Kennedy, who was there at the Voting Rights Act, was presumably desperately hoping that he would be healthy enough to see the inauguration today. In May of last year, Byrd, who began his career as a member of the KKK, but later on recanted on his earlier beliefs, gave a tearful speech when Kennedy was undergoing surgery for his cancer.

Here's hoping they both make full recoveries and each live another 100 years, at which point they will both be 300 years old.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Gay Prayer

Gene Robinson, the first ordained, openly gay, non-celibate Bishop, spoke at Obama's inauguration today, but HBO didn't show the coverage. Here's the story.

And here's the video.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Come Friendly Bombs and Fall on Gaza...

Israel's heroic massacre of Gaza is now in it's 20th day, with no clear sign of the Zionist bravery letting up. One lesson that history teaches over and over again is that war is predictable and controllable, which is why this report today comes as such a surprise. From the NY Times:

"Israeli forces shelled areas deep inside Gaza City on Thursday, hitting the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and injuring at least three people in the compound, according to witnesses and United Nations officials.

A spokesman for the agency, Christopher Gunness, said that hundreds of Palestinians were sheltering in the compound at the time of the shelling and that there were five fully laden fuel vehicles at the site. He said two buildings were ablaze."

As the situation is Gaza worsens, more and more people are claiming that Israel might be committing war crimes. From the same NY Times piece:

"Also on Wednesday, nine Israeli human rights groups called for an investigation into whether Israeli officials had committed war crimes in Gaza. The groups say that tens of thousands of civilians in Gaza have nowhere to flee, the Gaza health system has collapsed, many people are without electricity and running water, and some are beyond the reach of rescue teams.

“This kind of fighting constitutes a blatant violation of the laws of warfare and raises the suspicion, which we ask be investigated, of the commission of war crimes,” the groups said in a news conference on the 19th day of the war."

Israel is also facing accusations, which they deny, that their Army is using white phosphorus as a weapon on civilians, which would be a war crime. White phosphorus is "a flare- and smoke-producing incendiary device or smoke-screening agent" that can be used legally in war for those two purposes, but may not be used as a weapon on local populations, because it is difficult to control and leaves its victims with horrible burns. CNN has confirmed that Israel has used White Phosphorus in the conflict, as has the Guardian. Here's the CNN footage, shot and posted 2 days ago.

The headline of this piece comes from a poem popularized by the BBC's The Office, which is here in full.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Joe vs the Arab, Friedman vs International Law

Child-reporter Joe the Plumber is in Israel because he has already sucked all the fame-blood from John McCain's varicose veins and he had to find a new country to ruin, or else he'd be forced to return to his rightful position as Governor of Alaska. Here he is in Sderot, Israel, telling Reuters how to do their goddamn job already, on behalf a Pajamas Media.

If you want even less nuanced "analysis" of the Slaughter of Gaza, here's Thomas Friedman's latest column, in which he writes, "look, if they didn't want us to bomb them, they shouldn't live in their homes!" Friedman wants to "educate" Hamas, the same way you might want to "save" an infidel, even if you have to kill him to do it. [Greenwald, as usual, has the best response.] Friedman describes Israel's war with Lebanon thusly:

Israel basically said that when dealing with a nonstate actor, Hezbollah, nested among civilians, the only long-term source of deterrence was to exact enough pain on the civilians — the families and employers of the militants — to restrain Hezbollah in the future.
That was the education of Hezbollah.
In Gaza, I still can’t tell if Israel is trying to eradicate Hamas or trying to “educate” Hamas, by inflicting a heavy death toll on Hamas militants and heavy pain on the Gaza population. If it is out to destroy Hamas, casualties will be horrific and the aftermath could be Somalia-like chaos. If it is out to educate Hamas, Israel may have achieved its aims.

