Saturday, July 4, 2009

President Palin resigns, VP Bachman to be sworn in

February 24, 2013

NY Times Handbill -- please copy and distribute

(anonymously reported)

WASILLA, AK Today President Sarah Palin announced that she is resigning the presidency, after just one month in office.

Acknowledging, as she did in ’09 when she resigned as governor of Alaska, that the resignation was “unconventional” and that she was just not “wired for politics as usual, also!” she said she needed “also more time with my new triplets, Nuclear, Howitzer and AK-47,” born three weeks prior to her inauguration.

Her speech highlighted what she called “also my vast accomplishments in fighting terror and also, too, anti-Americanism!” during her brief tenure in office by leveling scores of cities – both foreign and domestic.

Palin's formal letter of resignation was signed, “Your Heavenly Father!”

Vice President Michele Bachman, the other half of the unprecedented female team that was elected to office in November, will be sworn in before Congress, whose remaining members now convene in a classroom at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA since Palin ordered airstrikes on the Capitol.

While the President has focused on delivering nuclear strikes on the much-enlarged Axis of Evil, Bachman has spent her brief term conducting lightning-speed treason and impeachment hearings to determine which members of Congress are “pro-America or anti-America.” All tried were found guilty and all found guilty have been executed.

With the Senate now whittled down to 21 members, all Republicans from the South and West, and the House down to 94 Republicans and a smattering of Secessionist Party loyalists, Bachman promised today that she will continue Palin’s air strikes until the nation is “fully cleansed” of both individuals and regions that cannot prove they are pro-America.

Palin’s one month in office began unconventionally, without a hint what was to come. Taking a cue from Rod Blagojevich, the impeached, convicted and imprisoned former Governor of Illinois, who refused to move into the Governor’s mansion in the state capital, Palin refused to move to Washington, DC., was inaugurated in her home town in Wasilla and ran the government from her house.

But within hours of taking the oath of office, she assumed mantle of Commander in Chief, donned a mini-skirted camouflage uniform and ordered nuclear strikes on Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Russia, China, Pakistan, France and Sweden, declaring them, variously, terrorist, terrorist-hugging, socialist and “just plain foreign.”

Additional strikes followed, with most of Western Europe now in rubble along with large swaths of the Mid-East and Asia. On the advice of campaign chair and presidential advisor, Bill Kristol, Israel was spared.

Some of the nations Palin attacked appear to have retaliated but instead of striking national symbols of power and wealth, they have concentrated on “Palin country,” hitting small towns and farms in the heartland.

Each such strike resulted in Palin taking seemingly random aim at yet another nation. The cantons of Luxembourg were flattened; the population wiped out. Luxembourg, Palin said, was just “too French.”

When millions of Americans took to the streets in protest and television covered the air strikes and protests without interruption, she followed the lead of Ahmadinejad in 2009 and shut down nearly all media and communications outlets, including all television networks but Fox, cell phones, land lines, the Internet, and FM radio – leaving only AM talk radio.

Even Twitter was quashed.

Next she had tens of thousands who had quickly formed a Blue Movement (using the same hue of blue from the 2008 Obama campaign) to “take the nation back” arrested, including thousands of reporters. Within days she ordered domestic strikes on the parts of the nation she declared were not “pro-America” – the parts of the country that Palin’s international victims refused to attack.

New York City was the first to be leveled along with the North Salem, NY, home of David Letterman, with whom Palin had a dust-up in 2009, followed by Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and, after a warning to the remaining members of Congress to evacuate, the nation’s capital as well.

While fires across the nation’s cities are still burning, Bachman proclaimed that the “cleansing of America is near completion,” and that she looks forward to focusing on her “dearest concerns,” such as all schools teaching creationism, a full-court press for the return of production of incandescent light bulbs, the repeal of the Constitution and the adoption of The Bible as the nation’s binding law.

Former President Barack Obama, in secret exile with his family, Joe Biden and other members of his former administration, could not be reached for comment.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Film Review - Vepris

Synopsis: “Vepris”is a 6-hour silent Latvian documentary about a girl raised in the wild by a family of boars. Tracing the girl’s life from 2-months-old through adolescence, it details her life in the forest growing up with no contact with humans. Filmed by her birth parents with a telephoto lens, the child is unaware of their presence.

While the film is silent, there is a sound track that alternates between an accordion and a fiddle. Also, there are subtitles (in Latvian) that explain what the girl and each of the boars are thinking and doing (similar to Discovery channel voiceovers) and that deconstruct the transgressive narrative for the post-modern viewer.

