Saturday, January 31, 2009

Outsourcing Incompetence

Marine Pfc.Jesse Young, 19, of Clinton, Conn., wearing body armor, surveys the terrain through his weapon's sight after entering a mock village during a training exercise Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008. (AP Photo/Ric Francis)

Democratic New York Congresswoman Louise Slaughter has made adequate armor for our troops, to use a potentially explosive word, a crusade. Since Shock and Awe began on March 19, 2003, Rep. Slaughter has requested, and gotten, two Pentagon Inspector General reports. The results of the last one was especially disturbing- The Pentagon's IG discovered that 16,000 sets of body armor had been recalled on the orders of Army Secretary Pete Geren. Bobby Ghosh's article for Time says,
The IG focused on "first article testing," by which any design flaws are spotted and rectified during the manufacturing process. Such testing is meant to confirm that a product meets Army specifications. The audit says the Army didn't perform or score the tests consistently. As a result, the audit report says, "we believe that three of the eight ballistic-insert designs that passed first article testing actually failed."

OK, this is the part where yours truly has to step in. As a former QC inspector who'd examined parts for federal contracts, I can tell you what a First Article report is, why it is so important and why this IG audit is more disturbing than a layman even realizes. I'll try not to be too boring here so bear with me: This is significant.

First, let me go backwards: When a piece goes into mass production at an ISO 9000-certified company such as my next-to-last employer, the lots are sent to Quality Control or Quality Assurance (two completely different animals). Depending on how many pieces Engineering specifies (and how busy you are with other projects), you inspect a certain number of parts based on the sampling size. For instance, if you're inspecting 1-51 parts, our usual sampling protocol (called C=0) would call for us to inspect 13 pieces. The higher the sample, the more parts we'd inspect. This ranges from visual inspection, Vernier caliper measurements, stress tests and so forth.

C=0 was very unforgiving. You find more than one reject out of a sample size of 13 out of a lot of 51, you have to send the entire lot back to Production and alert Engineering. Sometimes, you have to have an MRB meeting involving QC, production, engineering and sometimes even executive management to arrive at a disposition that could involve reworking to actually scrapping the lot.

This is where the difference between QC and QA comes in. QC is essentially the art of saying, "You didn't make this right." QA is the art of saying, "You're not making this right." See the difference? QC is an antiquated form of quality that inspects the pieces only after the cost of materials and labor had been invested. There's little if any in-process supervision on the line.

QA is all about in-process inspections, or overseeing the production process right on the lines. So if an autoclave or extruder needs to be recalibrated, for instance, you can jump on it before the order is filled.

Now, while we usually used the C=0 sampling plan, when dealing with federal contracts for the military, sometimes we'd be called upon to use military specs such as mil-standard 105b or 105e, for example. This, believe it or not, is a little more forgiving- You're able to find up to two rejects in a sampling lot of 13 before you have to send the lot back for disposition, whereas C=0 would permit only one reject out of 13.

What's so alarming about the Pentagon IG's report is this: The first article inspection, which sources everything from the materials used to actual measurements, is based on a prototype that's made before (not, as Ghosh claims, during the production phase) the piece goes into mass production. This first article report is then sent to the customer to assure them that their piece meets all their specs and standards. It should, in theory, involve what is known as a source inspection between the QC or QA inspector and a representative from the customer's company.

The Pentagon Inspector General's second Slaughter-requested audit is so disturbing because apparently this body armor went into mass production with different contractors after what was apparently a slipshod first article inspection process.

Let me tell you from experience, people, that even though QC is a quality-driven department, sometimes when executive management had a lot of money (and personal bonuses) on the line, they would pressure us to get orders out the door so they could invoice them. We were told to cut corners and before you know it, QC becomes a bottom-line department. It doesn't matter to senior management if, a month down the road, the parts get RMA'd (or rejected and sent back) back to us. By then, their bonuses are already in their pockets and suddenly everyone develops amnesia and looks no further than the signature at the bottom of the cert or first article report, which is that of the QC inspector.

The body armor and the ceramic bulletproof plates in them got mass-produced with lax oversight by both the Pentagon and the manufacturer, the first article process getting all but bypassed so the pieces could be rushed into production.

Ghosh doesn't go into which contractors are involved but we've been hearing over the years about all the tens of thousands of pieces of body armor that have been rejected by the Army and the Marine Corps or (more horrifyingly) actually red-tagged and issued to our troops, anyway. We've all heard, I hope, about the DHB scandal involving the crappy armor made by convicted swindler David Brooks. Years ago when I first began blogging about political, social, media and military matters I'd read news articles in which ceramic plates would break when simply dropped on the floor.

Troops were told by the Pentagon that if they were literally caught dead wearing Dragonskin or any other armor other than David Brooks' armor, they'd lose their SGLI death benefits. The Pentagon became the biggest pimp for a guy who, along with two of his top executives, were about to get arrested not for making shoddy armor or PASGT's (or Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops, such as helmets) but for tax evasion and insider trading.

Believe it or not, the Interceptor model made by David Brooks' company wasn't Level III-A-rated because Pentagon standards don't require that they stop a .45 caliber slug.

Bottom line: At the same time that we've been tamping billions of dollars down the throats of dozens of contractors at taxpayer expense, we were still not standard-issuing these kids top-of-the-line armor that was even rated to stop a .45 slug. Which would be considered a break compared to the unimaginably deadly IED's and the resultant shrapnel that Brooks' crappy armor also wouldn't stop. And in some cases, it wasn't even able to intercept the much lighter 9 mm rounds for which "the Interceptor" was rated to stop.

The good news is, Brooks' crappy armor was replaced with that from other companies. The bad news is, according to the IG's latest report, not only is the new armor suspect if not outright defective, the quality inspection process appears to have been deliberately streamlined in order to keep the profits flowing out of the Treasury and into the pockets of other guys like David Brooks at the expense of the safety of our kids in the Persian Gulf.

Which is something else that Obama's people should look into.

Caption Contest

Some high tech pranksters in Texas hacked into a road sign in Austin and did their civic duty by warning motorists about... zombies!! It's funny on its own merits but I still think we can squeeze in a caption or two. So show me whatcha got for braaaaaiiiiiins.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Twenty Bucks, Same as in Town

Blogwhoring. You do it, I do it, we all do it. What have you been up to?

The Heretik: She nails it. Anyone else catch the new Treasury Secretary's installation of a former Goldman Sachs lobbyist the day after announcing reforms that would prohibit lobbyists from dictating Treasury policy? Just when we started ridding the Treasury Dept. of Hank Paulson's stench of corruption.

OK, Truthout's not a blog and the BBC's Greg Palast, while he may have the snarkiness of one, is not what I'd call a blogger. Having said that, Palast wrote a Truthout exclusive that pretty much dances then pisses on the GOP's grave that was dug a few inches deeper when Obama got his stimulus bill passed in the lower chamber without any help from House Republicans whatsoever.

Ana Marie Cox, the original Wonkette, is pioneering the next phase of blogging. It's a microblogging format called Twitter that restricts one to 140 characters (or the threshhold of a text message). Yet even in this restricted format, Cox makes an interesting observation about Michael Steele's election to RNC chairman. She defines "Palinism" in another post as "Aggressive know-nothingism, pride in ignorance and a belief that there is such a thing as "real America." But will Uncle Tom Steele be able to wean himself off the soured tits of el Rushbo? Not a fucking chance.

It was only a matter of time (meaning minutes) before Windy City native d r i f t g l a s s would pen a screed about Blago getting flushed out of the Illinois state house. But, true to form, Sir Drifty reminds us that Blago wasn't the Be All/End All of Chicago political corruption. The closing image alone is worth clicking on the link. Go on over and put a smmmmmmile on that face!

The Rude Pundit, in writing about the Lilly Ledbetter bill signed into law by President Obama yesterday, touches upon another subject that ought to be examined: How many of us will go soft now that we have an administration that's actually, well, sane and not trying to murder us? Sez the Rude One:
This photo presents some cognitive dissonance for the Rude Pundit. He's used to a president sitting there and smiling as he signs a law that forces children to watch as Halliburton employees slash the throats of puppies or whatever cruel legislation was placed in front of the barely sentient George W. Bush. This Obama fella, he's signing something that is good for average people. Fuckin' weird, man.

So I guess that means we'll see less filthy language from RP and that we'll all start to lose our edge just because we have a badass President who doesn't mortally embarrass us in front of the rest of the world every time he sticks his head out of the White House?

The smart money says no. Don't forget, we have two other branches of government, right wing radio and Fox "News." And they can all suck my throbbing, oozing, rosy red cock either individually or all at once and they'd better make it sloppy, sloppy, dammit!

In the aptly-titled "Incoherence", Digby deconstructs Christie (not to be confused with the English serial killer) as only she can:
Christie had a total meltdown defending Rush Limbaugh against the ads going out in GOP Senators' states, saying that it's a "disgrace" to go after him because he and other talk show hosts represent "tens of millions of Americans who are tired of president Obama and Nancy Pelosi trying to ram a bill through, they are not working in a bipartisan fashion."

Michael Steele may have just won the job of RNC chairman, but we know where the real power in the Republican Party still lies as it has for many years ---with the radio talk show hosts who "represent" tens of millions of people who are sick and tired of president Obama's partisan behavior during the whole ten days he's been in office.

OK, this is a funny caption by Fearguth at Bildungblog. While you're there, click on his banner and see the full page. The other captions ain't so bad, either.

Happy 4th Anniversary, Pottersvillians

Well, neither Pottersville is four years old but I just realized that I began blogging four years ago today. And what a long, strange trip it's been. Between all three blogs, I've gotten around two and a half million hits, created a couple of thousand posts, written perhaps half a million words (or about 4 full-length novels) and have not only kept my writing muscles flexed but have educated myself on more subjects than I can count.

