Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Through the Looking Glass: "So What Would Happen if Obama Won?"

Sun Tzu said that it's important to "know your enemy," so I like to occasionally check in withFree Republic to see what the Republican base is thinking:

With the seemingly endless cycle of self destructing Republican Presidential candidates and the President seeing a bit of a bump in the polls, the loyal opposition at Free Republic take time for a surprising moment of self reflection to ask, "so what would happen if Obama Won?"

Ok, they're conservative Republicans, this seems like a fairly predictable fear.

 This is a surprisingly accurate assessment of what is likely to happen from a guy with the signature "Holding our flawed politicians to higher standards than the enemy's politicians guarantees they win"

 "NoGrayZone" gets credit for being the first one to say it's the sign of the Biblical Armageddon.

 While "Da Coyote" gets credit for being the first (though by no means last) to take it as the start of Civil War II: Electric Boogaloo.

 Yes "brownsfan", the fractured and insane Republican base probably is going to hand Obama an easy reelection.  I wonder if that's cause for any self reflection?

 I live and hope.

 All I can think of reading this is that quote from Watchmen: The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll look down and whisper "No."

 I never knew I was this powerful.

 I'm fairly certain this actually qualifies as an assassination threat under the law.

 Am I the only one who thinks "ZOOKER" really really wants it to be an 'actual shooting war'?

 Just for the record, this is exactly what they were saying 3 years ago.

"Wordkraft" does not actually seem concerned by the prospect of the US becoming a military dictatorship.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled reality.

Wit of the Web Slinger Wednesday: Chickens

Contrary to what Toby Maguire would have you believe, Spider-Man is supposed to be funny, or at least making inappropriate jokes.  So lets return to a simpler time:

And yes, I'm pretty sure Spider-Man threw the chicken at that girl.

Republican Racism Review: Immigration and a Black Thing

Real button handed out at the 2008
Texas Republican State Convention
If you start keeping your eyes open for them, there are a terrifying number of news stories about Republicans being racist:
  • And just in case you were thinking that Republicans obsession with immigration isn't about racism and xenophobia, the Alabama immigration law I've been harping on for the last month?  The one that would deny undocumented people water and unconstitutionally kick their children out of school?  Alabama Republicans are talking about repealing it now that a white immigrant accidentally got arrested under it.
  • Meanwhile Republicans in North Carolina are attempting to repeal the state's historic death penalty law, which allows death row inmates to appealing their sentencing if they can prove that it was racially motivated.  And Herman Cain explains that racial profiling isn't like "driving while black" when the TSA does it, because we know what the terrorists look like.
  • And with Thanksgiving quickly fading behind us, lets take a moment to consider Pat Robertson, who wondered on air "What is this Mac and Cheese is that a black thing?"  For the record Mr. Robertson, no it's not a black thing, and my grandma's is delicious.

West Wing Wednesday

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Voting Rights Violators: If You Can't Win Them, Kick Them Out of the State Edition

In 49 weeks we go to the polls again to reelect President Obama. Republicans know that they aren't going to gain the support of the American people, so instead they're going to strip them of the right to vote:

Tales from the Campaign Trail: The Mother in Law

I'm a political organizer, I hope my stories entertain you (so that's where the name comes from):

So something you should probably know about the calls you get from political campaigns is that the caller (usually a volunteer) has some pretty basic information about you.  Nothing scary, nothing that isn't publicly available information but still.  They know your name, your age, anyone else who's registered to vote in your household, and of course which political party you're registered with.  It helps them make sure they're talking to the right person, and maybe get a sense of the type of household they're calling.  Which is how I came to know that the house I was calling a few years ago for a campaign I was working on consisted of a married couple in their early 40s and her mother who was in her 70s.  It's also how I knew it was the mother was a Democrat before she even answered the phone.  And as expected in those circumstances the call went really well.  She was already a fan of my candidate, and with young grandchildren she was very concerned about education. She even asked about how she could volunteer to make some calls herself.  And so with some pretty good rapport I decided to push my luck.

I asked her if she'd be willing to also work on her daughter for me, and she responded that it was her son in law she was worried about.  She intoned as if telling me that she thought he might be a serial killer that she thought he was a Republican.  And that's when I realized that little information though I had, I still knew something about her family that she didn't know.  Her son in law was a registered Democrat, and her daughter, well, her daughter was a registered Republican.  I hesitated a moment before telling her, but knew what I had to do.  She was taken aback, horrified by this revelation about her own daughter.  She promised that she would fix it.  I told her that maybe she and her son in law could team up to work on her.  She laughed and we ended the call.

