Columbus Day

Happy Columbus Day. My favorite part about this holiday is how I’m complicit in genocide. For the best celebration tips, visit Jeffrey Rowland’s Overcompensating.


Hitler's Tea Party Endorsement

You may look at this cartoon by Monte Wolverton and think that it’s unfair. You may say, for instance, that Nazi analogies are never productive, and that however eccentric the Tea Party may be, they are no Nazis.

It’s not like they advocate throwing people into concentration camps, right?

It’s not like they view homosexuals as diseased sub-humans, right?

It’s not like they oppose civil rights, right?

It’s not like they march around in SS uniforms, right?

Yeah, that last one kind of stings, don’t it? This is what GOP/Tea Party candidate Rich Iott had to say in defense of his hard-on for the Third Reich:

I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that here was a relatively small country that from a strictly military point of view accomplished incredible things. I mean, they took over most of Europe and Russia, and it really took the combined effort of the free world to defeat them. From a purely historical military point of view, that’s incredible.

Yes, incredible. Another incredible thing they did was build a shower big enough for two thousand people. From a strictly architectural point of view, that’s just admirable.

Listen, as much as you may believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and that it’s important to respect other people’s points of view, it is equally important to call a Nazi a Nazi.

And also, they fucking started it (see also here and here). Go make them be fair.


Banksy's Couch Gag

I was just having a conversation about how The Simpsons might still find a way to surprise us after 21 years, and then they go and have British street artist and agitator Banksy direct this week’s opening sequence. And it’s dismaying.

The only thing I find funny about the opening is the dismembered dolphin head the merchandise department uses to apply adhesive to the boxes of cat-filled Bart dolls. That’s it.

Update: The New York Times talked to one of the producers this afternoon and got the scoop. Apparently, no one from the show actually met Bansky, and they animated the sequence entirely from his storyboards. And Fox signed off on it:

Q. Has Banksy’s criticism made you reconsider any of the ways you do things at “The Simpsons” in terms of producing the show or its merchandise?

A. I have to say, it’s very fanciful, far-fetched. None of the things he depicts are true. That statement should be self-evident, but I will emphatically state it.

Q. A lot of the show’s animation is produced in South Korea, but not under those conditions.

A. No, absolutely not.


#67. What a World


"I'm You"

Taegan Goddard pointed out this hilarious parody of Christine O’Donnell’s “I’m Not a Witch” ad.


McCain: "The Man Who Never Was"

Sensing, perhaps, that I was about to make hating John McCain cool again, Vanity Fair has published a terrific retrospective of the foreign-born Senator’s long history of ass-covering, ass-kissing, and ass-being:

The prevailing question about John McCain this year is: What happened? What happened to that other John McCain, the refreshingly unpredictable figure who stood apart from his colleagues and seemed to promise something better than politics as usual? The question may miss the point. It’s quite possible that nothing at all has changed about John McCain, a ruthless and self-centered survivor who endured five and a half years in captivity in North Vietnam, and who once told Torie Clarke that his favorite animal was the rat, because it is cunning and eats well.

Along with recounting some of the most notorious episodes in McCain’s career (which were previously collected in this biting 2008 Rolling Stone article), the piece also examines the new, previously undiscovered lows to which John McCain has sunk:

Only in a brief news conference with the handful of reporters who showed up to cover the debate did McCain give a small, sad, unintended insight into what he—who commanded the attention of the whole country and won the votes of nearly half the electorate just 24 months ago—must be thinking these days. He said he is confident that when they examine his record “the American …the people of Arizona” will make the right choice.

 Small and sad. And almost president.


#66. Sharing the Love


Christine O'Donnell: I'm Not a Witch

Well, maybe not, but isn’t that what you would expect a witch to say? If only there were some way to settle this once and for all.


Voting Your Hopes

Jag Balla over at Hanging Noodles pointed out this excellent distillation of American political discourse.


They Do Not Want America to Succeed



Pinocchio Crosses the Gender Line

Sometimes I wonder what the Internet looks like to people who aren’t following @fritinancy. It must be a cold, desolate place, where the phrase “I’m going to Pleasure Island, don’t wait up,” is devoid of any special meaning.


Blackwater's Back, Baby

Just kidding, they never left.

Wired (of all places) is carrying this troubling story about a Blackwater front organization called International Development Solutions winning part of a ten billion dollar government contract to provide nebulous “protective services” for the US in Iraq. FTA:

According to [the State Department’s] statement, the contracting process for the new Worldwide Protective Services deal included a “review” to ensure that companies met “minimum criteria” for eligibility. “This review included a process to determine whether any offerors had been suspended or debarred from the award of federal contracts,” it said. Despite Blackwater guards killing 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, killing two Afghan civilians on a Kabul road in 2009, and absconding with hundreds of unauthorized guns from a U.S. military weapons depot in Afghanistan using the name of a South Park character, federal contracting authorities have never suspended or debarred Blackwater.