The subtitles include a Latvian translation of the conversation that took place over the years of filming between the filmmaker parents and giants such as Derrida, Foucault, Lyotard, Lacan and, most impressively, Chomsky.

It’s playing at midnight at the “Cine Pretensia.”


The seminal film Vepris, takes the Ovid myth of Venus and Adonis and turns it on its head. What would have happened, the film asks, if Venus had sought the boar that Adonis was chasing rather seeking Adonis?

“Sexual identity is part of the futility of sexuality,” says Derrida; however, according to de Selby, it is not so much sexual identity that is part of the futility of sexuality, but rather the defining characteristic, and eventually the stasis, of sexual identity. Vepris illuminates this paradigm.

Vepris builds on and then demolishes as trivial, the works of Fellini, where the predominant construct is the concept of postdialectic art. The primary theme of the works of Fellini is the role of the writer as participant. But in Vepris, filmmakers Karlis and Thunda Ulmanis, participation is invisible – but for the narrative discourse offered by their subtitles.

The characteristic theme of Prinn’s model of semioticist socialism is the bridge between society and sexual identity. It could be said that in Satyricon, Fellini deconstructs textual situationism; in Amarcord he examines subtextual deappropriation. The subject is contextualised into that which includes reality as a reality. In Vepris, reality loses its privilege in discourse and consciousness and becomes entirely situational.

If one examines textual situationism, one is faced with a choice: either accept Derridaist reading or conclude that society has intrinsic meaning, given that the cultural paradigm of expression is invalid. In a sense, Bataille promotes the use of Derridaist reading to challenge class divisions.

Vepris resolves this choice.

And more. Sontag suggests the use of cultural narrative to attack and analyze truth. If textual situationism holds, we have to choose between Marxist capitalism and postcapitalist objectivism. The characteristic theme of Sargeant’s analysis of textual situationism is the stasis of neotextual sexual identity.

Vepris resituates situationalism, avoids the false choice Sontag posited, and subdeconstucts the narrative to arrive at a post-millennial construct of animo-identity, which lays bare the threadbare poverty of previous attempts to merely reconstruct sexual identity. By constructing and then deconstructing animo-identity, the film exposes the failings of capitalist mythology and explains the eroticized “banking crisis."

There could be no more timely film. It brilliantly balances a fierce nominalism and anti-essentialism with a new, experiential substantialism of experimental shapes and intentions, conceived as an antidote against belief-oriented and collectivistic being.

Kudos to the Postmodern Generator, which provided this review with so many great lines.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Plenty of blame to go around

Campaign Contribution Limits: Illinois is one of five states that have no limits at all. Give a grand, fifty grand, a million. Perfectly legal.

Various Limits (38 states + D.C.)
Ban on Corporate Contributions; No Other Limits (4 states)
Limit on Corporate Contributions; No Other Limits (3 states)
Ban on Monetary Contributions by Political Parties; No Other Limits (1 state)
WHITE STATES: No Limits from Any Source (5 states)

Let’s move past cringing in shame and embarrassment over the Blagojevich fiasco and look at how we got here. It’s not enough to blast the “culture of corruption” and wail with John Kass about the “combine.”

It’s structural. It’s also about people – the people who, because they everything to gain by the system as it is, hold hard and fast to the status quo. Who are they? The Dynasties.

Blago is the product of Dick Mell, though they have indeed since had a falling out. Todd Stroger, who has nearly his entire extended family on the county payroll, is the product of John Stroger. Daddy Stroger spawned an ocean of others who were indebted to him as well. Mr. Speaker For Life gave us Lisa. Emil has now provided us with his kid. Comptroller Hynes was created by 19th Ward Committeeman Tom Hynes. And Daley, famously known for saying “what’s the point of political power if you can’t help out your friends and family?” – well, enough said. Dynasties protect and promote their own.

And what have the dynasties created?

No limits on campaign contributions. Illinois is one of five states that allow the unbridled excess of unlimited campaign contributions – be they by political action committees (formed by parties, party leaders or interest groups), corporations, unions or individuals. Who in their right mind just loves some state pol so much that they would give them $25,000 – or hundreds of thousands. I can see it with Obama; there was a lot of love out there. But tell me Blago’s contributors were just loving him up. That’s not love. That’s paying for something in return. The dynasties and those who are indebted to them ensure these laws do not change. That's ****in' golden.

