Friday, August 26, 2011

God says 'how you like me now' to the northeast

God, aka, 'The Man Upstairs' has decided to unleash some of his patented fury up on the northeastern United States this week. So we asked him, what gives?

"To be honest, I'm just tired of them, that's all. They make all kinds of money. They have great sports teams. An awesome music scene. It's all a bit much, you know?"

But a recent study on marriage clearly sent the big guy over the edge.

"I can deal with those pricks making mad bank. I can tolerate their advanced educations and successful careers. But now you're telling me that these douchebags are also enjoying some of the happiest and longest lasting marriages? Fuck! It's just too much, you know? I gotta put my foot down, so to speak."

The Universal Life Force took a sip of wine before elaborating further.

"Listen, for years I've been throwing all kinds of crap at the folks down south. Hurricanes, tornadoes, you name it. Sure, I've felt bad about it. I mean, those fuckers already have it pretty rough. Bad schools, poverty, country music. It's hell down there. But they're my people, you know? They love all that fire and brimstone shit. Who am I to deny them?"

Yahweh paused for a moment as an angel came by to top off his chalice.

"These northeastern types, they don't really know my game. Shit, half of 'em don't even believe I exist. So, typically, I just leave 'em alone. Live and let live, you know? But this whole marriage thing just sticks in my craw. My people are supposed to be the moral ones. How are they gonna rave about those 'heathens' up north if everyone is being all goody goody and shit? So I gotta step in. I owe my peeps that much."

When asked if the latest batch of fury had anything to do with the liberal attitudes towards gays in the northeast, as some of his 'peeps' have suggested, the Lord was quick to retort.

"Seriously? This fucking nonsense again? How many times do I have tell you people, I don't give a shit who all y'all are fucking? If anything, I wish you'd fuck each other more often. Maybe you wouldn't be so damned uptight. And to be honest, I wouldn't mind if a few more folks started going gay. All these damned heteros breeding like crazy is kind of fucking up this perfectly good planet I created."

After carefully spreading some brie on a piece of melba toast, the King of Kings sat back in his throne and offered a final bit of advice for those in the path of Irene.

"First off, I think it is so damn cute that you give names to these massive engines of death and destruction. You people just crack me up. But seriously, even though I'm trying to send a little 'don't fuck with me' message with this storm, I don't want people to be stupid about it. Stay away from the beaches. Move to higher ground if you can. Buy batteries."

After pausing for a moment to survey his kingdom, The Almighty took a final sip of Chardonnay and smiled.

"And make sure you have plenty of wine."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Romney declares potatoes are people too.

Fresh off his emphatic declaration that corporations are in fact people, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took thinks a step further today at a campaign stop in Boise.

"Listen friend, potatoes are people, I don't care what the FDA says."

Clearly baffled, Boise resident Jim Simpson pressed Romney to elaborate.

"What the fuck are you talking about, Mr. Romney?"

Mitt gave a wink and flashed a calculated grin.

"It's basic science, pal. Potatoes have DNA, don't they? They have skin. Heck, they even have eyes!"

Simpson shot back.

"But they aren't capable of rational thought."

Unfazed, Romney was quick to retort.

"Listen, chum, I haven't had a rational thought since I left Massachusetts. Some of my fellow candidates may never have had a rational thought. You don't see anyone claiming we're not people, do you?"

Simpson shook his head and walked off.

"Hey, where ya going, bro?"

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Enough with the faux outrage

Republicans are up in arms that President Obama has taken a 'vacation' during this time of economic crisis.

How dare he play golf when millions of Americans are out of work?

How dare he lollygag around Martha's Vineyard, hobnobbing with his family and a group of policy advisors, while the stock market goes through it's daily self-inflicted, sadomasochistic, masturbatory crisis?

How dare he wait until September (that's like 12 days away!) to offer up a jobs plan?

As congress enters the third week of it's taxpayer funded vacation, one can only imagine they are moments away from proposing their own plan to get Americans back to work.

I look forward to it. I'll be checking the interwebs later for details.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The self-loathing feedback loop

Billionaire Warren Buffett raised a few eyebrows recently when he said that he and his fellow high-rollers should pony up a few more bucks in taxes each year.

Republicans were up in arms, astounded that someone would dare challenge their anti-tax religion.

