Friday, April 30, 2010

Singapore: So User-Friendly, It's Too Good To Be True

Posted simply because a friend of mine appears in this video, and because I never realized my friend was actually off visiting the Matrix...

Miss Cleo Predicts...


As the crowd cheered Miss Cleo's prediction of big Democratic gains this November, President Obama took the stage...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Note to the Neighbors

Allow Me to Restate the Question More Concisely


"I believe Scott has the next question."

"Thank you, Mr. President. As you know, Medicare's Office of the Actuary prepared a report on the economic effect of your health reform package that concluded the new law would actually raise the cost of health care and drive as many as 15% of American hospitals into the red financially. Now it's being reported that the Department of Health and Human Services refused to review or release this report until after the vote on health reform. As one source is quoted, 'The reason we were given was that they did not want to influence the vote. Which is actually the point of having a review like this, you would think.' Mr. President, even if this report wasn't intentionally suppressed by your administration, isn't it fair to say the health reform bill was intentionally rammed through before this report could be analyzed and all the facts about the bill were known? And will you now admit your continuing claims that health reform will reduce costs and lower the deficit are nothing but empty political spin?"

"That's a compelling and important question, Scott, but allow me to restate it more concisely for the people watching at home. You're asking why are those Wall Street bankers so evil, and what will my administration's awesome new financial reform bill do about it?"

"Is there a damning report sitting around somewhere for that bill, too, Mr. President?"

"I believe Todd has the next question..."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Man I Want To Be, Part II

Back in the early days of this blog, I wrote about the man I want to be, and even how, as a kid, I wanted to be the long-ago, when-he-was-still-funny Al Franken. But these days, if I had to be someone else, the man I would want to be is Andrew Klavan.


My own Hollywood days ended years ago, but my experience was much like he describes. Especially the meetings.

(H/T: Big Hollywood)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Love Line, with Barack

You’re listening to WDNC...


“Hello, America, and welcome back to The Love Line, with Barack, the show that brings hope to the hopeless romantic and change to relationships in need of reform. I’m your host, Barack Obama, and we have Stephanie on line one. Stephanie, you’re on The Love Line, with Barack!”

“Hi, Barack! Long-time listener, first-time caller!”

“Thanks for calling, Stephanie. How can I, Barack, transform your life today?”

“Well, Barack. I’m in a mixed marriage—”

“I feel you, girl. Interracial marriages are tough, but you know what, Stephanie? Love has no color.”

“No, we’re both black.”

“Then how are you mixed?”

“We’re a mixed marriage politically, Barack.”

“I feel you, girl. And I can understand how unhelpful to romance that must be for you. After all, when a fine, caring woman such as yourself, a woman who obviously sees how easily she can help redistribute the love in this great land but is saddled with some teabagging husband who can’t let go of the failed policies of relationships past—”

“No, you’ve got it all wrong, Barack. My husband is the progressive.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“And I prefer to be called a 'Tea Partier,' if you don’t mind.”

“You amuse me, Stephanie.”

"And I’m not sure I like your tone.”

“Oh, I see what’s going on, Stephanie. Here you are, married to this fine, evolved specimen of a progressive man. A man who is tolerant enough to open his heart to your misspelled signs and expand your rule-bound horizons with his inclusive—”

“Rule-bound horizons? Are you serious? All this man has are rules, Barack!”

“Now, Stephanie—”

“I can’t call anything by it’s real name, because someone might get offended! And I can’t hold a different view on how we divide the household chores, because then he calls me a sell-out!”

“Whoa, Stephanie!”

“Sure, he was all cool and charming and elegant back when we were dating, but now? Let me tell you, Barack, living with this man is a whole different thing than dating him! Once he got in that home office in our little white house, he turned into that guy all my friends warned me that he really was! But did I listen? No! I didn’t! And when I tell my husband I want the guy I dated back, he calls me a bitter clinger!”

“Well, nobody likes a clingy woman, Stephanie. Especially some clingy teabagging conservative wo—”

“Oh, you are just like him!”

“Hey, I am here at this studio, day in and day out, cleaning up this mess of broken romances that I inherited from the last guy who had this time slot! And I’m happy to do it, Stephanie, because this is The Love Line, with Barack! But I don’t want you folks who created the mess in your relationships to do a lot of talking! I want you to get out of the way so your husband and I can clean up the mess you made! I don't mind cleaning up after you, Stephanie, but just don't do a lot of talking! Now get off my phone and have your husband call me!”