The Palestinian death toll stands at 952, with over 400 of those deaths being women and children. One can't help but wonder what the "education" of their families might look like and result in. Juan Cole wrote last week about once such Arab who learned some lessons:

In 1996, Israeli jets bombed a UN building where civilians had taken refuge at Cana/ Qana in south Lebanon, killing 102 persons; in the place where Jesus is said to have made water into wine, Israeli bombs wrought a different sort of transformation. In the distant, picturesque port of Hamburg, a young graduate student studying traditional architecture of Aleppo saw footage like this on the news [graphic]. He was consumed with anguish and the desire for revenge. As soon as operation Grapes of Wrath had begun the week before, he had written out a martyrdom will, indicating his willingness to die avenging the victims, killed in that operation--with airplanes and bombs that were a free gift from the United States. His name was Muhammad Atta. Five years later he piloted American Airlines 11 into the World Trade Center.

We were going to include an extended bit about how Friedman said that the Arabs, concerning our occupation of Iraq, should "suck. On. This." because the USA is great! and then make the argument that, instead, he should "suck. On. This." and be "educated" by a group of abnormally large men right in his collective-punishment supporting mouth. Maybe we'll make that joke later.

In the News

23/6 is a humorous website that we contribute to on occasion, and has treated us well over the past few months that we've been involved. We don't stay up to date on the inner workings of the site, so this news came as a surprise to us. From Gawker:

"Just last month, IAC chief Barry Diller was chiding his fellow moguls for laying workers off in a recession and spending indiscriminately. So how does he explain getting rid of 23/6, his humor site?

The editors of the depressingly unfunny 23/6, whose idea of cleverness is a dancing Wolf Blitzer GIF, are not quite being cast out on the street. Instead, it is being rescued by Huffington Post, a partner in the joint venture with IAC. Arianna Huffington is turning the site into the Huffington Post's comedy "vertical."

The Huffington Post had promoted 23/6 online, but IAC had fronted all of the site's cash, sources tell's Jeff Bercovici."

Haha, Gawker, you hate everybody. Let's hope the website can stay afloat until this blog's traffic spikes to 10 million a day or whatever. As far as we know, the address is still

Here's our latest 23/6 piece about brave Democrats.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bush Thanks White House Press Corp for Never Doing Their Job Ever

Few things over the past eight years have been as broken and impotent as the White House Press Corp. That pack of groveling dogs wouldn't know the word adversarial if it shot them in the face. They, more than any other institution in this country--with the possible exception of the largely worthless Democratic congress--have abdicated their responsibility to watch over the government and report on its abuses of power.

Bush couldn't have been more thrilled with their collective performance, however, and so today he thanked them for being so spineless. The article states:

"Mostly, I’m interested in saying thank you for the job," Bush said.

Which can only be his way of saying, "if you guys did your job, I'd have been impeached by now. So...thanks."

Obama to Close Gitmo Once New Kangaroo Courts are Established

President-elect Barack Obama is a serious person, which is why he wants to "move forward, not look back" to investigate the Bush Administration's crimes. Now is a time to heal the country, not enforce the rule of law. He also told George Stephanopoulos that Gitmo wouldn't be closing until he can figure out what to do with all the prisoners whose evidence is "tainted," which includes confessions that were given under torture. Tainted evidence isn't admissible in a US (read: or any legitimate) court of law, so what do we do? Here's Obama's explanation (hat tip talk left):

"It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize," the President-elect explained. "Part of the challenge that you have is that you have a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom who may be very dangerous who have not been put on trial or have not gone through some adjudication. And some of the evidence against them may be tainted even though it's true.

And so how to balance creating a process that adheres to rule of law, habeas corpus, basic principles of Anglo American legal system, by doing it in a way that doesn't result in releasing people who are intent on blowing us up."

So now, to convince the world at large that we are a country committed to the rule of law, we're going to set up a new series of courts with relaxed legal requirements.

Leaks are coming out that Obama may state as early as his first day in office that he plans to close Gitmo. When that disgraceful torture center closes it will be a major step forward for this country. Then we can just go back to supporting dictators who do our work for us, and not be so goddamn out in the open about it.