When I started four years ago today, I wrote a post about Kerry having to use the media as part of his campaign strategy while Bush didn't have to. A buddy of mine who'd guided me through the process said if you wanna get known, drop a permalink on some of the A list sites and see what happens. It's a horrible and irritating habit that's gotten me lambasted on Glenn Greenwald's blog even when I wasn't leaving any comments. Still, if you want to get known, you can't rely on Google blog searches. You have to put your blog name and URL out there so people can have a shortcut.

By the time I'd begun blogging, I thought I'd be a natural. After all, I was already a seasoned writer. I'd already more or less completed three novels and had published poetry and satire in "little" magazines, anthologies and even a couple of Houghton Mifflin textbooks. But when I quickly realized who the big dogs were, I understood that I was in out of my depth. Blogging, especially political blogging, is a legitimately unique literary discipline. Perhaps not an art form but definitely a legit subgenre of nonfiction.

Eventually I found my sea legs and developed not a style but several styles of venting my spleen, concerns and withering contempt for what I saw as a clearcut subversion of the Constitution and even an undermining of our cherished democracy. I took potshots at both Democrats and Republicans and even my fellow lefty bloggers. But through it all, I did it my way no matter how many toes I stepped on along the way.

And the learning curve that I'd gradually climbed was not an end but a means to an end that was symptomatic of my growing political mania and obsession. Some days I'd spent over eight hours a day blogging and researching. The idea of blogging became more precious to me than any of my posts. I have said many times and will say again that I've never written a blog post that I'd want to see between covers (and the abrupt deletion of my first two blogs is brutal proof of that). Political blogging, especially, is a topical and highly perishable medium, a discipline in which things change with, literally, lightning fast rapidity.

I wrote my first post and the next three that same day, one of them about the first of what would prove to be three Iraqi elections that were to be held the next day. I recall writing and worrying about who among our troops would be killed trying to maintain security for elections that were, stupidly and recklessly, held in a Muslim country that was still very unstable.

I'd like to think that, in the last four years, I've made some small difference. I've gotten a few people to sign petitions, a few others to donate money to worthy causes and maybe influenced a vote or two over the last two elections. Not only did I keep my writing muscles toned, I've also learned the value of sourcing, the true intelligence level of my typical reader and think I know when to cut loose with snark and when to play it straight. There aren't many bloggers whom I look up to but I'm barely smart enough to know who my betters are (D r i f t g l a s s, the Rude Pundit, Hunter at Daily Kos and precious few others make me want to be a better blogger.).

But as I'm sure several of my readers are painfully aware, my hubris and desire for a wider audience impels me to ask time and again why I keep beating my head against the wall, shouting down empty wells and tilting at windmills. This third and newest blog, even on the rare occasion it gets major linkage, has still never cracked 2000 hits and blog posts over which I labor for days, even weeks, get completely ignored while Crooks and Liars or Buzzflash will link to a post on which I'd devoted maybe a half hour or less. It drives me crazy.

I'm a local kook in my own family because of my increasingly strident political stances and even in the bluest district of the bluest state of an increasingly blue country I can still find myself at a dinner table with ignorant right wing lunatics and racists (but I'm being tautological) and I sometimes feel like Jesse Jackson at a Klan rally.

I do not apologize for educating myself in matters such as constitutional law, the media, US history, presidential lore, the legislative process, knowing who's who. I pride myself on knowing what I know now. Four years ago, I literally wouldn't have recognized Karl Rove if I shared an elevator with him. Nowadays, name any member of congress and chances are I'll be able to tell you what state or district they represent and even who'd donated to their campaigns without having to run to Google.

Will I ever be a big dog? Not a fucking chance, even if I sell my novel for a zillion dollars. Too many people hate me and when it's time to start nominating blogs for awards whatever place in which I'm bloviating is probably literally the last place anyone will think of. Which is fine. I didn't get into this business to win awards that don't mean jack shit in the meat world. Sure, recognition and some appreciation would go a long way but that's ancillary. It's always been about getting people to think, feel and making more informed choices on election day. In short, getting the other 99% of the adult population to care again.

For the most part, my personal education aside, I consider the last four years and the countless thousands of hours I've spent in bloggerdom to be an utter waste of time and a failure. I wish I'd never gotten involved in blogging and also wish I'd written American Zen and those other three novels years ago. But any longterm failure is really more a reflection of the petty politics of political blogging and the cloistered, clannish community of the A listers who regularly listen in on conference calls with the likes of Ted Kennedy and visit Bill Clinton in his Harlem office. (Did you know that the A listers have their own secret email list that excludes the rest of us?).

Fuck 'em all, I say. I was never an A lister, not even a B lister 99.9% of the time but I'm damned proud that I held their feet to the fire and tried to keep them honest. Most of them don't deserve superstar status or access to the political elite or the mainstream media. I didn't get in to this to get my puss plastered on TV or win useless awards that will not one iota improve my lot in life. I got into this dirty, thankless game to get people to think, rethink and maybe to start blogs of their own, to show them through my example that sometimes, for brief periods of time, blogging can actually transcend mere wordsmithing into something in which we can be proud, in offering a tiny slice of the world a tiny slice of a human mind, a mind forever incomplete but in a continual, Protean state of neverending education.

And for those who've been on the wild ride and long, strange trip with me, I thank you and curse you when I want to throw in the fucking towel and a kind, encouraging word from a few won't let me and pull me back in. Of course, it's not you who pull me back in: It's really me getting myself off the floor.

Top 10 Bush Executive Orders Labor Wants President Obama to Repeal

Labor leaders were to visit the White House for a second consecutive day Friday, where, a union official said, Obama was to abolish four Bush-era directives that unions opposed... Unions have been lobbying the Obama administration to repeal scores of executive orders they view as hostile to their cause. Officials gave administration officials their top 10 executive orders they wanted to see dismantled quickly. - AP

  • 10) Union and nonunion workers alike are required to burn on the anniversary of his disappearance Jimmy Hoffa's effigy.

  • 9) During union-busting activities, management is allowed to use white phosporous because it is not defined as a chemical weapon.

  • 8) Labor leaders are required to make at least one concession to management for every day of a contract negotiation and must lay prostrate while wearing jester hats and elf shoes.

  • 7) During strikes, hunting season on picketers is to last no more than 30 days (automatic weapons, however, are allowed).

  • 6) Those who cross picket lines to work for less pay than union workers are not to be called "scabs" but instead "fair-haired golden children of management."

  • 5) Union employees during orientation and job training are forced to watch Sylvester Stallone's F.I.S.T. until they drop out of the union.

  • 4) In the event of a labor riot, management and professional union busters are to use no more than two nails per 2 x 4 or baseball bat.

  • 3) Major League Baseball is exempt, 'specially them there Texas Rangers.

  • 2) Nonunion workers can only organize after working hours, off company property and in subterranean catacombs.

  • 1) Wal-Mart and other anti-union companies are allowed to tell workers that collective bargaining has been linked to cancer and AIDS.
  • Thursday, January 29, 2009

    It's Not Over Until the Fathead Sings

    And so endeth the latest but certainly not the last act of the Three Penny Opera of Chicago corruption: Not with a bang but a 47 minute-long whimper.

    The Illinois Senate today voted to impeach former Governor Rod Blagojevich by a 59-0 margin, thereby ending, if audiotape testimony is a reliable indicator, the most massive and meanest one man political crime wave in recent memory. Depending on your point of view, Blagojevich, who'd been arrested early last month and charged with corruption, had turned his impeachment proceedings into everything from a three penny opera to a minstrel show to theater of the absurd.

    During his impeachment, Blago likened himself to a cowboy about to be lynched by a mob and his impeachment to the Holocaust. He's the first Governor to be impeached in the state's history, which is saying a lot considering the neverending corruption that's infested Illinois for farther back than living memory.

    And while no one can fault any of the state Senators for voting unanimously to impeach Blagojevich, one has to wonder why the equally obvious corruption of his predecessor, George Ryan, didn't make him the first Governor in the state to be impeached.

    Still, in an era when Democrats have a golden opportunity on both a state and federal level to show how much better they can run things than those at the kiddie table, Blagojevich came along at exactly the wrong moment after having tried to sell the new president's Senate seat and reminding people that, yeah, the Democrats are just as corrupt as the Republicans. They just don't think quite as big or are as good at it as the GOP.

    Some myths are comfortable and Blagojevich raped us of that without making the slightest attempt to be a class act about it, opting instead to be a bigger drama queen than any Republican who also had his porcine hoof caught in a cookie jar.

    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    The George W. Bush Preznidential Libary

    Construction on the George W. Bush Presidential Library will soon commence. Below is a list of the various attractions and features that are expected to be offered:

  • 1) The Department of Justice Room: A reverse labyrinth, this is accessible only by a series of right hand turns, housed in the main building’s right wing.

  • 2) The Educational Sub Library: On hold because of current underfunding.

  • 3) The Faith-Based Initiatives Chapel: The only chapel in a Presidential Library, this will give tourists/devotees a chance to reflect on how faithfully well evangelical Christianity has served the nation. Greeting you at the door is a cardboard cutout of the 43rd President and every two hours a special DVD edition of “Jesus Camp” starring Ted Haggard is played.

  • 4) The Enhanced Interrogation Room: A vivid reminder of what kept our nation great and unattacked since 9/11, this mockup includes real cages, manacles and animatronic German Shepherds that bark when triggered by internal motion detectors. Semi-functional stocks, racks, Iron Maidens all to the tune “Please Release Me” as actually sung by President Bush can be tested by our guests either on themselves or eachother. You’ll be sure to tell all your friends about it! We’ll make sure you tell.