Democrats rejoiced, pleased that a respected rich guy appeared to be echoing their calls for additional revenues.

They're both missing the point.

This is not just about taxes. Our nation faces a wealth disparity that rivals that of China (see they're not kicking our ass at everything!) The top 1% essentially own everything. The rest of us are in debt. And the divide just keeps growing.


Because our government policies are set up to benefit those at the very top. Makes sense, when you realize that the wealthy are the ones financing all of our political campaigns. It's basic capitalism at work. Provide a service to your customers and get rewarded financially.

The worst part?

As more money gets concentrated at the very top, the more incentive government has to get their share of that growing pie. And the more they choose to ignore the needs of the rest of us.

So why do we stand for it?

Because we buy into the fantasy of upward mobility. For years, we've been fed the line that all it takes to succeed is a little hard work and dedication. Anyone can make it to the top if they just get up off their fat ass and apply themselves.

Sounds like great advice, right?

Except it's completely unsubstantiated by the facts. Our country offers almost no economic mobility whatsoever. Which means, if you're born poor, you will likely stay that way. And if you're born wealthy, you have almost no risk of dipping down into the ranks of the great unwashed.

Sure, there are exceptions. And those are the stories we get fed on a regular basis, which makes them seem that much more prevalent. Cinderella gets the prince. Rocky becomes heavyweight champ. Some homeless dude played by Will Smith gets a fancy job in a high rise.

These are all great stories. And they're all theoretically possible (in fact, the Will Smith one is actually real). But make no mistake—they are exceptions to the rule. Unfortunately, the rule doesn't make for great theater. Who wants to watch a movie about a working class guy who busts his ass for years, only to be left with arthritic hands and an underperforming 401k?

The end result of this ongoing narrative is that people only blame themselves when they don't make it to the promised land. And they hang on the mistaken belief that the keys to the castle are always within reach as long as they keep plugging away.

Which fits right into the master plan.

When people think they have a legitimate shot at reaching the top, they don't care if the people already at the top get special treatment. Because they want to make sure they'll get that same special treatment when they get there.

Which means they'll sit idly by as our government guts programs that benefit most Americans while lavishing more and more new spending and tax loopholes on those who need it the least.

When most Americans inevitably fail to reach the top? They just learn to hate themselves a little more. Why am I such a failure? Why can't I get ahead? I must not be smart enough or work hard enough. Guess I'll just have to dig in, pull myself up by the boot straps and work even harder.

Go right ahead, monkey. That's exactly what the top 1% want you to do.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cure for cancer falls victim to GOP hardliners

America almost rejoiced today when it almost learned that a cure for cancer was moments away from discovery.

Scientists have been laboring for years to put an end to this horrific disease. And they've never been so close.

But their plan has one fatal flaw.

They need money. And it would take a small tax increase on those earning over $1 million to raise the necessary funds.

Republicans aren't having it.

"Why should the job creators be forced to pay for the work of some geeky scientists?" exclaimed a red-faced Mitt Romney.

"The American people don't want more government involvement in their lives. The private sector is where diseases get cured." added Michele Bachmann, while she and her husband sucked down a couple of corn dogs.

Fresh off his presidential campaign announcement, Texas Governor Rick Perry was quick to chime in.

"Listen, I don't care if someone says they can bring world peace. If it means one more penny out of the American people's pockets going to Uncle Sam, I won't stand for it. That pansy-ass peace shit don't fly in Texas anyhow."

Rick Santorum (yes he's still in the race) summed it up succinctly.

"These so-called cancer curers are probably spending their weekends having gay sex and abortions out the wazoo. So really, do we want taxpayer funds supporting these freaks?"

When told that more people having gay sex would actually ensure that there was less need for abortions, Santorum's head spontaneously blew up.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Not quite Right

Americans claim to be a conservative bunch. For every 2 self-proclaimed right-wingers there is only 1 liberal.

Or so they say.

If that's the case, how do you explain the chart in this article?

Apparently, Americans want to keep or increase government spending in all areas except foreign aid.

Wow. What a bunch of Randian wackos we are, huh?

Makes me wonder if most people don't understand what the word 'liberal' means.