"Media Should Be Abolished" Claims Joe the Plumber

Here is child-reporter Joe the Plumber stuggling to find words to use to express thoughts he doesn't have. He is a very sad, confused man who is so lost in this modern world that he longs for the simple time of news reels in movie theaters and World Wars in Europe.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Brave Democrats Support Massacre in Name of Peace

The Senate voted today on a resolution expressing "unwavering commitment" to Israel and its actions, placing all of the criticism on Hamas and none on Israel. As ThinkProgress notes, Democrats took the lead in drafting the legislation so they wouldn't be "out-hawked" by Republicans. Those Democrats represent their constituents very well, regardless of what the most recent Rasmussen Reports poll shows because fuck numbers:

Sixty-two percent (62%) of Republicans back Israel’s decision to take military action against the Palestinians, but only half as many Democrats (31%) agree. A majority of Democrats (55%) say Israel should have tried to find a diplomatic solution first, a view shared by just 27% of Republicans.

Only 31% of Democrats support Israel's military action, and yet their elected officials are out in front, drafting legislation in support of that very action. If this doesn't convince you that the two-party system in this country is a foul, vile, sickening parody of democracy, then you are probably an idiot. If you want to vote for a viable political party that won't support the massacre of Palestinians you need to move to another country. It is that simple.

Greenwald, once again, is the best place to turn for analysis. He writes:

It's hard to overstate how one-sided this resolution is. It "expresses vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders." Why should the U.S. maintain an "unwavering commitment to the welfare" of a foreign country? It "lays blame both for the breaking of the 'calm' and for subsequent civilian casualties in Gaza precisely where blame belongs, that is, on Hamas." It repeatedly mentions the various sins of Hamas -- from rockets to suicide attacks -- but does not mention a single syllable of criticism for Israel. In the world of the U.S. Congress, neither the 4-decade occupation of Palestinian land nor the devastating blockade of Gaza nor the ongoing expansion of Israeli settlements even exist. That may not be mentioned.

The Resolution demands that Hamas take multiple steps towards peaceful resolution but demands that Israel do absolutely nothing. It purports to call for a cease-fire in which the Palestinians make all the concessions and Israel makes none. Worst of all -- in light of the Red Cross condemnation, yesterday's slaughter at the U.N. school, and other similar incidents -- the Resolution disgustingly praises Israel's conduct of the war, claiming that "Israel has facilitated humanitarian aid to Gaza with hundreds of trucks carrying humanitarian assistance and numerous ambulances entering the Gaza Strip since the current round of fighting began on December 27, 2008."

Who's excited for the inauguration! It'll be fun and changey!

100% Chance of 40% Chance of 10% Decline= 4,000% Chance of Depression

The only two things you can rely on this blog for are wild speculation and irresponsible fear-mongering. It is in that spirit that we present this true fact: Nate Silver, the only man in the world you should trust other than your own father, is reporting that there is a 40% CHANCE THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A DEPRESSION!!!! NOOOO!!!!!! EVERYBODY OUT THE WINDOW! SELL! SELL OH GOD SELL!!!!!

Did you all sell and then jump out the window? No? Okay, then, here is what Nate wrote:

"According to a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted last month, 35 percent of Americans think that a "depression" -- which the poll defines as "an economic downturn that is much more severe than most recessions and would last several years" -- is very likely, and another 39 percent think it's at least somewhat likely."

That's scary. But Nate says wait a minute!

"But there is a somewhat more precise definition of a depression (although by no means is it one universally agreed upon by economists): that is a 10 percent decline in real GDP over the course of a year or more. This is the definition that the predictions market Intrade uses. And the latest trade at Intrade just put the chances of a depression occurring at some point in 2009 at 40 percent..."

According to Wonkette, which is where we first saw this, Intrade is a bunch of idiots who bet on what other people are predicting, not what they themselves actually believe, which is a good enough definition for us. But then Nate has more things to say about the number 40%:

"This is a shockingly high figure, both on its face and because I'm not sure that even the most pessimistic economists would place the chances of a sustained 10 percent decline in GDP at anywhere near 40 percent."