  • 5) George’s Place: Midway through the tour, stop off at this built-in five star restaurant with California Congressman Duncan Hunter as your Maitre’d. Enjoy succulent dishes out of the official Gitmo cookbook and prepared as for the detainees at Guantanamo Bay by a master chef such as orange-glazed chicken, Beef Wellington and baked Alaska. (Sorry, pretzels unavailable.)

  • 6) The Free Market: Before resuming the tour, stop off at the Presidential Library’s gift shop. Formerly on sale at fine stores in Crawford, Texas, this collectible merchandise is duty- and tariff-free, with less than half of it produced by so-called “sweat shop labor.” Choose from a range of items such as giant foam middle fingers emblazoned with red, white and blue letters spelling, “Fuckin’ A, USA!” and copies of Invading Gulf Nations for Dummies, each one signed by President Bush himself! Don’t let the steep prices scare you out of stimulating the economy: That’s just the price to pay for the wonderfully deregulated manner in which these valuable products are made.

  • 7) The NSA Room: Resume the tour by entering a secret room adjoining the NSA room and monitor landline, cell phone calls and text messages from anyone within a 2500 mile radius as they’re being transmitted!

  • 8) The George W. Bush Foreign Policy Institute: Situated next to the main building, this conservative think tank is devoted to the geopolitics practiced by the Bush administration. Lining the walls are pictures of all the great world leaders with whom President Bush had worked such as General Pervez Musharraf, Uzbek President Islam Karimov, the King of Saudi Arabia and Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak.

  • 9) The Environmental Solarium: Reflective of the Bush administration’s vigilant watch over our nation’s ecology, this wing is made entirely out of shredded and recycled paper. A running joke is that these are shredded ballots from the 2000 and 2004 elections, a certain presidential PDB and the “lost” White House emails. But trying to read the words is nonetheless discouraged by the security staff.

  • 10) The Main Library: The climax of the guided tour is, of course, the George W. Bush Presidential Library. To be displayed are the presidential papers of the 43rd President (contingent on whether or not President Barack Obama unseals them) and books actually read by the President such as Albert Camus’s The Stranger, America, My Pet Goat and several popup books.

  • Tuesday, January 27, 2009

    “Loyal But Principled Opposition.”

    Mere hours after Barack Obama won the presidency and 72,000,000 Americans showed their best O faces, House and Senate Republicans were already issuing communiqués from their bunkers. Several of them, while making a pretense of welcoming the new executive branch, vowed to put up “loyal but principled opposition.”

    Now let’s ignore for the moment the laughable assumption that today’s Republicans would actually have a prayer of recognizing much less appreciating anything even remotely akin to a principle and concentrate, instead, on the word “loyal.”

    “Loyal but principled opposition” could be interpreted in a multiplicity of ways. But however you interpret it, it’s become a cliché in political circles that’s as common as “reaching across the aisle” or “culture of corruption.” We tend to hear it every four years or so, especially from Republicans when they’re in the minority when faced with an incoming Democratic administration.

    It’s still amazing to me that not one journalist or major blogger on either side or any in between has ever analyzed the obviously true meaning of that word when used in this context.

    “Loyal” in this instance obviously means loyal to the party, putting the needs of the country, a state or a district, at best, a distant second. And even a distant second is optimistic when one considers that the needs of We the People are woefully matched up against those of corporations, large special interest groups and the shock troops known as lobbyists that are deployed on Capitol Hill in a neverending human wave.

    Indeed, in today’s entrenched corruption, it’s virtually impossible to divine which priorities are more paramount- their party’s ideology or the transient and longterm interests of well-moneyed lobbyists. Or is there even a difference?

    Whatever your conclusion, one fact remains hidden in plain sight: Republicans will unhesitatingly put the skids on the most progressive and necessary legislation since it tends to trump their laissez faire, scorched earth mantra whether it’s driven by bribe money, party ideology or just plain, pig-head stupidity, meanness and/or stubbornness.

    Even before President Obama’s inauguration, Republicans were playing immature tit-for-tat games such as, “If you block Roland Burris, we’ll block Al Franken” and “If Holder doesn’t promise to not go after our war criminals, we’ll block his nomination”, as if seating elected and appointed officials is just the political version of Hollywood Squares.

    If President Obama is smart, he’ll learn from this. Four years in the US Senate plus seven more in the Illinois legislature should’ve been more than enough to educate him in the futility of reaching across the aisle to most Republicans. His calls for bipartisanship could be genuine and he really is that naïve, Or, it could be a political ploy and he’s giving the GOP one chance and one chance only before they chop his hand off. Then he would be justified in saying, “Fuck you, you had your chance.” With 59 seats under Democratic / Independent control in the Senate, it’s not as if the Republicans are in much of a bargaining position.

    The phrase “loyal but principled” opposition used to be interpreted thusly: A loyalty to the Constitution and/or one’s personal ideology when confronting those in power.

    Only a naïf would continue to define this phrase in such a way, especially considering the shenanigans we’ve seen from the likes of Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham, Dennis Hastert and other Republican crooks. Just as Eric Holder ought to lie to the minority Republicans (who still think they’re in charge) on the Judiciary Committee and tell them whatever they want to hear then do his damned job prosecuting war criminals, Barack Obama should do the same thing to Republicans who were already circling their diminished wagon train hours after he won the election.

    “Sure, I’ll reach across the aisle and include you in the legislative process. But the minute I see a machete come out, all bets are off and you're back at the kiddie table.”

    Then they can explain to their constituency why they haven’t voted on anything that could conceivably do this country the good that it deserves and needs. Let them see how far the hollowed-out phrase “loyal but principled opposition” gets them on election day when it only translates to more unemployment, deeper debt and more foreclosures.

    Monday, January 26, 2009

    Interview With the Vampire Idiot.

    OK, a couple of confessions. If I had a cushy gig at a liberal rag like my alter ego Mike Flannigan, I'd be writing full-length cover pieces like this instead of writing largely ignored blog posts for 1% of 1% of 1% of the adult population. Instead, I have to restrict it to 1000 words or less in deference to people who would make a goldfish look like a mnemonic megalodon.

    Secondly, I've always considered Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone as kind of my political/writing soulmate. I have very few favorites whom I admit are my betters. People like the late Molly Ivins and Hunter S. Thompson and Truthout's William Rivers Pitt, and sometimes Frank Rich. But Taibbi is the only guy living who writes like me and isn't afraid to throw an "F" bomb once in a while while making some splendidly outrageous and outraged comment, especially on the (in)human condition of George W. Bush.

    What follows is a sample of Taibbi's cover story in the latest Rolling Stone, entitled, "Bush Apologizes: The Farewell Interview We Wish He'd Give." Granted it's hard to believe that Bush would ever sit for an interview with anyone who works for RS, much less Taibbi, who has faithfully skewered the Bush administration for many years. But once you get past that implausibility, the interview takes off and Taibbi shows why, even moreso than yours truly, he captures the essence of Bush's voice and... thought patterns... for want of a better word. Below is a sample:
    Anyway, it was right around then that they brought me my PDB [Presidential Daily Briefing], and it said something about bin Laden. I mean, we get these warnings about foreign terrorists all the time. How was I supposed to know he was going to attack in the United States?

    Well, the memo was titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack in U.S."
    It was?

    Yes, sir.
    Well, nobody told me that.

    But they wrote it to you.
    But nobody told me that they wrote it to me.

    Who's "they"?
    I don't know. Whoever is in the room. Vice President Cheney. Don Rumsfeld. Rove. Sometimes there's some other guys. It kind of rotates.

    Do you decide who "they" is?
    No, they usually decide who they is. Or at least one of they does. Usually Cheney.

    Interesting. What did they tell you they wrote to you about why America needed to invade Iraq?
    Sometime in the fall of 2001, pretty soon after 9/11, Rumsfeld and Cheney handed me a piece of paper. I asked them what was in it. Rumsfeld says, "Mr. President, we've just written you a memo explaining that we need to invade Iraq." And I said, "OK. Why?" And Dick says to me, "Because of 9/11, Mr. President." [Silence]

    Is that the whole story?
    Yeah. Why?

    Now, check out the top comment by jreb. Methinks he actually thinks this is a real interview. How dare we have liberally-biased media outlets?!

    Unfortunately, you have to read the rest by buying a copy at the newsstand (I have a subscription and, no, I'm not violating copyright by painstakingly transcribing the rest of Taibbi's piece.). But this "interview" by itself is well worth the $4.50 cover price. And, no, I won't read it to you even if you call me.

    Caption Contest

    The McCain campaign crashed and burned over Hanoi today. The good news is, there was one survivor. The bad news...

    (Photo courtesy of BlueGal at C&L, by way of

    Assclowns Feature Saves Literacy @ 11.

    Go to Billy Kristol's last column. Don't worry, I won't make you actually read it. Now scroll to the bottom. You'll be glad you did.

    Don't say I never did anything for my readership. OK, so I can't claim all the credit but I can dream, right?

    (Photoshop courtesy of Sir D r i f t g l a s s.)

    Sunday, January 25, 2009

    Assclowns of the Week Year #75: Diamond Jubilee Inauguration Edition

    (Perhaps it’s fitting that the most historic presidential inauguration ever would coincide with this feature’s 75th edition, a self-styled “Diamond Jubilee” that takes aim at the 50, count ‘em, 50 of the world’s most notorious assclowns of the past year.

    This special edition will be guest-blogged by the equally infamous Mike Flannigan of American Zen notoriety because his ghost writer, yours truly, is tied up editing Mike’s hash of a first draft. So take it away, Mikey.)

    Yeah, JP, I’m sure that Obama was secretly hoping and praying that you wouldn’t do the 75th edition before his inauguration. Anyway, welcome to Pottersville’s 75th Assclowns of the Week, although it’s a year-end retrospective that isn’t at all derivative of The Buffalo Beast’s annual “50 Most Loathsome People of 20…

    Included in this super expanded inauguration day/diamond jubilee edition will be a lot of the usual suspects but also some shocking but no less deserving victims. Persecuted for posterity:

    Rush Limbaugh; Sarah Palin; Dick Cheney; Joe the Plumber; Joe Lieberman; Israel and even Barack Obama and A List liberal bloggers. Many are called yet few are chosen. Except for this week. So let’s launch the first of fifty, count ‘em, fifty nuclear-tipped verbal missiles, shall we?