I'd like to think that I brought a husband and his mother in law closer together that day, but maybe I destroyed a family.  Either way, it was on to the next call...

Hostess Snack Break: Spider-Man and the Cupcake Caper

Everyone needs a break sometimes, so why don't you enjoy this one with one of your favorite superheroes and one of your favorite Hostess snack treats:

I want to believe that there's any other way of reading this than that Spider-Man's girlfriend is more satisfied by a Hostess Cupcake than she's ever been by him, but I just can't.

Terrific Tuesday Tidings: Voting Rights, Recalls, and Barney Frank

It's Tuesday and that means it's time for my ongoing quest to become a more positive person. Here are the news stories that made me happy this week:

Monday, November 28, 2011

4 Reasons Why We Get to Care About Cain's Affair

So another woman has come forward this time claiming to have had a 13 year long affair with Herman Cain.  While not denying that he does know the woman personally, he is unsurprisingly denying the affair.  Which I'm pretty sure makes it just another Monday at the Cain household.  I'm sure in the coming days we'll end up learning plenty more about Ginger White and her allegations. But today what interests me is this quote from Cain's lawyer:

"Cain has been informed today that your television station plans to broadcast a story this evening in which a female will make an accusation that she engaged in a 13-year-long physical relationship with Mr. Cain. This is not an accusation of harassment in the workplace -- this is not an accusation of an assault -- which are subject matters of legitimate inquiry to a political candidate. Rather, this appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults -- a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public. No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life. The public's right to know and the media's right to report has boundaries and most certainly those boundaries end outside of one's bedroom door."

Now besides the fact that I'm pretty sure Herman Cain's lawyer officially hates him by now (I can't actually think of another reason to remind us all that Cain has also been accused of sexual assault and harassment), I actually take issue with the fact that he's claiming that we don't get to care about whether or not Herman Cain cheats on his wife.  So here are my Top 5 Reasons we get to care:

  • While I'm sure that Anthony Weiner, John Edwards, and Bill Clinton all wished that consensual actions between adults were nobody's business but their own, we live in a democracy with freedom of the press and freedom of speech and no gets to tell voters what they do and don't get to care about (even if it would be nice if they cared about more important things sometimes).
  • If as he claims the public has a right to know whether Herman Cain's has repeatedly committed sexual assault and sexual harassment (thank God Cain's lawyer thinks it's ok for us to care about whether or not a candidate for President is a sexual predator), and his defense against those allegations includes the fact his wife says she knows he could never do something like that, then his ability to hide an affair from her for 13 years gives some credence to the other allegations we are allowed to care about.
  • Which brings me to the final reason I get to care if Cain's having an affair, thanks to the Religious Right, adultery is still illegal in the state of Georgia where both Herman Cain and Ginger White live, and is punishable by no less than 6 months and up to a year in prison.  I think it might be relevant to Mr. Cain's candidacy if he could potentially be spending the first several months of his Presidency in jail.
So those are my reasons, what're yours?

Monday Makeover: Duela Dent, The Joker's Daughter

There are no bad characters, just characters that no one has spent far too much time thinking about how to make work. I intend to fix that.

Duela Dent, best known as the Joker's Daughter (and also known as Harlequin, Card Queen, Riddler's Daughter, Two Face's Daughter, Penguin's Daughter, Scarecrone, and Catgirl) first appeared in 1976's Batman Family #6.  The Batman Family title existed to tell the adventures of Alfred on his day off, Batgirl as a Congresswoman, and Robin as a college student at Hudson University.  Unfortunately for the Joker's Daughter she was introduced in a story focusing on the least interesting of those three premises, Robin in college (I would never stop reading a comic about Alfred on his day off or the adventures of Batgirl in Congress).  Being a nemesis of the bottom half of Batman and Robin is never a good way to rise through the ranks of the rogues and the Joker's Daughter proved to be no exception.  Over the course of a few issues she reappeared to confront the Boy Wonder claiming to be the daughter of a series of different Batman villains, commit some bizarre crime, and then try to unmask Robin.  I want to stress that even by the standards set by comics in the 60s and 70s Duela Dent's crimes were weird.  She stole a book from the school library that didn't exist, tried to steal all the catsup from the local airport, and then an award being given to Congresswoman Gordon.  She does deserve credit though for actually achieving her ultimate goal which was to unmask Robin and then blackmail him into letting her join the Teen Titans.  She appeared in that title as a good guy for several years before eventually fading away before ultimately being revealed to actually have been the daughter of a superhero Joker from a parallel dimension and then being murdered by an interdimensional Monitor for crossing universes.  Poor Duela Dent, it was painful to type that part and it gave me a headache.