Opacity in government. Illinois does not have freedom of information; we have Guantanamo of information. It’s all locked up and locked down. It isn’t just Blagojevich. How about Todd Stroger’s gag edict on staff? Open meetings? Ha. Ever seen the state budget process? It’s all done (when it used to be done, that is) behind closed doors. Few object. The Dynasties love operating in the shade.

Over-reliance on the feds. Okay, Lisa Madigan deferred to Fitzgerald on the Blagojevich investigation, but there’s lots of corruption to go around. Do she and does the State’s Attorney really have to sit on their hands rather than investigate the stuff going on all around them? In other states, both the AG and state’s attorneys prosecute corruption. It’s not up to one guy – fortuitously nominated by an outsider who knew exactly what he was bequeathing Illinois.

And the people of the State of Illinois?

Is there pride in corruption? The people of Illinois almost giggle when they talk about corruption. The U.S. Attorney’s Office supplies some of the titillating jocularity as it names its investigations like they are B-movies: Operation Greylord, Operation Haunted Hall, Operation Silver Shovel, Operation Safe Roads, and now, Operation Board Games. We compete for the status of “most corrupt.”
Maybe, finally, it doesn’t seem so funny anymore.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Blagojevich - Some knew it before term one

My friend, Corinne is a bit exasperated that she is getting calls and letters from out-of-state friends to whom she feels obliged to respond that, though she lives in Illinois, Blagojevich is not her fault. It's not her fault.
But it is the fault of all those who failed to see what seemed so obvious back in 20002 -- that his rhetoric about "reform" and ending "business as usual" was a fraud, a fraud every bit as serious and devious as the allegations in the federal criminal complaint.

If voters didn't quite get that his reform rhetoric in 2002 was fraudulent, they had no excuse not to get it in 2006 when he ran for reelection. By then his penchant for selling seats (they are "f---ing golden") had already been established. In July 2004, the papers revealed that Blagojevich had taken $25,000 checks from two appointees to the state hospital board on the same day -- eighteen days before their appointment.

Unfortunately, this story got its legs broken by the very reporters who told it. The following January, the Governor’s father-in-law, Alderman Dick Mell, angry with him over a landfill deal, called him out for that and added that he had been “granting plum appointments in exchange for $50,000 campaign contributions.”

From that point forward, the reporters (both Trib and Sun-Times) retold this selling seats story as though it had originated with Mell’s accusation. That turned it into a family feud story and not so much a corruption story.

Most weren’t following this closely. Those happy with the Governor for expanding health insurance for the working poor (albeit without the approval of the legislature) and other labor and human services changes said they were suffering Stockholm Syndrome. Many knew the swirling and growing roster of allegations were true, but none would denounce him because, to them, he was still better than any Republican. And no Dem could touch him because by then Blagojevich had been paid to play in the tens of millions, many of which were in the $25,000 plus amount.

The press may have messed up the selling seats story (did they think the Jerry Springer-like family drama was hotter than fraud?), but the voters didn’t care. Sadly, in both elections, the issue of corruption was so far down on the voters’ priority list that it landed somewhere after highway tolls.

With the national and internation embarrassment Illinois has suffered since the arrest, might these priorities shift -- and even stayed shifted until real reform is achieved?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Blagojevich and Nixon

Since Blagojevich’s arrest, there has been just a bit too much of the Shocked, Shocked thing going on. Didn't at least everyone in Illinois know? How could they not?

I knew he was an ego-maniac, more corrupt than George Ryan could have dreamed, and way out of his league – even as a state rep.
Way back then, he told me then of his plan to be president -- of the USA. But I didn’t know he was full-out flat bats, nor till recently, that he was big fan of Nixon and even stalked him at San Clemente till he got an autograph and photo. Now it all comes together.
Figures, huh?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Illinois in the news: A governor is arrested

Yeah, it’s our turn (again).

It’s been just a month since the flag waving in Grant Park -- with the whole world watching and maybe even a little jealous. It was followed by day-after-day of orderly transition and press conferences (some say too orderly – they want free for alls) from Chicago, highlighting again Obama’s smooth, confident and focused work of putting an administration together.

Then, like a gang banger grabbing some bling off a kid around the corner, our governor with the giant mound of hair has to chase after his own bling – whatever he could get for a Senate seat, for approval of a gaming bill, for releasing committed funds to a children’s hospital, and a host of other sales of his office – and our state -- to whomever he could get to bid and pay.