    50) Joe the Plumber

    America’s most notorious plumber since Watergate, Joe Wurzelbacher had parleyed a brief conversation about income redistribution with Barack Obama at a rope line into an actual career, becoming permanent tabloid fodder when a prior arrangement before the third debate turned aspiring businessman Joe the Plumber into a synecdoche for what was wrong with the other guy’s ideas. Despite offering nothing substantive to the national dialogue, Wurzelbacher, a tax-evading, unlicensed bozo whose surname is reminiscent of a Nazi-era pipe organ, has become a reality TV phenomenon who, like Rob and Amber, never quite fades away, the press reporting on him every time he waxes his bulbous, Jennifer Lopez ass-sized dome. While aspiring writers and musicians of actual talent keep getting passed over for recognition, Joe has gotten a book and record deal plus a stint as a “war correspondent” for Pajamas Media. No sooner than landing in Jerusalem on PJTV’s dime, he wasted no time in picking a fight with an Israeli reporter. Jesus fucking Christ, even his female analogue wasn’t in the public eye for this long.

    49) Michele Bachmann

    Michele Bachmann of Minnesota’s 6th congressional district serves best as a vivid reminder that Congress hasn’t been completely fumigated. Bachmann told Chris Matthews, during her own reelection campaign, that several members of Congress ought to be investigated for being “anti-American”. Then she tried to help the media not do it job by lying about having said it to Alan Colmes. The Republican Party’s response to Eva Braun who follows Dubya around as if he’s Jerry Garcia thinks we ought to bring back the dark, paranoid days of McCarthyism and that Minnesotans having to work two jobs to defend themselves against the economic onslaught of Bachmann’s party is just fine and dandy. And then, despite being MIA during her own campaign and blaming minorities for accepting loans offered to them by trusted home lending giants, the last of the cyanide eaters actually got re-elected. One can only imagine how badly that poor woman’s lips were chapped after election night.

    48) Screaming, Obnoxious TV Pitchmen


    47) Jerome Corsi

    A bloated factory o’ falsehoods, Jerome Corsi produced more lies in Unfit For Command and Obama Nation, which attacked Senators John Kerry and Barack Obama, respectively, than Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter and Joseph Goebbels combined. Yet, both books turned into NY Times bestsellers despite the fact they were written by a factually crippled anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic, homophobic bag of second-hand wind. The Godfather of the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, Corsi’s main objection to Obama seemed to be rooted in the facts that 1) Obama didn’t have an “R” after his name and 2) wasn’t sufficiently white. Yet Sean Hannity, Corsi’s lesbian Oprah, helped propel this book off the shelves and out of Threshhold’s shredders where it belonged. Nine weeks after Obama Nation oozed out, this anti-Santa Claus was detained then kicked out of Kenya. The 111th Congress’s first official act ought to be not to repeal the USA PATRIOT Act or setting the terms for the second half of the bailout. We need an act of Congress to ban Corsi from getting anywhere within 100 yards of anything that can possibly be perverted as a writing implement or anyone who can serve him however haphazardly as a literary agent or publisher.

    46) Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer

    Maybe the world’s stupidest prank for money scam of 2008 wouldn’t merit inclusion in this august retrospective were it not for the fact that they got the mainstream media to buy into it. Last summer, Whitton and Dyer made headlines when they announced that they’d not only captured Bigfoot but had the body on ice. By mid-August, the scam fell apart faster than the bad monkey suit that was actually in the freezer. Whitton, a Georgia cop, was immediately fired and his hardly more credible buddy Dyer was a used car salesman. When the jig was up, they disappeared faster than the money they’d gotten from a California company for the exclusive rights to their “story.” Amazingly, their official website was still offering Bigfoot excursions for $500 a pop, proving that not only is there a sucker born every minute but that any redneck bozo with a monkey suit can be a latter-day PT Barnum and take the press on a ride no matter implausible the hoax.

    45) Scott Weiland

    Scott Weiland, front man and courageous, official drug tester for Velvet Revolver and his erstwhile band Stone Temple Pilots, is becoming more synonymous with drug abuse and rehab than Betty Ford. Weiland carefully cultivated a hard-earned reputation for having personally tested more pharmaceuticals than the FDA and Haight Ashbury combined. Because of this and the inevitable creative decline, the sales of each album since their debut, Core, have also declined. The sales of their last record, 2001’s Shangri-La Dee Da, could be counted on the fingers of a leper’s hand.

    The headbanger’s Amy Winehouse, who at least has the advantage of not being stuck like a sharp stick in the public eye for as long as Weiland, is worse than the stereotypical talented rock and roller who dies tragically young of an overdose. He’s now a middle-aged train wreck that’s constantly averted by some infinitely cruel, celestial brakeman, as if his life’s “To Do…” list reads thusly:

    Get adored by millions of fans.
    Make a pile of money.
    Die tragically young of drug overdose. No, successfully undergo rehab. Nah, drug OD. No, wait…

    C’mon, Scotty, shit the bed or get off the pot. And the coke. And the smack...

    44) Rudy Giuliani

    A loathsome, horse-toothed vulture fundie, Rudy Giuliani was still considered desirable enough by right wing voters to lead all GOP presidential contenders a year ago despite running on a platform consisting of nothing more than being the lame duck mayor of 9/11, becoming in the process more synonymous with smoking rubble than Osama bin Laden. On that day and for a brief time afterward, this hot-pricked, adulterous lunatic absorbed the klieg lights that George W. Bush (who recently complained about being in them) by all rights should’ve had were he not hiding in secret, undisclosed locations in the Midwest, thereby making a mayor our president on one of the most calamitous days in US history.

    Blithely forgotten by conservative voters was Giuliani crippling the NYPD’s and NYFD’s ability to respond and coordinate with eachother on 9/11, forcing them to use antiquated radios. Forgotten was him insisting on putting WTC 7, the emergency management headquarters which doubled as his and Judith Nathan’s personal love shack, in the likeliest spot for a terrorist attack. Forgotten was Giuliani ordering the rubble at Ground Zero to be carted away before it could be investigated and analyzed. And also forgotten were the human remains from Ground Zero being used as road filler. Giuliani’s near-accomplishment of riding 9/11 like a toxic dragon all the way into the Oval Office like some conquering hero almost became a public relations coup on a par with Lincoln being designated the liberator of slaves and Hitler the savior of Germany.

    43) Mitt Romney

    Retroactive civil rights hero and traveling hair product storage facility Mitt Romney never had a chance. His failure to capture the GOP nomination is a mystery… unless you remember certain facts such as waiting until just before the economy started to collapse like a wooden-framed futon in a busy whorehouse to preach the virtues of the corporate leadership that’s served us so admirably well these past eight years. Dogged by his five toothy Osmond Brother clone offspring who are apparently allergic to olive drab and Navy blue, this real-life Gordon Gecko (who was the first runner up in 2007’s Most Painfully Embarrassing Caucasian Man Awards won by Rush Limbaugh) pretended to keep Bush at arm’s length while wholeheartedly embracing his most disastrous policies. Triangulating and flip-flopping with the industry of a manic schizophrenic, this was a man representing a fringe religion making up 2% of the nation who would’ve refused to appoint Muslims in his Cabinet because they comprise only 1%. If elected President, Romney would’ve been the first chief executive to deliver his inaugural address as a Power Point presentation and faxing his State of the Union speeches to Congress.

    42) Fred Thompson

    With a mouth larger than the wax rings used to seat toilet fixtures, former Senator and aspiring thespian Fred Thompson was the Snakes on a Plane candidate: One enjoying a big internet push only to fizzle out at show time. In fact, the most provocative and cerebral part of Thompson’s platform was the delightfully jiggly but unenviable pink thing that has to inhale his farts every night in bed. Practically putting himself and Jay Leno’s audience to sleep the night he announced his candidacy, Thompson appealed primarily to the George Romero/Teri Schiavo demographic that adoringly surrounded him in the corn belt as if he was the Mazola Corn God despite his anti-farming votes in some of the rare pieces of legislation to which his name is attached. In fact, this former Howard Baker stooge’s most significant accomplishment on Capitol Hill came when he accidentally torpedoed the Nixon administration by insisting the Watergate tapes be made admissible to the hearings.

    If there were about 70,000,000 more Republican farmers or 70,000,000 more Aqua Velva-inebriated Chris Matthews, Thompson would’ve been the first brain-dead man to win an election since incumbent John Ashcroft lost to Mel Carnahan.

    41) Axl Rose

    In the works since the middle of the first Bush administration, seven years before Frank Sinatra and four years before Dean Martin croaked, Axl Rose finally released Chinese Democracy almost in time to see China become a democracy, furthermore making it available exclusively at Best Buy. Welcome to the jungle or what used to be a jungle until it was razed, paved and turned into a parking lot for electronics temples that can be seen from Mars. Such corporate canoodling and artistic ambivalence is impossible to stomach from someone who was once the coolest singer in rock and roll. But when over 17 years elapse between albums, making some think that Chinese Democracy was midwifed by Congress, perhaps Axl the Artiste should’ve provided with the CD a brief biography and photo introduction for kids who weren’t even born when his last albums, Use Your Illusion I and II came out.

    40) Tony Zirkle

    Divorce lawyer and former 2nd Worst Person in the World Tony Zirkle stands tall among 2008’s tall Republican weeds of assclownery. Last year while running for Congress (his campaign blog is still up, if you still need a laugh after this post), Zirkle thought it would be a good idea to speak at the American National Socialist Workers Party’s party. So what was the problem? The problem was that the Party’s party was a birthday bash for Adolph Hitler. Zirkle claimed he didn’t know he was making a speech in front of American Nazis or what they stood for.