So Phil Gramm was right and we are a nation of stupid whining babies who should shut the hell up. Things won't be so bad, guys. Here is some more potentially good news from the wonderful people over at Marginal Revolution:

The TED spread is at 1.34, sharply lower. (improved)

Here is more on the progress of other economic indicators. None of it is sign of recovery, rather it represents progress toward having a "normal bad recession" rather than a major financial crisis.

That is the best news we've ever heard.

Beat Op-Ed

Saw a gem on Radoosh and had to pass it along. This Op-Ed piece from Binyavanga Wainaina, of the Johannesburg, South Africa Mail & Guardian, is unlike an Op-Ed we've ever seen before. Titled "Remember This Day," it reads more like Alan Ginsberg than David Brooks (we hate him so much), and although there is no real information to be gained from the piece, it's hard not to get swept up in the prose.

Check out this lede for christssake:

"If you have canine instincts, now is the time to piss on the four corners of your life so you can lift your nose and smell this month for the rest of your life."

Sweet lord that's a ballsy way to open! What follows is only part of the piece. Read the whole thing if you have a chance.

"Run. Run. As the whistle blows louder and louder. To the art gallery and spend $100-million on Damien Hirst’s new sculpture copied from a Genyuwyne Real Authentic Certified 19th-century skull — and cast in platinum and covered in 8 601 diamonds. The sculpture speaks to you. It is titled For the Love of God, What Are You Going to Do Next?

Cut all saturated fat, red meat. Buy small organic things, juice all your vegetables. You spend four times what you did before, but you save money in the long, long marathon of life, when you will die of a disease — but won’t diseases disappear because we know everybody’s genes?

Somebody will get into the car and tickle our tight washboard abs and make us giggle and start the flying car, vroom, and we are bouncing up and down on the back seat, our hypermuscles twitching as we head for America.

Soon we are hovering above the voting booth. You lean forward, hands on knees, breathing hard, on November 4. When you lie on the grass, your $3 000 carbon-fibre bicycle thrown carelessly to the side, watching the crowds in every city in America crying or cheering on your iPod, the sun in your eyes. You lean to the side for some shadow.

It will take 10 minutes to feel truly tired and free. You nap under the naked and dangerous sun, the election forgotten, the results not yet out. Your dog runs free in the park.

You walk home slowly, your bicycle a crutch, your iPod shut off, your ears confused by the muffled sounds of suffering life around you."

Desperate to Make Peace, Israel Kills Peacemakers

Day 13 of Israel's heroic massacre of Gaza, and the bad news just keeps on coming. From the AP wire:

"The United Nations halted aid deliveries to the besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday, citing Israeli attacks on its staff and installations hours after it said tank fire killed one of its drivers as he went to pick up a shipment.

The United Nations has already demanded an investigation into Israel's shelling of a U.N. school in Gaza that killed nearly 40 people earlier this week.
U.N. spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said the U.N. coordinated the delivery with Israel, and the vehicle was marked with a U.N. flag and insignia when it was shot in northern Gaza. The Israeli army said it was investigating."

Al-Jazeera adds:

"John Ging, the head of the UN relief agency in Gaza, said that the casualties were Palestinian civilian contractors contracted to bring supplies from the crossing points.

"They were co-ordinating their movements with the Israelis, as they always do, only to find themselves being fired at from the ground troops," he told Al Jazeera."

The Palestinian death toll now stands at 699, 219 of them children; 11 Israelis have died. We wrote yesterday that the UN believed that 25% of the dead were civilians. The AP report linked to above claims that half the dead are now believed to be civilians.

Over at Gawker, Hamilton comes to the correct, and depressing, conclusion that from a PR standpoint, Israel's timing is perfect. Can anyone think of a story that will dominate the news cycle for the next two weeks?

Plumber Reverses Role, Will Now Clog Tubes With Shit

Sammy Wurzelbacher [Joe the Plumber] rose to national prominence when John McCain lost his mind at the second debate and told America, "vote for me because I know some bald white guy who fixes toilets." We in the elite liberal media all had a good laugh at the day spa and then ate some caviar, all of us assuming that this idiot's Warholian fame was over.