*click!*

“Let’s go to our next caller on line two. Michael, you’re on The Love Line, with Barack.”

Doctor Crane? Are you listening?”

*click!*


“Sorry about that. Someone obviously didn’t vet the intern who is currently vetting our callers. Let’s try line three. Natalie, you’re on The Love Line, with Barack.”

“Hi, Barack. I have a big problem with my husband.”

“I feel you, girl. Does he not support your rights as a woman?”

“No, it’s about money.”

“I heard that. Does he not want you to work outside the home?”

“Oh, we live in California, Barack. Both of us have to work to cover all our federal, state, and local taxes. And those state taxes, let me tell you—”

“I think we’re getting off-topic here, Natalie. Now, money is always a problem in any relationship. My own lovely lady Michelle and I made something like $5.5 million last year, and we still argue about—“

“No, you don’t understand. The problem is that he keeps spending money we don’t have.”

“Ah! An investor in your family's future!”

“No! A big spender!”

“I can’t say I’m feeling you on this one, girl.”

“He keeps saying how if we buy 10 big-screen plasma TVs, he can get a better per-unit price and bring the cost curve down.”

“Sounds like a smart man to me, Natalie.”

“But we don’t need 10 big-screen plasma TVs. And even if each one costs less, we still end up spending even more money than if we’d just bought one.”

“Well, math is hard, Natalie. And your husband sounds like a strong agent of relationship change. I think you should trust him.”

“But—”

“Has he promised to get his spending under control, Natalie?”

“He says we’ll have a household budget freeze next year.”

“So what’s your damn problem, girl?!”

“He's freezing our budget at 10 big-screen plasma TVs a year, Barack! We can't afford that! And by then we’ll already be so far in debt that—”

*click!*

“Looks like Natalie just drove into a tunnel or something! Line four! Bibi, you’re on The Love Line, with Barack!”

“Uh, yes. Hello, Barack. I have this friend, see, and we used to be really close. I mean, really close. He was the kind of friend who would stand by me through thick and thin at all the homeowners’ association meetings, and let me tell you, in my neighborhood, those could get pretty rough."

"Sounds like a cool dude, Bibi."

"He was. But now he’s got these new friends, see? They’re always setting off rockets in their backyards, and I guess he thinks that makes them really cool or something, because he doesn’t have any rockets of his own any more, so—”

“Whoa, Bibi! That’s all we have time for today! Tune again tomorrow for The Love Line, with Barack!”

Monday, April 26, 2010

Breaking News: SEIU To Collect Individual Health Insurance Mandate Fines

Sunday, April 25, 2010

An Ironic Frame of View


"Look, it's like I told the last photographer who asked. Those signs behind me? They're not hate. They're ironic..."

(H/T: GayPatriot)

That Wacky Bill Maher: Episode 197

I stopped being a fan of Bill Maher long before I generally stopped being a fan of Jon Stewart. But while Jon Stewart can still sometimes intentionally make me laugh, social critic, Playboy Mansion squatter, and star of Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death Bill Maher only manages that feat unintentionally these days. Like with this:

You know what's ironic is that you know who's really a moderate Republican by '70s standards? Barack Obama.
So according to Bill Maher, Barack Obama is... Richard Nixon.

I can almost see it, too, but I think President Obama's "enemies list" is a lot longer than Nixon's ever was.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Credit Where Its Due: Jon Stewart

I rarely find myself a fan of Jon Stewart these days. I've taken more than a few shots at him on this blog, and even more whenever Mrs. Copious and I get on the subject. But when Jon Stewart is right, like he is in the video below, he's right, and he should get credit for it. Especially from me.


As someone who got his own fatwa/death threat card punched long before 9/11, when I was involved with the paperback publication of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, I appreciate what he's done here more than I can express as I sit with my first coffee of the morning and write this post. And hearing him make the distinction between "basically decent human beings" he disagrees with and who are "at worst, worthy adversaries" (like Bernie Goldberg and Fox News) and the real enemy is something I've waited a long time to hear from him.