    Yeah, I can understand how the clever ruse could’ve disguised their real intentions.

    Zirkle’s stump speech in front of the sons of Adolph Hitler was one that shocked and inspired the loathing of not just liberals but of even his fellow Indiana Republicans, making him quite possibly the most despised and stupidest carbon-based life form in the entire solar system.

    39) The UFC

    During the 2000 elections, the WWE (then the WWF) started skyrocketing in popularity. Last year, the UFC became the new WWF only with no storyline or good guys or bad guys, worse costumes, no choreographed stunts and less blood. One can contact their digital satellite service (Thank God we don’t have to reach for and touch-dial our phones anymore like in the bad old days but can do it with our remotes and interactive screens) and for $44.95 a pop we can watch a bunch of semi-shaved pit bulls punch and kick eachother in the balls for a few hours.

    Or, we could’ve saved our money and watched it for free on CSPAN or any news network.

    38) Michelle Malkin

    A one woman NORAD, Malkin delights in dispatching her flying monkey squadron whenever some unhinged moonbat crosses her baleful radar screen and into Wingnuttian airspace. This was most colorfully demonstrated when Malkin saw a photo ad for Dunkin’ Donuts featuring chef, author and television personality Rachel Ray. Apparently, Ray’s scarf looked suspiciously like a kaffiyeh, which, typically, is a masculine headdress. No matter, said Malkin, who apparently was afraid that Ray and Dunkin’ Donuts were sending coded messages to Arab terrorists through designs in the scarf that wasn’t really a kaffiyeh, after all.

    As if this wasn’t risible enough, this multi billion dollar corporation that can buy Malkin’s site with the contents of a tip cup capitulated and pulled the ad to satisfy this sneering, wouldbe cheerleader who, well into her thirties, is still making snide remarks and manufacturing conspiracies against the other kids who are too liberal, too popular, too fashionable or simply too smart.

    37) Mitch McConnell

    Late last year the Senate Minority Leader was named by CREW as one of the nine most corrupt re-elected members of Congress. The Ted Stevens of Kentucky, McConnell has been known to briefly stop being a roadblock to progressive legislation by getting all sorts of earmarks for the Bluegrass state.

    With a disarmingly amiable face like a Cabbage Patch pedophile, Sen. Mitch McConnell actually prides himself on being human razor wire blocking progressive legislation. For many years in the Senate, he has been the stern Mother Superior chaperone whose job it is to ensure the kids at the dance have their socialization skills and desire for fun atrophied at all costs.

    Last year during a particularly scary re-election bid, McConnell actually blamed liberals and leftists for his inexplicable unpopularity.

    36) Peyton Manning

    In 2004, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning set the then-NFL record for TD passes in a season with 49. Coincidentally, that was exactly half the number of commercials that Manning had filmed during Super Bowl week alone. Pimping for Master Card, Direct TV, Nabisco and other corporations, Manning has appeared in more TV spots than Ronald McDonald, Subway’s Jared, Joe the Baker and the Maytag repairman combined. With his Gomer Pyle charm, the Charlie Brown of Gillette Stadium made himself the darling of Madison Avenue and as a result Manning is on television so frequently that we can get an almost daily progress report of his incipient alopecia.

    35) John Edwards

    In manfully and forcefully (if belatedly) decrying Ann Coulter’s charges of him being a “faggot,” John Edwards made the grade for his affair with a campaign staffer. In doing so and during his tearful admission, Edwards proved that even a sainted, all-too-rare liberal icon such as Elizabeth Edwards wasn’t immune to being treated like last night’s used condom. Edwards also brought to the minds of those old enough to remember Newt Gingrich’s own affair with a staffer while his own wife was deathly ill with cancer and Jimmy Swaggert’s own blubbery, “I have sinned!” television confession from 20 years ago. Apparently, there really are two Americas: The one in which some remain true to their spouses during trying, death-defying times and the one in which those with polished hair and skin don’t.

    34) William Kristol

    If you want to look like a psychic, all you need do is one simple thing. Religiously read everything written by Bill Kristol… then say the opposite. Because this Nexus phase of the Peter Principle, whereby a man reaches his plateau of incompetence then continues to fail upward, hasn’t been correct about anything of more importance than a guess as to what will be served at a White House prayer breakfast. Yet, in spite of his dreadful success rate, people continue hiring him for positions of importance (such as the NY Times) and hang on his every syllable as if he’s some rubber-lipped Oracle of Delphi.

    Ergo, he has his critics. In fact, one of them said last May,
    We understand that writing a newspaper column is hard work. But, sweet jeebus, does Bill Kristol have to be this bad at it? Blandly written, intellectually lazy, and--worst of all--hopelessly predictable, his columns will stink up The New York Times' op-ed page for the foreseeable future.

    More bloggy, liberal, moonbat propaganda? Uh, no. It was written by his old pals at the New Republic. Yes, even they have standards.

    33) James Dobson

    The Godfather movies were brilliant commentaries that evil is self-consuming. Equally brilliant at delineating this unalterable truth is Colorado Godfather James Dobson and his Family. After shelling out $950,000 to ram Prop 8 into law, Focus on the Family had to lay off 202 employees, or 20% of its workforce. In other words, by focusing on teh gay families far outside Colorado, Dobson made Christmas pretty shitty for 200 straight families.

    The irony is that the half a million that Dobson had forked over to fuck over gay couples in California could’ve paid the salaries of dozens of those employees for at least a year. Instead, 202 people are standing on the unemployment line or on street corners in Jebusland holding signs that read, “Will Dictate Whom You Can or Can’t Marry For Food.” Unfortunately, only two states now allow gay marriage, not enough to put Focus on the Family completely out of business.

    32) Dick Morris

    Believe it or not, during the ’08 general election, there was someone who had even a more dismal track record for accuracy than Billy Kristol: Dick Morris the anti-prophet. A rumpled man with an equally rumpled brain, Morris would still look dumpy even if he wore a full suit of armor, was placed in the trunk of a Cadillac Mark VI which was then compacted into a cube and then dropped into ten tons of cement.

    Mark Nickolas of unearthed some of Dick’s finest moments. Don’t forget, this man is paid beaucoup bucks to be a campaign and political consultant. Here are some of his greatest near-misses of 2008:
    Oct 28: "As Obama has oscillated, moving somewhat above or somewhat below 50 percent in all the October polls, his election likely hangs in the balance.”

    Oct. 21: "Then came Obama’s conversation with Joe the Plumber, possibly the decisive moment in the election."

    Oct. 14: "At the very least, the negative publicity ACORN will attract will paint Obama as a radical with questionable judgment. At the most, it might cause voters to wonder if he is not himself involved in electoral fraud.”

    Sept. 16: "How odd that Obama, with a world-class personality and an incredibly charismatic speaking style, should be losing the mano-a-mano contest to McCain, who is 25 years older and a foot shorter. But McCain has opened up a decisive lead over Obama, actually using the Democrat’s articulateness against him."

    Sept. 2: "Sarah Palin’s selection will end up as a big win for John McCain…”

    If you want an advance preview of how Dick Morris will get into next year’s annual retrospective, he has a blog that’s no more accurate than his published columns. With advisors such as this, it’s amazing that Clinton’s own administration wasn’t as disastrous as Bush’s.

    31) Sean Hannity

    The lesbian half of the former comedy duo Hannity and Colmes, Sean Hannity gets Pottersville’s Goebbels Award For Fascist Equivocation (or GAFFE). Last month, Media Matters made him 2008’s “Misinformer of the Year” and I see no reason to go to the mat with them on this. At no time during the election could there be made the slightest distinction between McCain’s “Straight Talk Express” and Hannity’s “Stop Obama Express”. By fall, Hannity was getting so desperate to keep Obama out of the White House he was reduced to attacking him for not putting his hand over his heart during the national anthem and “proved” this by showing carefully-edited screenshots of Obama before he could move his hand over his heart. As far as controversies went, even Dick Morris thought it was “ridiculous”.

    On top of essentially slandering Obama on a near-daily basis, Hannity became a verbal mob leg breaker by then going after the future First Family. Trying to tie Obama to Louis Farrakhan, William Ayers and Tony Rezko, Hannity also tried and failed to play the gender card, claiming that Obama had smeared Palin with the “lipstick on a pig” statement (which McCain supporter Mike Huckabee also said on H&C was untrue). Dick Morris, at least it could be said, was sincere in his consistently-misinformed assclownery. Hannity, a Giuliani campaign fund raiser, was knowingly disingenuous when smearing Obama for what one suspects were purely racial motives.

    30) Norm Coleman

    Soon to be ex-Senator Norm Coleman thought he’d won re-election but then Al Franken did something unthinkable: He demanded a recount. After a Byzantine process that involved challenges and lawsuits (that graciously put Franken in the lead by 225 votes), Coleman lambasted Franken’s audacity for ignoring the voice and will of the people. But when Coleman’s lead began slipping and he found himself behind, he was suddenly no longer so militant about honoring the Democratic process and the vox populi. The election was on November 4th 2008. It is now late January 2009 and Minnesota still doesn’t have a second Senator in the 111th Congress, a Congress that will be voting on some of the most momentous legislation in modern times in the first hours of a new administration. Thank you, Norm Coleman, for putting personal ambition ahead of the interests of your state and the nation. Light up another bone and enjoy your early retirement, you Green Goblin-looking piece of shit.