I think the Joker's Daughter may be the single biggest case of wasted potential of any of the characters I've examined so far for the Monday Makeover.  She's the supervillain groupie in Gotham City, home of the most twisted and insane freaks and rogues to grace any comic book universe.  It's surprising it's not more common really, in the real world Charles Manson became a cult leader, the Insane Clown Posse's juggalos have been labeled a gang by the FBI, and death row inmates are bombarded with marriage proposals.  If they existed, people like Calendar Man, Signalman, and Killer Croc would be rockstars to a very broken segment of society long before you even get to the truly terrifying A-Listers like the Joker and Two Face.  What does that kind of twisted obsession look like in a superhero universe, and how would the villains respond to that kind of adoration?  That's the implicit storytelling potential of the Joker's Daughter.

Which is not to say that her obscurity at this point isn't fairly well deserved.  Being actually mentally unhinged and at least amoral with an obsession with supervillains is not the basis for a good superhero even if it's clear from her introduction she was meant to become a Teen Titan.  Which kept her away from Batman's rogues gallery, when interacting with them is almost certainly her best chance at being an interesting and compelling character.  By the time they added the interdimensional aspect and killed her off, it seemed about the only way to fix decades of bizarre characterization (apparently her creator actually intended to have her be revealed as a Teen Titan sent back from the future who was driven mad by the experience, which might have worked but is far too little too late since it was never published).  Writers have also had an unfortunate tendency to actually try to make her the daughter of one or another of Batman's villains, which may work with the soap opera-ish aspects of comic books but ultimately can't be allowed to stick leading for the repetitive story of "she's BLANK's real daughter, no she's not, she's really BLANK's real daughter." Thematically she works best as simply a broken individual drawn to even more broken individuals.  At it's core, Batman's story is about unintended consequences and inspiration.  A random violent crime created Batman, whose appearance drew out the freakish criminal element like the Joker, while also inspiring a new generation of heroes like Robin and Batgirl.  Why shouldn't the appearance of the Arkham Asylum crowd inspire a new generation of criminal madness?

Duela never knew who her parents were.  She was found abandoned in an alley as an infant and spent her child home bouncing from group home to group home in the Gotham City foster system.  When she was lucky no one paid any attention to her, and when she was unlucky they paid all too much.  More than anything she dreamed of the day her real parents would come and rescue her from the nightmare, make it all go away.  She knew she was special, she was smarter and more athletic than all the other kids in the homes, her parents must be special too.  But they never came and she started to despair.  Why didn't they love her?  Why wouldn't they save her?  Where were they?  And then one day she realized that her parents would never abandon her like that, someone must be keeping them away.  But who?  Who could keep them away from their daughter?  And in Gotham City there was only one man powerful enough to keep away parents who loved their special daughter so much. Batman.  In that moment it all came together, her parents must be one of the Batman's so called "villains."  That's why they didn't come for her, they were locked into eternal combat with a monster.  Duela wasn't sure which of the Batman's enemies was her parent but she knew she needed to find them....and help them destroy the Batman.

Black Friday or Occupy Wall Street?

Remember, the Occupy Wall Street protestors are dirty hippies bent on destroying America.  And Black Friday is the glorious celebration of our capitalist corporate overlords.  So it should be easy to tell them apart.

1. Camping


2. Crowds


3. Police


4. Pepper Spray


I'll post the answers in the comments.

Frontline of the Class War: The One Percent and Occupy Wall Street

The Republicans are right, there is a class war going on in this country. And they're the ones waging it against the middle and working class:

Welcome to the working week.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

He-Man Woman Haters Club Report: Harassing Miscarriages, the Right to Lie, and the Other 99%

With classism, racism, and homophobia already in the mix, why wouldn't the GOP add in some sexism too:

One Sentence Review of Limitless

I can't tell if the moral of this story is "ignorance is bliss" or "everyone should go on antidepressants", but either way it was an enjoyable ride.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Love Lessons with Lois Lane: Superbaby

In much of the civilized world, Saturday night is date night. And everything I know about dating I learned from Lois Lane. So before heading out for the night, let's see what advice she has for us this week:

An immature partner can be very destructive, especially if they have superpowers.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Missives from Universe B: Master Janitor's Report

Join me in exploring an alternate world where the Right isn't wrong!