Your invitation to dinner at our home is hereby reinstated, Jon, because for once, that f-bomb tag line of yours was truly deserved by its target.

RELATED: "Today, Jon Stewart—Free Speech Warrior—Is My Hero"

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit and Left Coast Rebel readers!

ALSO RELATED: Diana West says the media left Trey Parker and Matt Stone "out to dry." David Harsanyi takes issue with "Cowardly Central." Several websites are supporting "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," while Ann Althouse makes a good-faith case against it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Back-Dated Filler!

Because seeing this blog without an entry for yesterday really did bother me that much...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pop Quiz: Extreme Tree Huggers Edition

Having lived in California for the past 10 years, it's becomes hard for me to tell whether any given environmentalist video is a parody or not, and some part of me suspects that the official "parody" video below might have been mislabeled by YouTube. So, which of the following videos is the real parody?

A) This one:


B) This one:


(Hint: I love trees, but trees are not guys. I love rocks, but rocks are not alive. And this cathedral has parishioners that want to eat you! Oh, Gaia, when will you ever find a competent publicist?!)

(H/T: Weasel Zippers)

The Fat of the VAT


"And that's the beauty of the Value-Added Tax. Take this wallet, for example. With the VAT, we gain additional tax revenue at each and every stage of its production so we can fund all sorts of government programs. And the whole thing is completely invisible to the American consumer, at least until the consumer realizes the price he just paid for this awesome new wallet is so high that he doesn't have any money left to keep in it..."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Reason #27 to Thank the U.S. Military

Because of the U.S. military, I am not required to speak German to my German in-laws, and my (formerly West) German in-laws are not required to speak Russian...


UPDATE: Enjoy the video above -- and the one below -- while you can. After several years of free publicity from these parodies for their little-known, German-language film Downfall, Constantin Films has now started filing copyright infringement claims with YouTube.

Hitler, of course, has been reached for comment (WARNING: Strong Language Ahead):

White House Phone Logs: President Obama Calls the Polish Ambassador


"Hello? Is this the Polish ambassador?... It is?... Excellent! Mr. Ambassador, this is President Barack Obama. I just -- No, don't hang up! Please!... Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. Now, I understand there's been an unhelpful misunderstanding about my choosing not to attend the funeral of your recently deceased President Kaczynskis, so let me be perfectly clear. Poland was a firm if unfortunate ally of the United States during the Bush administration, and many Americans certainly appreciate the Polish troops who have stood by our own in Iraq and Afghanistan. But as I'm sure you're aware, I had to prepare for a big fundraiser with Barbara Boxer, and that whole volcano thing really messed up air travel throughout Europe, so like all the other world leaders, I was simply unable to attend your very meaningful and important state funeral... Well, yes, I do understand the signal my attendance would have sent to Russia about America standing with the young democracies of Eastern Europe, especially after that whole missile defense thing... Yes, I suppose was golfing rather than visiting your embassy to sign the condolence book, but I'm calling you now, right?... Oh, really? Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili managed to fly in through Rome for the funeral? I did not know that... And Russian President Medvedev flew in as well?... Now, that's hardly fair, Mr. Ambassador. If President Medvedev dies, Vladimir Putin can step in. If Air Force One goes down in flames and takes me with it, Joe Biden takes over, and I don't think anyone wants -- Hello?... Mr. Ambassador?... Hello?..."

Overhead Outside a Hollywood Nightclub

"I can't believe those not even D-listers just offered us their basic cable drugs! We're not cool enough to rate the good stuff?!"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why I'm Not Blogging Today

Monday, April 19, 2010

White House Phone Logs: President Obama Calls His Humble Partner in Humility, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd


"Well, I meant every word in that interview, Kevin. One of our commonalities and connections really is that vital trait of humility... No, you're much more humble than I am... That's sweet of you, Kevin, but it's not like you ever claimed your nomination for office was the moment the oceans would slow their rise and the planet begin to heal, or told your own citizens protesting trillion-dollar yearly deficits that they should be saying thank you... Okay, you got me! I was just being humble myself! But we can agree the two of us have greater stocks of personal humility than any other pair of world leaders, right?... No, you hang up first..."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Our Increasingly Copious National Debt






(H/T: No Sheeples Here)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Goodbye to the High Frontier

Let me say upfront that I am a space nerd to end all space nerds. My two earliest memories are watching afternoon repeats of Star Trek and sitting on the floor of the family room while the news reported on the first lunar landing. One of my morning-coffee "blog crawl" sites is Astronomy Picture of the Day. And one of the high points of my time here in California has been watching, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the "recovery" of the Genesis probe.