    29) Perez Hilton

    Perez Hilton is a celebrity only in a ludicrously theoretical, Robin Leech/Matt Drudge/Kato Kalen type of way. And there’s something inherently creepy about a blogger who decides to adopt Paris Hilton’s surname as a nom de plume and a professional gay-outter who badly photoshops jizz on the faces of actual celebrities while styling his hair in a way that's suspiciously reminiscent of Cameron Diaz in that notorious scene in There’s Something About Mary. Amazingly, this man’s blog actually commands $54,000 per ad space, showing once again that sponsors obviously don’t discriminate between bloggers who actually contribute something to the national discourse and would be Rona Barretts who are fixated on cybernetic semen.

    28) John Yoo

    Barely over a year ago, John Yoo earned the Clarence Thomas Golden Noose Award for the most whining about being a victim when he published this incredible screed for the Wall Street Journal. In it, Yoo, the White House ambulance chaser who’d found a way to authorize George W. Bush to crush the genitals of innocent small children, was infuriated that Jose Padilla’s lawyers were suing for $1, something that inspired the title, “Terrorist Tort Travesty”, and for daring to invoke habeus corpus, or the right to challenge the legality of his detention. Yoo then surfed to his peroration on a tsunami of lather on the premise that Padilla was some master terrorist convicted after a drawn-out kangaroo court trial for setting up an al Qaida training camp in Miami (forget the fact that no evidence exists whatsoever of that).

    Yoo is a little ogre who’s different from the rest of the moral Quasimodos of the Bush administration for not even shying away from the word “torture” and opting, like the rest, for the more euphemistic “enhanced” or “more aggressive interrogation techniques.” Yoo to date is the only Bush administration official to fully embrace the word and to justify the concept of torture, as this exchange between him and International Human Rights’ Doug Cassel conclusively proves:
    Doug Cassel: If the president deems that he's got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person's child, there is no law that can stop him?
    John Yoo: No treaty.
    DC: Also no law by Congress -- that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo...
    JY: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.

    If there’s any sanity or justice left in the universe, John Yoo, on his deathbed, will have his own withered genitals crushed between bound copies of the Geneva Conventions.

    27) Tucker Bounds

    The Baghdad Bob of the McCain campaign, Bounds bounded to national infamy after a now-legendary interview with CNN’s Campbell Brown. Brown had asked the McCain campaign’s spokesman some simple, straightforward questions regarding Sarah Palin’s alleged foreign policy experience and to explain the McCain camp’s policy on income redistribution. Instead of actually answering them, Bounds kept turning these questions into a smear campaign against Obama, hijacking the interview like a drunken 14 year-old carjacker. The McCain campaign reacted swiftly by cutting off Larry King’s nose to spite Brown’s face by canceling an interview with King. From the giant clown car that was the Straight Talk Express, the 29 year-old Bounds continually went on national TV to tell us not to listen to McCain but the McCain campaign and implying that Obama was a socialist.

    That’s what happens, I guess, when you’re so inept at hiring the right people for the right jobs, such as making your official spokesman a man-child who isn’t even old enough to run for the Senate.

    26) Eliot Spitzer

    Once arguably the brightest shining star of Democratic politics, former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer was caught with his pants down by becoming the rich, thinking man’s David Vitter. At least John Edwards recruited his poontang from within the ranks and didn’t have to flaunt his wealth by having to pay for it. Spitzer, despite having prosecuted prostitutes who’d often turned state’s evidence and sang like brightly-colored canaries, apparently thought that his own squeeze would remain mum in spite of his national recognition. In doing so, Spitzer proved that even a promising Democrat famed for his zeal for prosecuting his fellow whoremongers would privately have the dignity and restraint of a Republican in a men’s toilet.

    25) A-List “Liberal” Bloggers

    “Palestine? Where’s Palestine? Let’s blog about orchids, instead.”

    God forbid liberal A list blogs should take up liberal, progressive, humanitarian causes such as, I dunno, the five year-long, Kafkaesque persecution of Susan Lindauer, Sibel Edmonds, the Israeli murders of hundreds of innocent civilians in Palestine or, for those who can remember farther back than last season’s American Idol, the kidnapping of Jill Carroll. Instead, it’s far better to devote bandwidth space to gay men that got their cravats crimped by a Republican, the latest news of the Brangelina, lobbying for weblog awards that don’t mean shit in the real world, “Heh, indeedy” open threads, up-to-the-second election results in a district that no one gives a rat fuck about and late night bad music video blogging.

    Maybe, if they’re feeling ambitious, they’ll pull up the sleeves of their bathrobes and furiously blog about how the mainstream media doesn’t do its job and report on the same things they cover, such as whether or not Cheetos is a legitimate 6th food group.

    24) Bill O’Reilly

    In any given year Bill O’Reilly guarantees himself a place of dishonor of any list of this sort just on the basis of him dependably firing the first (and virtually the only) salvo in the War on Christmas. In 2008, Bill O escalated his one-man conflict by offering the bumper sticker above with a purchase of his new doorstop, A Fresh, Bold Piece of Humanity, which happens to be a real-life anagram for “Shameless, Bona-Fide Hypocrite.” Speaking of which, there’s still no word, yet, from the Culture Warrior how he felt about News Corp canceling last year’s Christmas Party or using the religiously incorrect “Happy Holidays” at their online store. For good measure, O’Reilly had also suggested that Obama spokesman Bill Burton be arrested for upsetting poor little Megyn Kelly with an inconvenient truth. Furthermore, he got the year off to a roaring start and became the nation’s leading candidate for forced Haldol suppositories when he picked a fight with a 6’ 8” staffer on the Obama campaign.

    It’s obvious the only reason that people like Bill O are employed by places other than Hot Air or Free Republic is because there are so many stupid people willing to watch them. Even so, O’Reilly and those of his ilk truly abuse even that ridiculous rationale for continued employment in telecommunications by seeing religious 9/11’s around every corner and turning themselves into fulminating, foaming penises on the air. By the way, “The O’Reilly Factor” is also an anagram for “Reflect a Holy Riot” and “Filthy Career Tool.”

    23) Pope Benedict XVI

    With a puss that would scare a megalodon fossil, Pope Benedict XVI, like all good pontiffs, has advanced right wing positions that come screaming right out of the 9th century. Before getting elected Pope by a polluting smokestack, then-Cardinal Ratzinger had also gotten involved in American political matters by telling us that voting for pro-choice John Kerry is tantamount to a vote for the Devil. But last month, the Cat Man of St. Peter’s Basilica earned his spot on this list for a speech he gave that essentially compared homosexuality and transgendered people to pollution. Furthermore, he then tried to fuse this purely social issue with the environmental issue of saving the rain forests. The Vatican, typically, tried to spin out of this hornet’s nest by saying that just because the Pope didn’t directly mention homosexuality that he couldn’t have been referencing it. Yeah, like George W. Bush never meant to even imply that Saddam Hussein was the mastermind of 9/11.

    But Herr Ratzinger in 1986 wrote or approved a letter regarding homosexuality and this sentence stands out:
    (A)lthough the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.

    I have no doubt that if Pope John Paul II knew who’d succeed him, he not only would’ve recovered but would have gotten healthy enough to run the Boston Marathon.

    22) Ted Stevens

    Next to William Jefferson, no other politician got booted off Capitol Hill in recent years for corruption involving less money than Ted Stevens. It’s a delicious irony that Stevens went down, after steering billions in earmarks for Alaska (including threatening to resign a few years ago over Don Young’s “Bridge to Nowhere”), over a relatively paltry sum of $250,000 in gifts and home renovations that were done by an Alaskan oil company. Even after his conviction for receiving undisclosed gifts, Stevens said that he hadn’t been convicted and thought that VP candidate Sarah Palin would make a good president. The world’s most belligerent gnome, Stevens was renowned for wearing his Incredible Hulk tie when going to the Senate to do battle. And indeed, no one liked him when he was angry. In the end, no one, including the majority of Alaska’s famously right-leaning voters, liked him even when he wasn’t balling up his bony little fists. Which wasn’t often.

    21) AIG

    Proving that corporate executives are about as sharp as a hefty bag full of baby shit, AIG blew $440,000 on a retreat in California after getting $85 billion of bailout money from Hank Paulson. The retreat was held at the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach. The resort’s official website says,
    Captivating by nature, The St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort stands along the pristine shores of the majestic Pacific Ocean. Experience the only California resort crowned with the Mobil Five-Star, Five-Diamond Award. This award-winning coastal retreat features an 18-hole golf course, 30,000-square foot Spa Gaucin and six ocean-view restaurants including celebrated chef Michael Mina's Stonehill Tavern.

    Thank heavens they didn’t have to slum anymore in four star hotels that don’t offer a free bottle of champagne and “a sweet confection hand-crafted by our pastry chef.”

    But, wait. The very next day, AIG’s CEO Edward Liddy wrote a letter to Paulson claiming that no executives attended the retreat. Added company spokesperson Nicholas Ashooh, “It's very much accepted practice in the insurance business, especially to reward high-performing individual agents. It's still painful and it's been very distressing to our employees.” No doubt, the stress arose from AIG canceling another California retreat at the Ritz Carlton for their insurance brokers that they’d originally planned at the same time they were asking for another $37.8 billion in handouts.

    Maybe we ought to send them out on more mid six figure retreats so they, too, can de-stress while over 3,000,000 of us worry about where we’re going to live after getting foreclosed on last year.

    20) John Thain

    Shitcanned Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain should’ve followed the example of one of his fellow parasites: A tick, once bloated, will eventually disengage itself before it pops.

    Instead, Thain asked for a bonus of between $10-30 million in a year in which, under his stewardship, Merrill Lynch had lost nearly $22 billion in the last quarter alone and was looking at laying off 1/5th of their workforce. Nor did that stop him from blowing $1.2 million on redecorating his office that same year, blowing over $1400 on a wastebasket. While other titans of industry are tightening their belts by forgoing chocolate brioche during board meetings, John Thain stands out like a leech in a cup of yogurt for never taking his beady eyes off the prize and never compromising his avarice even during a worldwide financial meltdown that included the very company he was previously paid $15 million just to sign on to rescue.