From the records of EduCorps, a division of AmeriCo Industries:

First Year Program Review

I'll confess I had my doubts when the program was first announced.  But replacing the rest of the janitors with poor elementary school students was a stroke of genius.  Within the first few weeks of the program starting, I began to notice uses for the children that never would have worked with my former coworkers.  I can just send them crawling through the air conditioning vents to figure out where that rattle is coming from.  And with their tiny little hands they can unclog a toilet far faster than I ever could with a snake.  Sure we had to get past their initial disgust at cleaning up vomit (and boy it took forever to clean up that first chain reaction), but now when they're on duty their eyes just glaze over.  It's a thing of beauty.

After a few months their teachers even got on board.  They said that if the kids didn't fidget at all during naptime if they'd been handling the industrial strength cleaners earlier in the day.  And best of all they're learning valuable job skills instead of wasting time preparing for a college they're never going to be able to afford to attend anyway.  Some of them complain that the job skills are worthless since it's in a field that's been replaced by child labor so there won't be any openings once they've grown up, but what do they know, they're just stupid kids.

Daisy Duking It Out: Anatomy of a Hit Job

Political ads have a long and storied history in American elections. Some work, and other's just don't. So let's take a look at how some of the current crop of ads stack up:

In this extra-special Delayed-By-Thanksgiving Edition I actually want to focus in on just one ad from Mitt Romney that's garnered a lot of attention this week:

Now many would say that using video editing to disguise the fact that Obama was actually quoting a McCain campaign spokesperson who said that "If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose," is both dishonest and disgusting.  The Romney campaign says it's intentional and appropriate.  So by his own standards he wouldn't have any problem with these ads:

But I do and you should.  Democracy only works with an engaged and informed electorate.  Blatant and unrepentant attempts to confuse and lie to voters undermines and corrodes the very foundation our system is built on.  Don't let him get away with it.

Friday Freakshow Roundup: Gingrich, Checks and Balances, and the Holy Land Experience

In the political news system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the Republicans who do insane things, and this blogger who mocks them. These are their stories:
  • Oh and Jack Abramoff says Gingrich is corrupt.  And lets face it, if there is one man in America who knows political corruption, it's Jack Abramoff.
  • Rick Perry believes that the whole 'civilian control of the military to prevent a coup' thing is overrated.  After all "for us to micromanage them, in a civilian way, without their commanders truly in charge, is absolutely irresponsible and as commander-in-chief of this country I will not let it happen."  I suppose we can console ourselves if he wins with the fact that it won't be long before the military overthrows him.  Herman Cain decided to attack a different pillar of our constitutional republic, promising to "overturn" the Supreme Court if they decided the wrong way.  So that's special.
  • Then again this is the same Herman Cain who thought his visit to "The Holy Land Experience" amusement park wouldn't be complete without bashing muslim doctors.  Read the story, you won't (and will) regret it.
  • Not content to be under investigation for criminal conspiracy in both England and America, Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorps. is being investigated for trying to bribe an Australian Senator.  Now if he can just find a way to get arrested in Canada and India, he'd get a British Colonial Bingo.
  • Finally, it's Black Friday here in the US, and so for an outsider perspective on the shopping madness we turn, as always, to Taiwanese Animation:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Day to Give Thanks

Thank you to:

my family, who support me

my friends, who put up with me

my mentors, who try to teach me the lessons I often insist on learning the hard way

my heroes, who inspire me

and my readers, who humor and inform me.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Through the Looking Glass: Obama to Turkey, "You are Hereby Pardoned"

Sun Tzu said that it's important to "know your enemy," so I like to occasionally check in with Free Republic to see what the Republican base is thinking:

It's a Presidential tradition that traces it's roots all the way back to Harry Truman.  On the day before Thanksgiving the President is presented with a living turkey which, to the fanfare and thanks of children everywhere, he then pardons and sends off to a petting zoo to live out the rest of it's natural life.  A little weird sure, but harmless and unobjectionable right?

Ok, vaguely racist but not too bad yet...

Bizarrely and randomly violent, but ok...

If Thanksgiving isn't the time to bring up discredited 4 year old conspiracy theories, when is?

This seems pretty harsh considering it's an entirely by rote, non-official ceremony.

 Random capitalizations, typos, and weird O-jokes, "Leep" seems pretty stable to me.

If Thanksgiving isn't the time to accuse the President of being a bad father, I don't know when is.

The combination of bloodlust and his signature line are pretty scary.

Extispicy worked in the middle ages, I don't see why it wouldn't work now.

Seriously? "OweBowMao"?

You see, the turkey is America and Obama is a cannibal.....

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Published as a Public Service Announcement: Danger, Prejudice at Work!

I cover politics and pop culture, sometimes the two collide:

Ok, so maybe arguing that you shouldn't be racist against Latinos because they might be good at Baseball isn't the greatest thing to teach kids, but for the 1950s I'm still going to count it as a step in the right direction.