If only we had someone in a position of power who could help Americans understand what liberalism really is. Someone with access to the airwaves any time he wants. Someone famous for his ability to deliver rousing speeches that can move people to action.

I remember a guy like that from a few years back. Not sure what happened to him though.

Monday, August 8, 2011

We are not worthy

30 American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan this weekend. 365 have been killed so far this year. Whether you agree with the war or not, it is sobering to think about our fellow citizens giving their lives so that we may be safer.

But we don't deserve their sacrifice.

While our soldiers are overseas fighting to protect the American ideal of freedom and democracy, our politicians are doing their best to make sure that ideal no longer exists. They play games with our economy to gain political points, knowing full well their actions will cause suffering for millions of Americans.

We don't deserve their sacrifice.

While these brave men and women risk their lives in unknown lands, we send pathologically flawed misfits to represent us in Washington. We succumb to campaign-trail promises and fail to hold their feet to the fire when they inevitably toss our interests aside.

We don't deserve their sacrifice.

While these kids barely out of high school are witness to some of the worst human tragedy imaginable, we sit on our ample asses and allow our rights to be systematically shredded, our institutions dismantled and our political process turned into a circus.

We don't deserve their sacrifice.

While these soldiers wonder if the next trip they take might be their last, we allow ourselves to be distracted by 'real' housewives and dancing 'stars', oblivious to the workings of our government that has been funneling power to corporations and the uber-wealthy for over a generation.

We don't deserve their sacrifice.

And yet thousands of our finest men and women still choose to make that sacrifice every day.

Don't you think it's time for us to earn it?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Can one building revive a nation?

I noticed something on my way to work this morning that I haven't seen for almost 10 years.

A tall structure has begun to emerge above the downtown Manhattan skyline. After years of what seemed like no progress, the Freedom Tower framework is rising quickly and I, for one, am pretty happy about it.

September 11, 2001 was an awful day for America. Looking back at the last 10 years, it is easy to make the correlation between this tragic event and the depression (emotional, not economic) that has hung like a cloud over us ever since.

We had never encountered anything like 9/11 before. So it's not surprising that it would rip apart our collective national psyche. Sure, we've put up a brave face, but it doesn't take a PhD to recognize the classical symptoms of depression.

Fear, anxiety, listlessness, distraction. A lack of direction. This has been our story for the last 10 years. The great recession merely brought these emotions to the surface. But they've been there for some time now.

So, when we struggle to come out of our current economic malaise, it is foolish to simply look for economic answers. There's something deeper happening here. And it can't be fixed by simply pumping up the money supply or giving folks a few tax breaks.

But, perhaps, it can fixed by a building.

Now, the Freedom Tower can never bring back the nearly 3,000 Americans we lost on that horrific day. It will never bring peace those who lost loved ones. And it will never erase the awful memories we all have burned into our subconscious.

But it can be a symbol of hope. A symbol that gives Americans permission to finally move on. It's okay for us to be exceptional again. It's okay for us to be passionate again. It's okay for us to dream again. If we don't, then the terrorists will have gotten exactly what they wanted.

Tomorrow morning, I will stare out at that rising mass of steel and try to imagine what the next 10 years can be for America. I invite you to join me.

It's time to be America again.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

This is your chance, Corporate America

Time to open up the wallets.

You just got everything you've been crying for. The big bad government has taken it's ball and run on home. Time for you and your buddies to come out and play.

Time to take that cash you've been stockpiling in the back room and throw it around a bit.

Start making some shit and selling some shit. Start hiring people to make the shit so they can afford to buy the shit.

Start innovating. Start researching. Start marketing. Start fixing.

Start doing all of the shit you've been saying government sucks at.

Start investing in health care and making sure every American has access.

Start supporting infrastructure improvements to our roads, bridges, electrical grid and telcom networks.

Start providing our aging population with opportunities to provide for a secure retirement.

Start making sure the products you build don't poison our drinking water, overheat our atmosphere or contaminate the air we breathe.

Start making sure our financial system acts in the best interests of both business and consumers.

Start acting like a true free market disciple and disclosing the money you give to political campaigns.

And most importantly, start behaving in a way that gives Americans hope that our system is not hopelessly broken beyond repair.

Can you do all of that? If you can, I'll happily vote Republican in every election from here on out.

Are you up for the challenge?