    He later rescinded his bonus request but to show you what a selfless guy Thain is, just before BofA took over Merrill Lynch, he accelerated the bonus schedule and gave out $4 billion in bailout bucks to his buddies three days before the company was sold.

    19) Pervez Musharraf

    Pakistan’s former dictator, admired by Bush since his coup de grace a decade ago (but not admired enough for him to note his first name), used the Bhutto assassination as a pretext for gutting Pakistan’s Supreme Court and restuffing it with ideologues, imposing martial law and otherwise putting up roadblocks to every attempt to replace his junta with a stable democracy.

    The nearest that Bush came to going out on a limb regarding Pakistan was to cluck his tongue as if this little right wing runt was an errant but harmless child. Apparently, in the PDB’s pre-digested and spoonfed to Bush by Condi Rice, Bush must’ve missed the parts where they proved Pakistan let bin Laden go at Tora Bora, its ISI actually aided and passed along funds to some of the 9/11 hijackers and that Mushie made Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal more vulnerable than ever by giving bin Laden’s al Qaida and the Taliban safe haven.

    18) John Cornyn

    John Cornyn gets a nod just on the basis of this video that he’d actually used to introduce himself at the Texas GOP state convention last summer.

    In this stitch-busting biopic, Cornyn plays Senator Marlboro McForehead, the masculine manly guy who took on limp-wristed liberals the year before over Moveon’s “Gen. Betrayus” ad then grabbed his ankles and took it like a champ whenever Bush or Cheney blew their dog whistles for some good ole Deliverance horseplay.

    However, if that bit of cinematic circle-jerking isn’t justification enough to include Cornyn in this list, then how about his righteousness in calling for transparency last month in the Blagojevich scandal? It’s hard to see how he could keep a straight face when blustering about the six figures that Blago never even got considering the people who’d contributed to his re-election campaign. Said Down With Tyranny last May 5th:
    Cornyn has continued to vacuum in immense amounts of legalized bribes from his corporate supporters, desperate to keep the most reliable toady they have in the Senate. And who has been bribing John Cornyn with these massive amounts of cash? Well, of course, there is the oil and gas industries (in for almost $1.2 million), the real estate industry ($750,000), Wall Street ($625,375), commercial banks ($510,092), the insurance industry ($412,089), booze distributors ($201,150)... And no one is complaining. Cornyn is one of the most dependable anti-consumer/anti-worker senators in America. Whether it's the Bass Brothers ($70,000, his second biggest donor), AT&T ($67,000, his third biggest donor), Exxon Mobil ($48,730), Goldman Sachs ($43,400), Valero Energy ($39,900)…

    Note that Wall St., commercial banks, real estate, the insurance industry and Goldman Sachs have all benefited from federal bailouts that passed in the Senate last October thanks to the likes of Cornyn.

    Of course, only a Republican would think that a smalltime piker like Blago trying unsuccessfully to sell a Senate seat for six figures is infinitely worse than a master crook selling his own for several million.

    17) Billary Clinton

    The tag team of Bill and Hillary Clinton this past year was like watching two sloppy professional wrestlers well past their prime, capriciously made the bad guys by the scriptwriters, and giving the finger to their one-time fans and current detractors. Witness Bill snapping at the press over how his wife, next to Congress and the McCain campaign the nation’s biggest employer of lobbyists, was treated. Oh, how cruel the mainstream media was in ignoring poor Hillary and her Bilderberg Group meetings, sheer number of lobbyists in her campaign and her attempts to keep a pro-Obama food worker’s union from caucusing in Vegas! Eventually, Mr. Rodham was told to shut the fuck up by his increasingly harried and desperate better half. In adapting Geraldine Ferraro’s Democracy-as-Affirmative Action meme, that Obama’s black voters are voting for him only because he’s black, Bill Clinton seriously eroded his biggest legacy among those who had the audacity to find an actual first black president.

    16) John McCain

    Perhaps the only man on earth who can actually, legally be charged with criminal stupidity, John McCain, Bush’s potential end run around the 22nd amendment, was to POWs what Rudy Giuliani was to 9/11. And when, during his presidential campaign, he wasn’t flinging at his critics phantom Vietnamese rice like a spazzed-out wedding guest, he was constantly getting his facts completely wrong like Bill Kristol Meth. If it please the court, here’s the prosecution’s evidence (To be used, if so desired, for Dave Letterman’s Top Ten list):

  • Thinks Spain is part of Latin America.

  • Completely fucked up the timeline of the Anbar Awakening.

  • Believes, despite Joe Lieberman’s constant rib nudges, that Shi’ite Iran is aiding the Sunni al Qaida network.

  • Wants to kick Russia out of the G8.

  • Keeps referring to Slovakia and the Czech Republic as Czechoslovakia.

  • Suggested in all sincerity shipping bottles of hot water to dehydrated babies.

  • Insist that Iraq and Pakistan border.

  • Thinks he can fire the SEC Chairman.

  • Thought, after just one interview, that Sarah Palin would make for a corker of a running mate.

  • Said that Social Security was “a disgrace.”

  • The prosecution rests its case. We recommend leniency because of the defendant’s extremely advanced age.

    15) Bernard Madoff

    As with Israel, Madoff became an 11th hour entry by getting arrested on December 11th for bilking investors for at least $50 billion. Among his casualties: A charitable organization run by New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg and the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity (which lost almost every penny to Madoff).

    It’s hard to believe that this one man financial undertow who dresses like Jack Abramoff while making him look like a piker could take so many people for so many billions in a Ponzi pyramid scheme that’s even older than Charles Keating. What’s much easier to believe is that some Bush-era corporate clown like SEC Chairman Chris Cox would let him get away with one of the oldest cons in the book and that so many Democrats could be so easily bought off by this evil twin of George Soros.

    14) The Mormons

    It’s impossible to believe that one of the bluest states in the union could be persuaded as to what marital correctness is by a glorified Marvel Comics cult that comprises only 2% of the nation, tailors its own underwear and had turned adultery, child molestation and religious necrophilia into religious rights. But that’s precisely what happened on Election Day when Californians voted on Proposition 8, the ballot measure that banned gay marriage in that state. The Mormons used their own children for propaganda purposes and had pumped so much money into Prop H8 that the state of California felt compelled to investigate it.

    Then, to show how craven they are, they not only tried to convince people that they’d kicked in only a few thousand dollars and weren’t as proactive as previously thought but even tried to paint themselves as the victims of hate crimes even though they got their way. In other words, the Mormons are not only homophobes, adulterers, post-mortem proselytizers and child molesters, they’re also liars and cowards. And we’re giving them the power to overturn existing state law, people.

    13) Henry Paulson

    With a mournful, hangdog face reminiscent of a weight loss patient’s abdomen or a bloodhound that feels vaguely guilty for shitting behind his master’s couch, Hank Paulson proved to be the most stupendously incompetent Treasury Secretary in the history of our Republic and one that followed, don’t forget, such incompetent Yes men like Paul O’Neill and John Snow. In judging who should get bailout bucks and who shouldn’t, Paulson showed about as much impartiality and discretion as a major league manager choosing his league’s all star team. When Goldman Sachs, his “former” company, posted a loss for the first time in 12 years, Paulson then wrote them a check for $10,000,000,000 with no strings attached while not allowing any of the first half of the bailout money to be used to help homeowners or making the banks use the bailout money to extend loans (pre-existing Congressional conditions that Paulson had ignored).

    It’s impossible to remember any other time when a Treasury Secretary had actively lobbied for dictatorial powers, especially in the last few months of their term. But considering that the Bush administration had immediately turned the Treasury into an ATM machine for corporations in the form of tax breaks and deferments, war profits and bailouts, it’s not surprising that he would tap for his third straight Treasury Secretary a vibrator-headed corporate fuckstick like Paulson.

    12) Clinton/ McCain Supporters

    Inadequate black man” is usually the phrase that comes to mind when thinking of Hillary Clinton’s long-in-the-tooth, faux feminist supporters. And when New York’s Harriet Christian uttered that immortal phrase late last May in describing Barack Obama, they further showed how committed they were to the Democratic party and women’s rights by then switching their allegiance from the just-vanquished Hillary Clinton and managed to get it wet for John McCain, even setting up a website for him and raising tens of thousands in campaign funds. It could be written off as a mere isolated instance of racism within the Clinton campaign were it not for Geraldine Ferraro essentially saying the previous March that Barack Obama’s popularity among voters was tantamount to Affirmative Action.

    11) Barack Obama

    No political adventurer by any stretch of the imagination, the eponymous Barack Obama skyrocketed from Illinois state legislator to President of the United States in as much time as Richard Kimball was on the lam. He wasted little time in throwing his own pastor of 20 years under the bus when right wingers had a field day with a couple of his sermons that were delivered when Obama wasn’t even there yet had no problem replacing him with Rick Warren, (according to Lisa Golden, “the William Shatner of ministers.”). Falling in line with every US politician since 1948, Obama became a convert to Zionism and a Iran war hawk while conveniently sidestepping as if it was radioactive dog shit the December 2007 NIE stating that Iran had shut down its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

    A convert to more than just Zionism, Obama is also the holy acolyte of the bankrupt religion of bipartisanship, appeasement and centrism, immediately caving in to Republican blustering every time they started hoarsely shrieking about black separatism and terrorist fist jabs. Further confounding liberals is the Hawaiian-born Obama’s calculated, well-publicized yet inexplicable identification with Abe Lincoln, a white Kentucky-born Republican who’d also suspended habeus corpus and would’ve gladly denied the African American Obama the right to serve on a jury, marry a white woman or even to vote based on Lincoln’s assertion that whites were superior.