This has been going on for years. To some of us, it is not news, even as the arrest is. We can exhale. Finally. But the timing is aggravating.

Blagojevich is now grabbing international headlines, too. In an entirely disgusting way. Due to his vainglorious and greedy idiocy, we are no longer the city of that magnificent, uplifting and peaceful night at Grant Park, but the Tribune's John Kass’s nightmare-land of venality and corruption. And, predictably, Kass will tie it to Obama – even if the string is as thin as a net of spun sugar.

The out-of-towners – the reporters hunkered in here for the duration of the transition -- will ruminate and speculate. Is there something about Chicago? Is it the Daleys? How is Obama implicated? How could he not be?

Well, for starters, while he didn’t “take on” the machine, he was hardly “of the machine,” let alone its creature. We have plenty of those – the dynasty families that give birth to and then get their spawn elected and elected again.

Obama’s deceased parents did not bequeath him seats in Illinois. And no matter how much that “godfather” label is given to statehouse senate prez Emil Jones in relation to Obama, he was more a church usher; Jones just opened the doors of the statehouse and directed the flock this way and that. He didn’t raise the guy.

So, the drama is still unfolding and will for a long time to come. Blago won’t resign. He’s too full of himself to even consider it. As we sit here gagging on his greed, he’s pouring over the headlines and rejoicing. Finally, he’s getting headlines like his hero Elvis.

Friday, November 7, 2008

On Tuesday night, the flag became ours

Grant Park was awash in American flags as hundreds of thousands awaited Barack Obama’s acceptance speech. The flag wavers were young and old and in between; they were black, white and brown. Near me were an elderly Sikh couple with turbans; they waved flags. The French kids attending college here waved our flag. The guy with dreadlocks and his daughter on his shoulder waved the flag. And the women wearing head scarves waved it, too.

When CNN announced Obama’s win, the flags punctuated the wild cheers thundering throughout the park. And when he gave his speech and against a backdrop of flags standing tall, the crowd waved theirs harder and higher.

For many years, the Republican Party has monopolized the flag -- and patriotism – and claimed it as theirs alone. This started forty years ago when anti-war youth had scorned the flag; to some of us, it conjured painful images of atrocities carried out in the name of the flag – exemplified by napalming Vietnamese children. We identified with the victims of that war – not those dropping the napalm. Jimi Hendrix’s soul-wrenching, screaming, tearing, blistering Star Spangled Banner captured our pain with exquisite accuracy.

But somehow that minority of kids in the sixties who rejected the imagery of the flag morphed, in the Republican imagination, to include everyone in the Democratic Party, the very party the kids were protesting in 1968. The Democrats had as many pro-war and anti-civil rights people as the GOP, but still, the GOP’s meme caught hold – and has lasted for forty years.

During this campaign, the GOP re-litigated the sixties and recycled their worn-out charges of anti-Americanism, launched the notion of “Real Americans” to distinguish them from the rest of us and even suggested that Congress be investigated to ferret out the un-Americans among them. Once again, they tried to narrow the idea of a flag-waving patriot to those who sign on to their platform, live in small towns and can be caricatured -- as Joe the Plumber (inaccurately) was.

They got it wrong. By claiming the flag as theirs and theirs alone, by fomenting hate and fear among their flag-wavers, and by leading with ancient grievances rather than new ideas, they got it dead wrong.

Obama’s campaign brilliantly chose to embrace the flag and not to focus on defending himself against the stew of tired old charges against his and his supporters’ patriotism, but instead to lay out his vision of what we can be as a nation. He did indeed summon “a new spirit of patriotism” – and that’s what prompted the flag waving in Grant Park. We were waving the flag not in defiance or anger as we had seen done at GOP election rallies, but in hope, aspiration, community and love – of nation and one another.

For too long the flag was used by the right as a bludgeon – thrust angrily in the face of any of us who would differ, disagree, contest, protest or dream of that mountain top. Now it is ours, too.

We will be happy to share it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I've got tickets to the Obama celebration at Grant Park!

Can't wait. And niece Tyra is flying in from Paris to join us!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Political Rage at the Bar at BWI

All the seats were taken and I wanted to grab a quick drink before heading home to Chicago-bama. Cornering the corner of the bar, I invited another seat-seeker to share the left side of my standing room corner.