Let me also say upfront that I was never a fan of the Constellation program, President Bush's new direction for a post-Space Shuttle Era NASA. Throwing away literally decades of experience with reusable space vehicles and orbital construction and returning to an Apollo-style program of massive, single-use rockets and other vehicles -- all of which had be designed from scratch, of course -- seemed like a Great Leap Backward. Now for the Colonials in Battlestar Galactica, it made perfect sense to step away their experience with networked computers and go back to telephones powered by crank-handles on their starships, because they had the genocidal menace of the robotic Cylons to deal with. But the closest thing to a Cylon skinjob here on Earth is Lady Gaga, and I'm not aware of her expressing any interest in destroying the human race or even NASA, just good taste.

Finally, let me add that I blame administrations of both parties, Democrat and Republican, for the current mess we have regarding the U.S. space program. Each administration seemed to take the mess of the previous one and then somehow make things even worse. That NASA in the early days tried to promote the Shuttle as making space travel so common that launches would be boring non-events was a PR decision on a par with New Coke when it came to public interest and support. And that America entered the twenty-first century still using a 1970s era "space truck" that even Dennis Hopper wouldn't want to fly in Space Truckers -- and that we're now facing, at minimum, years of paying the Russians to launch Americans into space -- is in my mind unforgivable. And something that was completely avoidable as well.

We needed a top-to-bottom rethink of NASA, I agree, but when President Obama killed the Constellation program, I wasn't sure what to feel. I agreed the program was the wrong direction, but I had more than a few doubts about how -- or even if -- President Obama would replace it. And most of the explanations I saw were vague and without any real specifics, at least until President Obama's speech at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida this week:


As always, President Obama begins his speech with a rather professorial recitation about the subject in question -- in this case, the entire history of humanity's reach for the stars, much like James Michener began that book about Texas with page after page about the basic geology of that state. Then again, no actual NASA workers were apparently allowed to attend this speech about their future, so the invited academics and other officials might well have needed the refresher. Besides, this allowed President Obama to tell us how much he likes Tang, which is "very cool."

Eventually, we come to the meat of the speech, and two warning flares rise up like, well, rockets during a night launch from the Kennedy Space Center:
So let me be start by being extremely clear. I am 100% committed to the mission of NASA and its future.

The bottom line is, nobody is more committed to manned space flight, to human exploration of space, than I am.
Those are actually from near the beginning and near the end of this speech, but to me, they're two parts of a whole. Because I can't hear either statement without immediately also hearing, in the back of my mind, that President Obama can no more disown Rev. Jeremiah Wright than he can his own grandmother, that President Obama will close Guantanamo Bay within one year, and the health care reform negotiations will be broadcast live on C-SPAN. Any "extremely clear" statement by President Obama always seems to come with an unspoken expiration date. And today, more than a year into his first term, I've become cynical enough to reflexively believe that these two statements will also expire, and expire sometime soon.

This is also the same man, after all, who during the presidential campaign wanted to delay future manned space missions and use that money to pay for early childhood education instead. And who also once supported the Constellation program. Not exactly consistent, but at this point, also not exactly surprising.

Like I said, I've become reflexively cynical about whatever President Obama reads off that teleprompter. But maybe these latest statements and positions will be the exceptions to the rule.

The rest of the speech, unsurprisingly, held even more problems:
In fact, what was once a global competition has long since become a global collaboration.
Wisely left unmentioned by President Obama was the "global collaboration" of China's successful anti-satellite missile test and those Iranian and North Korean "satellite" launches.
We start by increasing NASA's budget by $6 billion over the next five years.
Because the one thing you want to hear on April 15th, in a time of $1 trillion deficits each year for the next 10 years, is that yet another government agency is getting its budget increased. Even a space nerd to end all space nerds like me doesn't want to hear this on April 15th of all days. You really would think that one of the smart people in this administration of smart people might have grasped this concept, but then, this is the same administration of smart people who announced the end of the missile defense program in Poland on the anniversary of the 1939 Nazi invasion, and who phrased it in a way that implied we had just caved to Russian pressure, and so crippled our relationship with one of the most pro-American countries in Europe, if not the world, that they had to send Vice President Joe Biden on an emergency trip to try and repair the damage.