    10) Joe Lieberman

    After vowing during the ’06 midterms to help put a Democrat in the WH, Joe Lieberman then wasted little time fastening himself to John McCain’s rickety hip like a withered colostomy bag. This reluctant Democrat, who showed so little confidence in the Gore campaign that he ran for both the Senate and the vice presidency, ditched his party mere hours after losing the primary to Ned Lamont, appealed to Republican voters, out-of-state volunteers and money men, got re-elected on a red tide of Republican votes, supported a GOP zombie for president, spoke at the GOP convention, likened Barack Obama to a “Marxist” and all after having the chutzpah to ask to caucus with the Democrats and to keep his two chairs.

    And Obama pressured the Democrats to let him. Now, that’s what I call bipartisanship!

    9) Rush Limbaugh

    The unforgivably Caucasian half-man/half killer whale Rush Limbaugh makes the annual roundup for several reasons. After vehemently inveighing against John McCain, he then lunged on board the Straight Talk Express with Dobsonian abruptness when Sarah Palin hijacked it with but a wink, a smile and a “Ya betcha!” Yet, in spite of his political influence’s slow but traceable refractory period since the failed Republican revolution of ‘94, this doctor-shopping, pill-popping, suspected child molester last year got signed to a bigger contract than any ever signed by A Rod, Croesus and God combined. Through his overpriced newsletter, criminally toxic website and bile delivery system that is pinged to our troops overseas via satellite through AFR, this dildo-shaped Nobel Peace laureate wannabe uses major holidays intended to promote peace, harmony and unity among all people to remind us how the Indians fucked over the far vaster and better-armed white population. And yet, with standards such as this, people still wonder in all seriousness how organ donors like Joe the Plumber ever got a toehold in the business.

    8) Dick Cheney

    For decades, this snarling, walrus-shaped black hole of corruption has afflicted America with a personality that would make Hannibal Lecter look by conspicuous relief like Regis Philbin on Panama Red and laughing gas. In fact, everywhere Dick Cheney appeared, orchestras were tempted to play not “Hail, Columbia” but John Carpenter’s theme from Halloween. However, if this Wyoming-spawned wendigo was merely a harmless, garden-variety asshole, he would hardly merit inclusion in this roundup. But Dick Cheney, you see, isn’t just any asshole. “Five Deferments” Dick is a career, five star, platinum-plated, dues-paying, Olympic-class, professional asshole. And he earned his place here early this year by saying “So?” when Martha Raddatz reminded him on the 5th anniversary of Shock and Awe that 2/3rds of the public think the Iraq War is no longer worth fighting. For good measure, he also said that it would’ve been immoral for us not to torture.

    If there is a God, please let him send the still-defibrillated Cheney to a Hell that’s full of cell phones and microwave ovens.

    7) George W. Bush

    George W. Bush should serve as an object lesson in how dangerously far a man can get in life with just a larynx and a brain stem. If history has a sense of humor, it’ll refer to the years 2001-2009 as the Magoo Years. For eight years, Dubya had rolled unchecked across the world stage in his rose-tinted hamster ball, creating real havoc and real deaths, maimings and displacements. Like Mr. Magoo, he nonetheless will land safe and cushy in a world of 100 K-a-pop speaking engagements, five star restaurants and a new home instead of Saddam Husseinian testimony at the Hague and bread and water in an 8 X 8 cell with only his favorite Stetson for a toilet.

    Yet history does not have the sense of humor shown time and again by Fate. This was proven by this Special Olympics President stridently defending his legacy these past two months and vowing from his vacation home to “sprint to the finish” while allowing Obama to dictate economic policy and Olmert our Middle East foreign policy. All the while, from start to finish, he’s benefited from handy I-beams, switched tracks and bridged manholes faithfully provided by the corporate cock puppets of the MSM.

    6) The Corporate Mainstream Media

    And while we’re on the subject of the lap dogs of democracy, let’s start by asking ourselves what the fucking Hell the New York Times was thinking when they decided to hire the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol, a bass-mouthed moron who wanted to sue them and has a lower success rate in his predictions than an Atlantic City fortune telling machine. And what was Fox News thinking when they decided to become the third major television network to hire Glenn Beck, an abysmally-rated, shaved CNN baboon who has done more to put a congenial face on racism than anyone since David Duke? The corporately-owned and ever-criminally compliant MSM gave John McCain one free pass after another during his campaign and would’ve continued doing so even if the Arizona senator had begun making public appearances without pants.

    It’ll be interesting to see how my colleagues treat the incoming administration and whether they’ll suddenly find their withered cajones now that Karl Rove’s writhing in the tall grass.

    5) Harry Reid

    In a party of GOP-appeasing Neville Chamberlains, one man stands bowed head and rounded shoulders above the rest. In ’08, the Democratic Party, led in the Senate by “Give ‘Em Head” Harry Reid, capitulated to the right wing and two fictitious presidents more times than could be counted on a Cray super computer. One never knows which Harry Reid will show up for work at the Senate: The one who stands up for Democratic principles and the rule of law or the pod person version that will lay prostrate to give Bush and Obama whatever they want, including a fully-reinstated Joe Lieberman, Roland Burris, torture, bailout and war bucks.

    4) Israel

    Israel could be compared to the Jewish mafia of old but only to the detriment of the latter since Meyer Lansky never actually killed anyone. And the state of Israel, represented by Joe Lieberman, just barely qualified for this list by beginning a new bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip on December 27th.

    There’s something despicable about a nation that has responded to two thousand years of persecution that culminated in a genocide then turns around and begins to act like their abusers, even to the point of pulling the Holocaust card by claiming they have a right to exist more than anyone else. By bombing the Gaza strip and killing hundreds of Palestinian civilians under the rubric of national security, Israel is further inflaming tensions in the Arab world and is attracting the attention of two terrorist organizations in two different countries, sort of a microcosm of what we’ve been doing in Iraq these past six years. And we all know how well that’s worked out for us.

    3) Rod Blagojevich

    If he was still alive, old Scarface Al Capone would be wondering if he got into the right business. Illinois Governor and wouldbe Boss Tweed Rod Blagojevich pushed the Democratic Party back to the days of Tammany Hall when he was allegedly caught on audiotape selling President Obama’s senate seat to the highest bidder. Then he appointed fellow egotist Roland Burris against the Democratic Senate’s briefly strenuous objections in spite of having already been put in handcuffs and was about to be impeached.

    If the allegations are proven, this kind of pay-to-play, brass knuckle style of corrupt politics puts Chicago back on the map with a vengeance. Far worse than the usual culture of graft, it elevated the putrefaction of political corruption to Mt. Olympus heights. And it’s not very easy for a Democrat to make his equally corrupt but capital punishment-leery Republican predecessor, George Ryan, look decent by comparison. Yet somehow, against all odds, Blagojevich managed it.

    2) Sarah Palin

    (Pic stolen from Nunya at Politicky Bitch.)

    If I’m wrong and there is a God, then He’s already reserved for Sarah Palin a fate that involves no less than getting stranded on the Itidarod trail at the beginning of the next Ice Age then getting gang-raped by a pack of wolves arriving by helicopter, her bones then getting scattered by dint of predation and glacial drift and discovered by 30th century archeologists who find they spell out the words, “I’m sorry, don’cha know.”

    Sarah Palin’s improbable and inexplicable insertion on John McCain’s ticket did little more than draw out of the woodwork all the right wing termites that had hibernated until someone like Palin came along to get their bile flowing again. And it was obvious from the gitgo that this clothes moose was climbing over John McCain’s bloated little body and running not for VP in ’08 but for President in ’12. If Hannah Arendt was still alive, she would’ve written an article about this race-baiting, ravenously ambitious, witch hunting, anti-American Stepford running mate entitled, “The Perkiness of Evil.”

    1) You

    Yes, you. Every time your toddler gets into your box of Trojans and blows them up or your brother barfs at his own wedding, you rush to Youtube or to post the results instead of spending that time and energy talking about the issues that affect many more people than the artificially-attached strangers comprising your nuclear family. You roll your eyes and tap your toes if you wait more than 30 seconds on line at the bank or store while completely forgetting that Iraqis, Africans, Palestinians and everyone else in the Third World wait days if not weeks for food, water and basic medicine.

    While millions in central Asia, Latin America and Africa take to the streets to literally fight for their democracies, literally risking and giving their lives in the process, you allow yourselves to be enervated, anesthetized and bullied into submission by the pixilated talking heads of Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck while quivering for the next season of Big Brother like junkies on the fourth week of a three week supply of methadone without once stumbling across the irony that Bush and the NSA made Big Brother a reality.

    Every week you will gladly bloat a telecom giant by pulling your flabby muscles reaching for your cell phone to vote the maximum 20 times a night for a redneck airhead like Kelly Clarkson or a warbling Republican blimp like Ruben Studdard. Yet 60% of you can’t be bothered to drive to the school down the street every 24 months to vote for your elected officials because that would actually require heaving your Whopper- and Twinkie-distended gluteous maximus off your equally overstuffed couch. Yet half of the 40% who do vote think year after year that voting against your own interests is still better than voting for some Democratic centrist that some blowhard on Fox convinced you is a pinko Commie Socialist al Qaida Muslim homosexual liberal who wants to fuck and marry your grandfathers.

    The only thing you’ve done for the environment besides dutifully recycling your Evian bottles is to aerate and till the polluted soil thanks to you inspiring the post-mortem gyrations of the Founding Fathers. You are the reason why almost 4300 US troops are needlessly dead, you are the reason why the Constitution has been bookwormed into irrelevance and you are the reason why corporations are getting huge welfare checks subsidized by you after having victimized you. We have become the sick man of North America because not enough of you had voted your untroubled conscience to make George W. Bush’s serial theft of the Presidency implausible. Let us all pray that you finally woke up in time on Election Day 2008.

    KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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