Immediately, a great big thirty-something man seated to my right offered me his chair and stood to drink his beer. "Thank you," I all but gushed. "It’s so rare and delightful for a man to offer his seat." I complimented him further on his generosity and he explained it was due to his military dad who had trained him right. I echoed his appraisal, saying I’d always found military men to have great manners (even as I was silently recalling an account on the news the night before of dismaying numbers of rapes of women in the military by their colleagues.)

There seemed to be a murmur of here-here by the men seated around us but I didn't pay much attention. They were dim elevator music and I called a friend to see if she had won a ticket to the Obama election night celebration in Grant Park.

She hadn't. I had. She and I kidded around about what I would do with my "plus one" ticket – auction it? No. Use it as bait to get a boyfriend? Maybe.

But then I was off to Gush Two -- about the historic nature of the event, the once in a lifetime nature of it, how I had painted my nails Barack Blue already in anticipation, and how people would be dancing in the streets for at least four or five days when he wins.

As I wound the call down to down a crab cake (Baltimore!) I sensed a shift in the men around me. As they overheard my call, the charming jovial atmosphere that had prevailed as I had complimented the gent who had given me his seat soured. I looked around and saw a sea of hard, set, angry mouths on the white men in the seats around the bar.

I cut my call short.

A middle-aged man seated to my right opened the dialogue. "Everyone’s not going to be any dancing in the streets.”

Seeing the tight faces around me, I joked, "Okay, not everyone. There will be those getting ammo for their Uzis and sharpening their knives for decapitation."

This was not received with the levity intended. Another man sneered, "So you think all Republicans want to kill Him?” [The Name went unmentioned.]"

"Hell no. Hell no. Just the nuts. Republicans have no monopoly on nuts. I don’t think all Republicans are like that at all. For god’s sake, I’ve been a Republican speechwriter. Most everyone in my family is a Republican. They don’t shoot people."

This did not mollify the hard jaws.

The one who doubted my prediction of street dancing said, “I’m in the Air Force – no one in the military is voting for him."

I said I’d talked to lots of men and women in uniform and military families while traveling and found lots and lots of Obama supporters.

“Liar,” he seethed.

The faces grew tighter. Veins on their necks throbbed. I imagined pitchforks and torches.

One reduced himself to calling me an "intimidating bitch.”

The gent who gave me his seat looked sheepish -- as though by having done so, he'd brought this angry sneering crowd alive.

I had a plane to catch, downed the last of my crab cake and left for the gate.

The guy I had offered to share my corner with had remained silent (but not hard jawed) and caught up with me as I got to the gate. "Rough time, huh?" he asked.

"My skin's thick," I replied. "But why didn’t you say anything?”

“I didn’t want them to kill me. Did they scare you?”

“No, I'm not worried about me. My country, though - that's another matter. Those guys are ANGRY. I’m afraid of how people like that will react when Barack is elected. What do you think set them off?”

“Dancing in the streets, that’s what.”

“What? What’s wrong with dancing?”

“They’re thinking of the song – Martha and the Vandellas. They’re black. They were imagining black people dancing in the streets.”

“And that’s what made them so angry?”

“Yeah, probably. That and your blue nail polish.”

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Palin grants interview: "And then I ain't gonna say no more."

Taking off her glasses, but not her gloves, Governor Palin agreed to an interview on ABC. We have a preview.

When asked about Bush's plan to provide $1 billion in aid to Georgia, Palin answered. "That's just not fair. What about Alaska and our other great western states like Arizona? What about them?"

Charlie Gibson pointed out that this was a question about international policy; he was referring to the Georgia bordering Russia and Turkey, the site of the recent deployment of tanks and toops by Russia, not the U.S. state whose governor is Sonny Perdue.

Governor Palin then replied with her famous fury, "I got somethin to say. And then I ain't gonna say no more. You're takin advantage of me. An' if you fine, fancy gentlemen ain't gonna do nothin about it, then you're just a bunch of lousy, yella, stinkin' cowards, the - the whole bunch of ya, and your fancy airs don't come to nothin'. Your Ma'am'in' and your Miss Palinarin' - it don't come to nothin', Mr. Gibson, not... no."

Palin then ran from the room.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

In wake of Palin-fever, Obama picks new VP

Waitress and mother of eleven (Howitzer, Glock, Rifle, Tank, Remington, Drone, Grenade, Colt, Nuclear, Hydrogen and a boy named Sue) will be on the Dem ticket

September 3, 2008
Sunny Grinns - UPA

BUTTERCAKES, WEST VIRGINIA - Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama astonished the press and pundits today with his announcement of his new running mate. Betty Jo McCoy, 43, mother of eleven children and a waitress from Buttercakes, West Virginia (pop 327), will replace Joe Biden on the ticket. While withdrawing Biden’s nomination, the new Veep candidate is already being hailed as a remarkable replacement for the “elite” Biden.