Besides, if it's one thing we've all learned by now, it's that part of the solution to every problem is always throwing more money at it. Just look at how successful the Stimulus has been.

But enough easy snark. Let's get to the real details that, at least to me, make for one incredibly incoherent space policy.
I've directed Charlie Bolden to immediately begin developing a rescue vehicle using this technology [the Orion crew capsule] so we are not forced to rely on foreign providers if it becomes necessary to quickly bring our people home from the International Space Station.
Those would be the "foreign providers" we're going to rely on, to the tune of more than $50 million a person, to send our people to the International Space Station, and that would be the Orion crew capsule from the now-cancelled Constellation program. So I guess we're actually "un-cancelling" that part of things. But someone please tell me why we're going to spend several years and billions more dollars to develop a "rescue vehicle" for the International Space Station when we already have one -- the Russian Soyuz, which is arguably the most proven, dependable space craft that anyone, in any country, has ever built. Not only are we about to start paying the Russians to launch American astronauts into space in Soyuz capsules, these ships already spend time docked at the International Space Station as, you guessed it, rescue/escape vehicles.

Admittedly, President Obama does also claim the Orion crew capsule will be used as the foundation for later deep space missions. And I might actually be able to see using Orion as a redundant "rescue" vehicle in the meantime, if only as an awkward, expensive way to aid in the development of future craft for those deeper missions. At least, I would if I thought for a moment that any of those missions would actually come to fruition under this plan rather than just being new revisions of earlier revisions that in turn will be endlessly revised -- and pushed back -- themselves. Because as President Obama continues:
Next, we will invest more than $3 billion to conduct research on an advanced heavy-lift rocket, a vehicle to efficiently send into orbit the crew capsules, propulsion systems, and large quantities of supplies needed to reach deep space.
So we're going to look at old models, and at new designs and materials, to "transform" where we go and what we can do. (President Obama does like his "transformations," whether he's talking about health care, General Motors, student loans, or NASA.) And the design for this new heavy-lift rocket will be finalized no later than 2015, President Obama claims, after which we begin to actually build it. And as President Obama says, that's "at least two years earlier than previously planned."

Maybe after reading that you can understand my hesitation to believe that any of this is ever actually going to happen. Because in this version of reality -- which is apparently the same version in which spending a lot more money means you actually save money and cut the deficit -- we're cancelling the overbudget and behind-schedule heavy-lift rocket from the Constellation program, which we've already spent years and billions of dollars developing. But by starting all over again from scratch with "breakthrough" technologies that haven't yet been invented, we'll actually have a heavy-lift rocket ready for launch at least two years before the one we'd been developing for the Constellation program was scheduled to fly! And this new heavy-lift rocket program at the same agency with the same people won't have any of the budget and scheduling problems of that old heavy-lift rocket program at the same agency with the same people!

Seriously. I'm not making this up. Just watch the video.
So, the point is, what we're looking for is not just to continue on the same path. We want to leap into the future. We want major breakthroughs. A transformative agenda for NASA.
Which apparently means transforming much of NASA into more of an R&D outfit that jumpstarts an entire private-sector space industry. I want to see a vibrant, private-sector space industry as much as the next space nerd, and probably even more. But this reminds me of how the Department of Energy was created back in the late 1970s to spur the creation of new energy sources that would end our dependence on foreign oil. We all know how well that worked out, of course, but like that new heavy-lift rocket program, maybe this time things will be different.
In fact, through our plan, we'll be sending more more astronauts to space over the next decade.
And that would be through buying space on Russian launches or through our new, transformative private-sector space industry, none of which really exists now but which will be up and running with those breakthrough technologies in just a few years' time? We'll see, Mr. President. Because people are going to be keeping count.

Then again, the Constellation program's return to the Moon has been scrapped, so where, exactly, are we going to be sending these astronauts?
We'll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history.
Chances are, visions of Bruce Willis and Armageddon just danced in your mind. I know they danced in mine when I first heard this. I involuntarily snorted in disbelief, too. Especially considering the "Tang is very cool" remark that came earlier.