I’m sure they’ve matured since all that.


The Lego Foreclosure

This is what you get when you mix predatory Lego lending practices and risky, sub-prime Lego investments. In response, Mike Doyle has created an amazing, dilapidated, snowbound house from black and white Legos. On his blog, he describes the construction and how he came to build certain details:

One of my favorite details is the ice formed under the little snow patches to indicated melted snow later frozen. Flickr is great for studying how things really are and [I] used it in great measure to understand how things should look (rather than how I remember them looking).

He’s also written this primer for those of you who may want to make the leap to Lego. Personally, I’m still struggling with Creationary.


Donald Duck Meets Glenn Beck

In this brilliant mashup of Disney cartoons and Glenn Beck broadcasts by Jonathan McIntosh, Donald is seduced by fearmongering and faux populism, only to realize that the soothing voice on the radio doesn’t really give a shit about him. Very well done.

As John Gruber points out, this may not be up on YouTube for very long (Fair Use doesn’t get a lot of love these days), but I’ve got the .flv file ready to upload so I can host it myself, if it comes to that.


Take America Back

Probably the most insightful political cartoon I’ve seen this year, by Mike Keefe.


Rick Sanchez's DUI

In case you were feeling sorry for Rick Sanchez, who, after all, appears marginally human from certain angles, you may want to redirect a little of that sympathy towards Jeffrey Smuzinick, the man Rick Sanchez struck with his car and paralyzed, and who eventually died of his injuries.

Rick was never charged because Smuzinick walked in front of his car, but Sanchez fled the scene, returning two hours later with a blood alcohol level still above the legal limit. He pled no contest to a DUI charge, but was able to move on with his life, eventually landing a plum job at CNN that he proceeded to fuck up by being a racist idiot.

(Thanks to loyal reader DN for the tip.)


Farewell, Rick

What’s a hardworking anti-Semite to do? Look for Rick’s new show, “See? See? This Is Proof That the Jew Media Has It In For Me,” premiering tomorrow on FOX. Check your local listings.


Farewell, Rahm

I liked having him around. (Cartoon by Randy Bish.)


The Two-Page Pledge

Since reading comprehension was never a cornerstone Republican value, you can imagine the horror of the party faithful when some ambitious but hopelessly confused GOP intern decided to arrange the “Pledge to America” into something resembling a book.

Terrified that people might start to think they’re a bunch of book-readin’ queers, the GOP quickly issued a retraction in the form of a two-page “Pledge Lite,” so that the average Republican voter might more plausibly pretend to have read it.

As for the actual text of the Postcard Pledge, one notable omission is any reference to the sanctity of marriage, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” or gay rights in general. Nice to see they’re over that. Also, there’s no mention of terrorism until a third of the way down the second column, which should demonstrate just how much political mileage that issue is getting these days.

Particularly cute is the GOP’s promise to “End TARP once and for all.” This is something that 91 House Republicans and 34 Senate Republicans voted in favor of, and that a Republican president signed into law. If it startles you that the GOP has chosen to forget this, then you were born yesterday, in a cave, and are just now joining us in progress. Welcome to America, we’re dumb and we straight don’t give a fuck.


Atheists Score More

This sort of thing has to drive Casey crazy (you know, more so). According to a recent Pew survey, people who identified themselves as atheists or agnostics were more knowledgeable about religious matters than people who professed a particular faith. As the WaPo reports:

Out of 32 questions, atheists and agnostics, on average, answered 21 questions correctly, making non-believers the top performers. They had higher than average scores on questions about world religions and about religion’s role in public life.

Now, as Michael Otterson, PR head of the Mormon Church points out, religious knowledge is a tricky thing to quantify. Just because you can win a Catholicism trivia contest does not make-a you the Pope. Or, as Otterson puts it:

…we should note that the Pew study was about superficial knowledge, and not about religiosity or spirituality. Previous studies have addressed this, and I’m pleased that Mormons show up well in both. Yet knowing that Genesis is the first book of the Bible or that Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem has nothing to do with the quality of my life’s religious experience. 

Point taken, but it has to cut the other way. If you profess to belong to a religion, but know next to nothing about its history, principles, or tenants, are you really all that religious? In the many Neapolitan flavors of American Protestantism, it’s enough to say you’ve “been saved” or have a “personal relationship with Jesus,” and you can go around committing whatever horrible, deceitful, world-shattering sins you like, confident in the fact that no one will ever question your faith.

I’m willing to concede that, as an atheist, I may never really “know” what religion is all about, but just because someone says they’re religious doesn’t mean they understand the Big Mystery any better, or have any more moral authority than a tube of toothpaste. And if you don’t know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem or that Genesis is the first book of the Bible, someone really ought to revoke your Bible-thumpin’ license.

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