“A real American family person”

In announcing the switch, Sen. Obama said, “Betty is the real McCoy, a woman every American can relate to – a working mother, an avid hunter and a patriot.” Apparently rebutting former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert’s statement today that Sarah Palin is "the only person that’s a real American family person that’s come out in this election,” Obama said, “If Betty is not a ‘real American family person’ then no one is.”

McCoy’s children have all been home-schooled, doing their lessons at the cafĂ©, Grub and Suds, where McCoy has worked for the last twenty years and where Obama presented McCoy at a press conference this morning.

Seven children in the military

Seven of McCoy’s children serve in the military. Her 27-year-old triplet sons, Howitzer, Glock, Rifle, and her daughter, Tank, 26, serve in Iraq. Daughter Remington, 25, and son Drone, also 25, serve in Afghanistan. Daughter Grenade, 24, is serving time in Fort Lewis due to her involvement in certain activities at Abu Ghraib. All seven joined the military on September 12, 2001, having stood in line all night after the attacks to be the first to join the next day.

5 children are single moms; 14 grandchildren

Taking after their mother, five of her children are also single moms. Her daughter Colt, 17, has three children and is eager to join her siblings and support America by joining the military when she turns eighteen. Tank has five children, Remington has four; and Nuclear and Hydrogen, ages 12 and 13, most recently became moms. McCoy helps care for them all and welcomes each of her fouteen grandchildren as wonderful new “bundles of joy.”

“Bristol Palin,” McCoy said, commenting on the GOP vice presidential nominee’s pregnant 17-year-old daughter, “there’s something wrong with that girl. Seventeen and only one child and that one's not even gone and got born yet? And what’s with her sister Willow? Fourteen and no kids? What’s wrong with that family?”

Typical family struggles

Both Nuclear’s and Hydrogen’s babies are seriously disabled, perhaps due to their mothers’ addiction to methamphetamine. McCoy is not ashamed of the pregnancies of her daughters or their drug addiction, but says, “We’re just an average American family with family type problems. Stuff happens. We’re tough though and Lord knows I can take on any challenge – I’ve had enough of them.”

Her eleventh child, Sue, a son, 20, is on death row for killing a man in a barroom brawl. He decapitated his victim with a meat cleaver for mocking his given name. McCoy says, “maybe the name was a mistake, but I was plum short on gun names that year.”

Qualifications for vice-presidency: first hand experience

Citing McCoy’s qualifications for the vice presidency, Obama noted with seven children in the military, as opposed to Palin’s one, she is “seven-times the expert on the war and international relations as Palin.” She is also going to be “strong on domestic policy, especially on drugs, corrections and child welfare. She’s been in and out of rehab and jail quite a few times for her own problems with meth and her kids have been in and out of the foster care system for years – a system that needs reforming.”

Like Palin, McCoy, too, is a reformer. “She fought city hall to get a liquor license, which Buttercakes initially denied because of her criminal record,” Obama pointed out. “But it was mostly just assaults and drug possession and she took on village hall like the tough real-world fighter she is.”

Executive experience and leadership

McCoy’s executive experience includes almost twenty years of night-managing the Grub and Suds when the owner is on fishing trips; and she has been elected to preside over the Buttercakes chamber of commerce by acclamation in each of the last twelve years; she has served regularly at this post except when in jail.

Some has criticized her chamber of commerce work as not amounting to much because there are no other members of the chamber, but Obama defended her work at this post by saying, “It’s not how many that elected you that counts, it’s what leadership you show once elected. As chamber president, she mounted an effective campaign to get the parking meters removed from in front of the Grub and Suds for the convenience of its patrons; that’s not only leadership, it shows compassion for the residents of Buttercakes.”

Ebay experience

Also like Palin, who sold her predecessor’s jet on Ebay, McCoy has sold things on Ebay, too, including her collection of Elvis collectibles when she needed cash to get a new transmission for her 1988 Ford pick-up.

Looks like a real American

When McCoy took the make-shift podium at the Grub and Suds, she underscored her appeal to ordinary Americans. McCoy offers a sharp contrast to the slender and some say “elegant” Obama; standing five foot three, she appears to weigh about 250 pounds. Instead of designer clothes, she wore grease-stained aqua stretch pants and a pink floral tunic.