Not so! says Pajamas Media, a website so vile that we hesitate even to link to it. They're sending Joe Sam to Israel to report on the latest violence, because who better to analyze the situation that someone who doesn't know anything. The site claims that, "the conservative hero and "everyman" will ask the common sense questions the experts miss." This is good news, because who isn't sick of people who know things asking all the questions? Although, in all seriousness, the general reporting in the American media on this issue is a disgrace, and Joe's dispatches won't be that different from anything you'd hear on Meet the Press.

What's Joe's take on the situation? Here's an excerpt from the CNN article on the subject [emphasis added]:

""It's tragic, I mean it really is,” Wurzelbacher told CNN affiliate WNWO “I don't say that in any little way. It's very tragic, but at the same time what are the Israeli people supposed to do.”

Wurzelbacher told WNWO he’s not worried about the potential dangers of his new gig. "Being a Christian I'm pretty well protected by God I believe. That's not saying he's going to stop a mortar for me, but you gotta take the chance,” he told the CNN affiliate."

Honestly, do we really need another religious fanatic in Israel/Palestine? "Being a Christian" protects you? So...what...Joey Sammy will be the only person in the region protected by God? Yes, ok, there are other Christians there, but you get the point, but Joe/Sam the Plumbman probably does not.

That's all for now, but once some of his reports start coming in we'll look at them and see if they differ substantially from anything the Brian Williams/Charlie Gibson/Katie Couric corporate hydra is saying.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Skeletons in Closet of New Head Spy are Actually Dead East Timorese

Hey everybody, here's another story about a bunch of civilians dying. Woo hoo following the news is ugh. Obama's new appointee to be the Director of National Intelligence appears to have an ugly history in Indonesia.

Admiral Dennis Blair is a retired Navy man, who appears to have done some pretty awful things against the East Timor independence movement. According to a report filed by Allan Nairn to The Nation in 1999, Blair was sent to Jakarta to tell Gen. Wiranto to shut down the militias that were responsible for much of the destruction against the East Timorese. Instead, he delivered the opposite message. Nairn writes [emphasis added],

"US officials say that this past April, as militia terror escalated, a top US officer was dispatched to give a message to Jakarta. Adm. Dennis Blair, the US Commander in Chief of the Pacific, leader of all US military forces in the Pacific region, was sent to meet with General Wiranto, the Indonesian armed forces commander, on April 8. Blair's mission, as one senior US official told me, was to tell Wiranto that the time had come to shut the militia operation down. The gravity of the meeting was heightened by the fact that two days before, the militias had committed a horrific machete massacre at the Catholic church in Liquiça, Timor. YAYASAN HAK, a Timorese human rights group, estimated that many dozens of civilians were murdered. Some of the victims' flesh was reportedly stuck to the walls of the church and a pastor's house. But Admiral Blair, fully briefed on Liquiça, quickly made clear at the meeting with Wiranto that he was there to reassure the TNI chief. According to a classified cable on the meeting, circulating at Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii, Blair, rather than telling Wiranto to shut the militias down, instead offered him a series of promises of new US assistance."

Democracy Now! has a report here, which is wonderful, as always.

Dianne Feinstein, who reacted negatively to Leon Panetta nomination, reacted positively to the Blair news. This whole endeavour is just exhausting. Oh Christ, listen to what she said (via TPM):

"I met Admiral Blair several years ago in Hawaii, when he headed the Pacific Command, and I found him to be very knowledgeable about national security and global affairs. His experience gives him valuable insight into the many challenges facing the intelligence community and makes him a strong nominee for Director of National Intelligence.
"Of critical importance to me is that the next DNI deliver on President-elect Barack Obama's pledges to end the CIA coercive interrogation program, ensure the rule of law is respected, and improve our intelligence collection and analysis capabilities in order to better assess all threats."

This is what Obama's goddamn tenure in office is going to be. This goddamn morning we posted about how the new head of the CIA has written IN WRITING ON PAPER that he refuses, beyond all question, to engage in torture. But that guy, Panetta, will report to a guy, Blair, who promised US aid and assistance to Wiranto, whose militias apparently skinned people.