Now, smarter people than I have told me that a manned asteroid mission actually does make sense. And articles are already appearing about how this very mission could actually save the entire planet. But it would have been nice if President Obama had actually given a good reason for this in the actual speech where he proposed this very mission. He's a smart man, after all. And he's surrounded by smart people. So one might think that someone, at some point, would have said, "You know, people are going to hear this, and then flash on Armageddon, and then giggle. We need to kill those giggles right at the start with good reasons for doing this asteroid mission."

Then again, as mentioned, these are the same smart people who announced the end of the missile defense program in Poland on the anniversary of the 1939 Nazi invasion, and who phrased it in a way that implied we had just caved to Russian pressure, and so crippled our relationship with one of the most pro-American countries in Europe, if not the world, that they had to send Vice President Joe Biden on an emergency trip to try and repair the damage. So maybe Vice President Biden is about to show up at the doors of America's space supporters. Or maybe they honestly didn't think they needed to give any reason, or at least give any reason other than this one:
Now, I understand that some believe that we should attempt a return to the surface of the Moon first, as previously planned. But I just have to say, pretty bluntly here, we've been there before.
Oh, you bitter clingers to your Moon! Don't you know the Moon is old stuff, but that asteroids are cool? Like Tang?

But enough about the coolness of asteroids and Tang, because then comes the obligatory "I'm creating jobs here" and "Bush was bad" portions of any President Obama speech. He's creating jobs at the Kennedy Space Center because its launch facilities will be upgraded for rockets that we won't even have a design for until, supposedly, 2015. And he's also going to spend $40 million for "a high-level team" to develop a plan for regional economic growth and job creation, because I guess that awesomely successful Stimulus just wasn't awesomely successful enough, at least in the all-important swing state of Florida. But if you're losing your job with the Space Shuttle at the Kennedy Space Center, well, that decision was made "six years ago, not six months ago." So blame George Bush, you workers who were not even invited to this speech.

Those are all just details, however. Because "the question for us now is whether [landing on the Moon] was the beginning of something or the end of something. I choose to believe it was only the beginning."

I hope you're right, Mr. President. And I'd like to believe that you really do expect to be around to see a manned landing on Mars, and that this wasn't just empty rhetoric on your part. But I remember being a young boy sitting in a revival movie theater with my father telling me that I would live to see all that we were watching up on that screen:




Forty years later, I'm still waiting. And watching President Obama at the Kennedy Space Center on April 15th broke my heart, because by the end of his speech, I no longer believed my father.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Gaia Needs a Better Publicist

A conversation while driving to the vet:

"What's that tent doing over there?"

"I think it's for Earth Day tomorrow."

"I thought Earth Day was in May."

"Isn't that Earth Hour?"

"Earth Hour was a couple weeks ago, wasn't it?"

"This Earth stuff is all over the place. Gaia really needs a better publicist."

"Patriots Pay Taxes! Patriots Pay Taxes!"

An After-"Argument" Married Conversation

"Well, this wasn't really an 'argument.' It was more like tense explaining."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

No One Who Hadn't Read The Bill Could Have Possibly Foreseen This


"You're serious? Our historic health reform package was so badly written and poorly thought out even after a year of debate that it may actually cost every Congressman and his or her staff their own health care coverage?... No, no. No, don't beat yourself up. No one who hadn't read the bill could have possibly foreseen this. You just want to keep telling the press -- Hold on, Rahm wants to know if our health care coverage here at the White House is still good... You're not sure? Well, who over there actually understands what I just signed into law?... No, you call Paul Ryan and ask him..."

"Happy Tax Day!"

A Tea Party of Our Own

Work and family commitments prevent me from attending a Tea Party protest today, so "we" had a protest of our own:


To everyone who will be making their voices heard in front of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office in Los Angeles today, Miss Bacon and I will be there in spirit!

UPDATE: Welcome GayPatriot, Left Coast Rebel, and Weasel Zippers readers!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

An International Incident in Every Bowl


"—and another thing! Stop referring to those French fries topped with cheese curd and brown gravy as Putine! I mean, seriously, Stephen! Do you really think that makes Vladimir feel more cooperative when it comes to sanctions on Iran? It's like an international incident in every bowl!"