Ready to lead

She said, “While I might not have been voting and all that most my life, I am now for sure. Like so many of you, I never took much interest in politics and all those goings on, but I am fired up now that I am going to be vice president. I got myself to packing already!”

Monday, May 19, 2008

New GOP slogan: "Change That Can Be Medicated"


Have you lost your home to foreclosure? Yes, that's a change. But it can be medicated! (Effexor)

Does your your wife lay dying waiting for the surgery that your health insurance won't cover? Yes, that's a change in your life, but it can be medicated! (Effexor)

Is your son up for his 7th tour in Iraq, when he was promised but one? Yes, that's change, but it, too, can be medicated. (Effexor)

When the Republicans bring changes, they suggest the Right medication to cope. Effexor XR. Trust the GOP. Trust Effexor -- For relief from changes too depressing to endure.

The Effexor Effect: After GOP slogan, comedy writers stay home. Too depressed to work

The offices of comedy writers across the country were dark this morning. Almost none had come to work. No, it wasn’t the usual Monday morning slacking; it was something far more ominous.

And no, they had not gone back on strike.

What was emerging was a widespread depression among the writers so profound that they could no longer get out of bed.

They just feel they can’t compete with the Republicans on the Hill in humor or irony-- what should be the writers’ stock-in-trade.

Their condition is being called the “Effexor Effect.”

In the wake of three recent and spectacular special election losses, the House Republicans, who are panicked about more losses in November, announced early last week an effort to rebrand the party. Their new slogan: “Change you Deserve.”

At first, the only thing funny about the slogan to the writers was that it was an only slightly modified version of presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama’s slogan “Change We Can Believe In,” proving to them that the GOP had no new ideas to offer, let alone change. But they didn’t really think it was that funny.

But what sent the comedy writers over the edge was that “Change You Deserve” turned out to be the trademarked slogan of the Wyeth anti-depressant, Effexor XR.

The disconsolate Harry Smithers, a writer for The Onion said the realization of how he no longer had anything to offer dawned on him slowly. It wasn’t until the weekend that he realized he had been licked. “I do satire,” he said glumly, “I make s*%# up. But of all the s*%# that I’ve made up, I’ve never come up with anything as funny as that. I just can’t face the other writers now. And I can’t even think about writing.”

Danny Versito, a writer for Jay Leno said, “Look I’m supposed to do stuff that is out there. You know what I mean, topical, but OUT there.” When this reporter called on Versito, he had a three-day growth of beard, his apartment was littered with vodka bottles and pizza boxes, and his plaid pajama bottoms and Raiders t-shirt were thick with tomato sauce and congealed cheese – all signs of depression. “But hell, how can I be out there, man, when the Republicans steal a slogan from a drug company? And it really happened. That’s just too rich. We couldn’t make up anything that good. So what’s the point?” He glumly hung his head and shook it back and forth. “I can’t compete with that. They’ve won. They’ve won.”

One of Dave Letterman’s writers, a gloomy Pascal Gletch, said, “It’s been hard, really hard. I tried to find some humor in it, but can’t. It’s just gone. All these years we’ve been making fun of the Republicans and now they turn out to be funnier than us. That’s just not right.”

The pall on the writing community has set in on East Coast as well, where the writers from Comedy Central who picked up their phones today expressed shame and embarrassment. “We tried a piece mocking the new GOP slogan for Stewart last week, but you know what? It wasn’t nearly as funny as the fact that the Republicans had stolen it from a drug company.”

The depression took awhile to spread throughout the comedy writing community. “Like everyone else, I went to work last week as usual, like we hadn’t lost our bearings,” said Tommy Grinns, a writer for Late Night’s Conan O’Brian. “But Friday night, I couldn’t sleep, I felt worthless and guilty, kept thinking dark thoughts, even of suicide, and worst of all, I tried everything I knew to get out of it, even going back to my William Hung CDs.” Grinns paused. “But the laughter was gone. The Republicans had robbed me of my laughter, nay my will to live.”

The executives who fought the writers throughout the three-month strike earlier this year are expressing dismay over the absence of writers this morning, perhaps succumbing to the Effexor Effect themselves. Stanley Trueshoes, a spokeman for Viacom, which owns Comedy Central, said, “Even management is feeling it – you know, a loss of interest in normal activities, irritability, fatigue, the whole canoli.” Trueshoes said he’d talked to his counterparts at NBC and CBS, who had also only recently been bashing the writers during the strike. Now they were more sympathetic he says, “or as sympathetic as one can be when irritable and massively depressed.”