FUN FACT: If you type "admiral" into Google, its first suggestion is "admiral ackbar." Here is a picture of the Mon Calmari hero. No, no picture, because blogspot sucks today. Picture to come later.

Picturing 25%

As the heroic Israeli massacre of Gaza enters its 12th day, prospects for both Gazans in the short term and peace in the long term look bleak. It is impossible to know how many Palestinians have been killed, but the number right now stands somewhere around 600. The International Committee of the Red Cross has been calling the situation a humanitarian crisis, and the UN is estimating that 25% of the dead are women and children.

In an attempt to illustrate how appalling that figure is, we present the following thought experiment.

City X has invaded City Y, and rounded up all of the "terrorists" (or whatever term City X chooses to use, eg, Nazis, Communists, kitties [if City X is populated by dogs], etc) in a giant compound inside the borders of City Y. The terrorists are sitting ducks, with no way out and limited sources of ammunition with which to fight back. The only problem is that City X inadvertantly rounded up women and children in the compound as well.

City X has the option of simply blowing the whole thing up, but that will look bad to the rest of the world. They choose instead to storm the building, going corridor to corridor, killing their enemies one by one. City X's soldiers are told to avoid shooting women and children, but they are also told that they must kill every single terrorist, and that if even one gets away, then City X will be in mortal danger.

The soldiers go through the compound, killing their enemies face to face, avoiding women and children if possible. But the scene is complete chaos, and every fourth kill turns out to be a child or a woman. The soldiers and their commanders realize what is happening, and realize that it is extremely likely that the ratio will continue to be this high, yet they continue their conquest, knowing full well that every fourth person they shoot will be an innocent civilian.

This is a horrifying situation, and is not meant as a direct analogy to the Israeli/Palestinian situation. It's just a smaller-scale way of imagining what 25% means, and that even given the assumed intentions of minimalizing civilian casualties, the results from this action are disproportionate and unjustifiable.

Dangerous Lunatic Refuses to Torture, Capitol Hill Erupts in Protest

Here's some more good news about Obama's pick to head the CIA. In a 2008 Washington Monthly editorial, Leon Panetta wrote:

"Those who support torture may believe that we can abuse captives in certain select circumstances and still be true to our values. But that is a false compromise. We either believe in the dignity of the individual, the rule of law, and the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, or we don't. There is no middle ground. We cannot and we must not use torture under any circumstances."

CNN is reporting that everyone on Capitol Hill, including Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, is criticizing Obama for this pick, because they all got waterboarded for most of the 70s and it really wasn't so bad.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Disposable Income Now Spent Exclusively on Digital Flatulence

Last night at a party we suggested that the number of times a person passes the ol' gas in an hour is an under-analyzed economic indicator. If you all truly are a bunch of bean eaters (as we here at ComedyandPolitics always suggest) because you are poor, then that means you are most likely passing an amazing amount of the ol' gas. This blog has certainly had it's bloated nights. What?

Okay, you're saying, I come here for jokes about turds in punchbowls, not gas in jean-pants. First of all, they're just called jeans. Second, we hope you like the taste of being wrong, because you're about to find out just how wrong you are.

It just came to our attention (via Balk) that there is a new application for the iPhone called iFart. Simply put, you can download it for $0.99 and your phone will, and there's no delicate way to put this, fart on demand. Fart constantly. Just gassin' and gassin' as much as you want it to. Right now your phone could be farting. Think about how awesome that is. Right your hand...your phone...could be of the many sounds...your ass makes.

ComedyandPolitics' official stance on this application is that it is the height of human achievement and those responsible must immediately be given cabinet-level positions in Obama's administration, either in the Department of Agriculture, or a newly created Department of Fartin' and Shit. Also, this app has been the most popular download for the iPhone for the past two weeks. That's right. What little money this country has left is being digitally pooted away on a $600 whoopie cushion.