According to psychiatrist Pamela Fountain, the writers and executives have all the classic symptoms of depression. “From what Mr. Grinn himself said,” she advised, “he is experiencing virtually all the symptoms for which a psychiatrist such as myself would prescribe Effexor. Sure it’s no quick fix, and there are side effects such as constipation, dizziness, insomnia, loss of appetite, sweating and impotence. But isn’t that a small price to pay? And anyway, think of the up-side. Writers could use a little insomnia – it’ll keep them up and churning away more humor,” Fountain said with a sunny smile. “I think he and the others would do well to start taking it right away. Americans can’t afford another dreary humorless period as they did during the strike.”

As for the Republicans, they are holding fast to the slogan. John Boehner (R-Ohio), defending it this weekend, said, “This slogan, like everything else about the Republican Party reflects our commitment to the things Americans deserve, especially change. We believe they deserve a change. You know, change is good. Change is what we’re for. For that’s what Americans deserve. Because change is good and we’re good.”

Asked for a specific change the House GOP had I mind, Boehner offered, “For one, a change in the way we do business in Washington – a change that gets things done – starting with getting that bridge built in Alaska. That’s a change Americans deserve.”

Thursday, February 7, 2008

"Aiding a Surrender to Terror"?

What the %#& did Romney say? The gloves are waaay off now.

Romney, the former favorite GOP robot since Gort ("Klaatu barada nikto!) just announced at the Conservative Political Action Conference that if he stayed in the race it would "forestall the launch of a national campaign and be making it easier for Sen. Clinton or Obama to win. Frankly, in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror."

Can't get much more inflammatory than that. Perfect for his audience of paranoid conservatives fretting over fear of liberal fumigation. They will be hearing panels and speeches apparently designed to ratchet up that fear. "What Do Liberals Have Planned for Your Money?" featuring, among others, Grover Norquist, who famously instructed his partisans, “You look for an issue that unites your side . . . divides the other side and allows you to reach in . . . and take their hearts out," and denounced bipartisanship as "date rape." Will he be calling Barack a "date raper?"

The crowd's hearts will race as they cringe over other frights: How the Liberals Are Criminalizing Free Enterprise. Threats to Our National Sovereignty. Why Judges Are STILL the Problem and What to Do About It.

While all this fear is being spread and accompanying vitriol spewed, I reflect on its ubiquity.

Demonization in American politics is hardly new. While in the earliest contested presidential elections it was considered unseemly for the candidates themselves to sling the mud, or even directly campaign, their surrogates were unrestrained. John Adams’ supporters published attacks that make Romney's accusation today and GHWBush’s Willie Horton spectacle seem positively gentlemanly. Of their opponent Jefferson, they said, “Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of the distressed, the soil will be soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes.”

Lest anyone think that the contemporary Christian right originated challenges to candidates’ proper Christian credentials, as they did with Romney, the Adams gang also called Jefferson an infidel who “writes aghast the truths of God's words; who makes not even a profession of Christianity; who is without Sabbaths; without the sanctuary, and without so much as a decent external respect for the faith and worship of Christians.”

The Andrew Jackson campaign was even dirtier. He was accused of murder, gambling, slave trading and treason. Adams’ son’s gang continued the traditions of his father’s. They said Jackson’s mother was a prostitute and that his father was a mulatto, and his wife first an adulteress and then a bigamist. Jackson’s troops hit back that Adams was the gambler, plus a pimp for the Russian czar, and thoroughly corrupt.

Against that, suggesting that Hillary and Barack would "surrender to terror" is almost tame. But let's see what's to come. "Date raper?"

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Strange campaign robo-calls

Cook County, in Illinois, the state with the largest number of local governmental units in the nation -- the more to do patronage and ghost hiring by -- has a Water Reclamation District. I got a robo-call today from a candidate seeking to serve on its board.

Her credentials? She is staunchly pro-choice. That's cool, but what the hell does abortion have to do with sewage disposal and clean-up?

Sick jokes to the contrary, Nothing! In Illinois, no post is the post of desire, but just a step to the next.

Earlier, Mayor Daley sent a robo-call endorsing a tax assessement appeals board candidate. I yelled at the robot to no avail. Shut up, Daley! You are all going to wind up in Club Fed! Thanks, Rich, you let me know whom I should vote against.