We seriously do love this though. Check out just a few of the different farts you can choose from:

-Brown Mosquito
-Burrito Maximo
-Laundry Day [our favorite]
-Dirty Raoul
-Silent But Deadly

Here is the video so you can see it in action. We hope all of you gas-bags are happy with yourselves.

Israeli Offensive has Almost Killed Enough Palestinians to Ensure Lasting Peace

We haven't been writing about the Israeli offensive because it's very complicated, which is what people say if they are serious people. With brow appropriately furrowed, they courageously claim, "war is hell, no one wants this, but Israel must defend itself." Doesn't that seem so sophisticated? The answer is yes.

Ok, enough of the fun stuff. The best analysis of this situation, as usual, comes from Glenn Greenwald over at Salon. He argues, accurately, that whether or not you agree with Israel's actions, the United States should be neutral. Israel's interests aren't--or rather, shouldn't be--identical to America's, but when that country uses our tanks and bombs to reign down destruction on an occupied land, it necessarily engenders hatred both towards Israel and America.

For a good report on the current situation in Gaza, here is a video from Amy Goodman at Democracy Now! She is fantastic, and if you have an hour to kill at work, we highly recommend watching this report in full.

From the mainstream press, the NY Times has an editorial today that really must be read in full to be believed. It exemplifies the one-sidedness of the way every major media outlet and pundit in America thinks about this situation. Here is what the so-called left-wing liberal media in this country wants to see happen:

"Israel, aided by the United States, Europe and moderate Arab states, must try to end this conflict as soon as possible and in a way that increases the chances for negotiating a broad regional peace."

And with a straight face, they also write that the death toll is now at 550 Palestinians to 5 Israelis, so, yeah, um, both sides are going to be ready to make peace equally any day now. But don't end this now. End it as soon as possible. Whenever's good for you.

Also, let it be said that Hamas shouldn't be shooting missles at Israel. It's obvious, but if you don't say that and criticize Israel you're asking for a hurtin'. Ok that's it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

No One in CIA Is Crime-free Enough to Deserve Promotion

Barack Obama has announced that his CIA Director will be Leon Panetta, former Clinton Chief-of-Staff and total non-spy guy. The NY Times, who has a history of shitty reporting concerning the CIA, reports:

"Given his background, Mr. Panetta is a somewhat unusual choice to lead the C.I.A., an agency that has been unwelcoming to previous directors perceived as outsiders, such as Stansfield M. Turner and John M. Deutch. But his selection points up the difficulty Mr. Obama had in finding a C.I.A. director with no connection to controversial counterterrorism programs of the Bush era."

So we suppose that means that everyone in the CIA is a criminal who wouldn't stand up to Congressional approval.

We'll report more on this Panetta character as more dirt comes out, but for now he actually doesn't sound like that bad a guy. He enforced the Civil Rights act even though then-President Nixon said, "no more civil rights!" (direct quote) and he also tried to prevent oil drilling off the California coast. No word yet on his feelings about committing war crimes. It seems like it should be a given, but it should be clear by now that nothing should be taken for granted.

Hyundai Wants You to Buy Car You Will Soon Be Living Out Of

It appears that Hyundai, the perpetual "also ran" of car companies, is taking the concept of Truth in Advertising to a new and uncomfortable place. Their latest ad informs potential car buyers that they can,

"Finance or lease any new Hyundai, and if in the next year you lose your income*, we'll let you return it."

Nothing like reminding people that they will soon be unemployed to loosen up those wallets. We're not sure who, exactly, this ad is targeted to, other than the now-discredited proto-typical American Consumer who lives far beyond his or her means.

"Honey, I've got good news and bad news, and then more good news."
"Okay, what's the first good news."
"I bought a new car this morning."
"Now the bad news?"
"I got fired this afternoon."
"And the more good news?"
"I returned the car in the early evening."
"So, really, you lost your job and then wasted your day pretending you owned a car."
"I said 'vroom vroom' a lot honey. It would've been a great car."

Here's the ad. If you're wondering what the "*" footnote in the quote above refers to, it's probably something like:

*Hey assclown, this will not be as easy as it sounds. Just a fair warning.

All Gold in Fort Knox Not Enough to Put Humpty Together Again

Here is a quick round-up of what people who think about money think is happening with all of our money right now.

Paul Krugman is a very sad man:

"The fact is that recent economic numbers have been terrifying, not just in the United States but around the world. Manufacturing, in particular, is plunging everywhere. Banks aren’t lending; businesses and consumers aren’t spending. Let’s not mince words: This looks an awful lot like the beginning of a second Great Depression."

He goes on to write that the only way out of this shitshow is through deficit spending.

"Under Mr. Bernanke’s leadership, the Fed has been supplying liquidity like an engine crew trying to put out a five-alarm fire, and the money supply has been rising rapidly. Yet credit remains scarce, and the economy is still in free fall.

Friedman’s claim that monetary policy could have prevented the Great Depression was an attempt to refute the analysis of John Maynard Keynes, who argued that monetary policy is ineffective under depression conditions and that fiscal policy — large-scale deficit spending by the government — is needed to fight mass unemployment. The failure of monetary policy in the current crisis shows that Keynes had it right the first time. And Keynesian thinking lies behind Mr. Obama’s plans to rescue the economy."

Owen Thomas, formerly of ValleyWag and now at Gawker, is sceptical:

"That's why I think the recession could be far longer than the 18 months most economists predict. Where, exactly, is growth supposed to come from? U.S. consumers and businesses are reeling from debt. The rest of the world is hardly better off. The expectation that government spending will lift us out of this mess seems akin to expecting that President Change will deliver us all a new bicycle."

And finally, from those bastards over at The Nation, a call for every dollar in America to be spent on this new stimulus package. They call for even more than Krugman!

"The senior economist of the International Monetary Fund recently warned of another Great Depression.

We don't need a stimulus, we need a recovery. And that means investing $1 trillion over the next two years."

Holy hell that's a spicy meat-a-ball. The article continues:

"Obama political adviser David Axelrod said this weekend that the new Administration is looking at a stimulus bill in the range of $675 to $775 billion over two years. But is that enough at this moment of metastasizing economic pain and deepening recession? Not according to CPC Co-Chair, Representative Lynn Woolsey of California, who said, "...anything much less than $1 trillion would be like trying to put out a forest fire with a squirt gun.""

Still no word on what our bowling buddy Mike G. thinks about all this. We will have a mutual friend harass him and get you faithful readers some inside info.

Al Franken is a Big Fat Senator

ComedyandPolitics is back guys, and in a big way. This New Year, expect all the hard-hitting original reporting you've come to take for granted from this blog, as well as a few surprise features, such as "Unnecessary Feuds to Drive Up Traffic" and "You Professional Journalists Think You're So Fucking Smart." So here we go with the latest story out of Minnesota, a state that takes its elections less seriously than curling, the official state sport that involves brooms and a lot of down time.

Apparently, former comedian Al Franken will be installed as Funny Senator by the state election board on Monday, CNN is reporting. This national recount nightmare is far from over, though. According to the story,

"The canvassing board on Monday will say a recount determined Franken won by 225 votes, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie told CNN.

However, Coleman's campaign, which contends the recount should have included about 650 absentee ballots it says were improperly rejected in the initial count, has indicated it will challenge the certification."

If ever this country needed an election to be decided by a gentlemanly duel, this is that day.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Seven Year Itch

We've had a fair amount of time off here at ComedyandPolitics, but we're glad to be on the verge of getting back to our regular posting routine. Today's Sunday Afternoon Classics clip is from The Seven Year Itch, starring Marilyn Monroe, although she's not in the clip we're posting below. No, what we're posting is a scene about a problem that this blog is very familiar with: the problem of animal magnetism. Tom Ewell is simply so attractive to women that they can't stay away. They are drawn to him for reasons they don't understand, which as we know firsthand is a tough way to live.

This scene is reminiscent of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, another movie about a middle-aged man who lives in a fantasy world. Maybe we'll post something from that fine film next week. Until then, enjoy.