How the IRS Is Really Going to Collect All Those Individual Health Insurance Mandate Fines

The Lone Voice of Reason on MSNBC...

...and the governor I wish that California had...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Unprecedented Non-Binding Progress


"President Hu and I are pleased to announce the unprecedented progress of our non-binding agreement for the Chinese to continue claiming they are considering a potential set of hypothetical Iranian sanctions that at some point in the future might be offered to the Security Council for their theoretical perusal and conceivable comments before further presumable re-drafting and likely re-negotiation, after which time the Iranians will have the bomb and we will infer the achievement of a persuasive change of subject..."

The Cat in the Cool Afghan Hat


I am a cat
A cool Afghan cat
Can’t you tell by my cool Afghan hat?

They say I’m corrupt
So very corrupt
That Obama demands reform be abrupt

They say I’m on drugs
On so many drugs
And that might be why I'm so smug

I just want my own way
And only my way
Or I’ll join the Taliban, I say!

But I’ve still got my hat
My cool Afghan hat
Please, NATO, protect my head in this hat!

*Sigh*

President Obama bows to Communist Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Nuclear Security Summit:


At this point, the shock is gone. Even the righteous indignation has faded to a dull heartburn of disappointment. The Leader of the Free World bowing to dictators and tyrants has now simply become the expected, and I can think of few things sadder than that.

Or more dangerous, in the long run. For all of us.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Smart Cookies and U.S. Foreign Policy

U.S. Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration:

“We’ve got to think about giving out cookies,” Mr. Gration told the Washington Post last fall. “Kids, countries—they react to gold stars, smiley faces . . .”
Partial list of U.S. allies and friendly countries that would very much like a cookie:
United Kingdom
Israel
Canada
India
Poland
Honduras
Norway
Czech Republic
Australia
Georgia
Colombia
Partial list of dictatorships and unfriendly countries currently enjoying a cookie without changing their policies and behavior:
China
Syria
Russia
Venezuela
North Korea
Sudan
Cuba
Saudi Arabia
Iran
Palestinian Authority
Clearly, it's time to put the Girl Scouts in charge of American foreign policy. Because they apparently understand the uses (and the limitations) of cookies far better than the current administration.

A Morning Conversation About Lady Gaga

"I just don't get the whole Lady Gaga thing. I don't even find her all that attractive."

"Why not?"

"She's like some girl robot they didn't quite get right. It's that whole uncanny valley thing."

"You know, I can see that."

"And watching this video with her makes me feel old."

"Really?"

"Yeah. I just want to go back in my office now and Napster some Tony Bennett or something."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

As Goes California...

Having just completed my federal and California state income tax returns, I can't think of a more appropriate video:



(H/T: Left Coast Rebel)

Obamon!

While walking past my local supermarket's magazine rack not long ago, I spotted the Democratic presidential ticket for 2012: Obamon!


Seriously, who needs Joe "BFD" Biden when you can have Matt Damon? And you know that vice-presidential debate would be in the bag, because that boy's wicked smart.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pop Quiz: Scary Politics Edition

In these days of sometimes overheated political rhetoric, thin-skinned legislators, and seemingly ever-wussier professional political activists, scary politics is often in the eye of the beholder. All of the following have been accused of being scary, or even violent, political speech or imagery. Which of the following actually scares you with its, well, scary violent-ness?

A) Graphic from Sarah Palin's Facebook page "targeting" House Democrats who voted yes on the health care bill and represent conservative-leaning districts carried by McCain/Palin in 2008:


B) E-mail sent by Bergen County, New Jersey, Education Association President Joseph Coppola:

Dear lord, this year you have taken away my favorite actor, Patrick Swayze, my favorite actress, Farrah Fawcett, my favorite singer, Michael Jackson, and my favorite salesman, Billy Mays. I just wanted to let you know that [NJ Republican Governor] Chris Christie is my favorite governor.
C) Graphic from GOP.com's Fire Pelosi website:


D) The Obama Youth Brigade:




Hint: Come on! If Sarah Palin really wanted to target Democratic Congressmen for assassination rather than electoral defeat, I have no doubt she would go the Malcolm Reynolds route: "If I ever kill you, you’ll be awake, you’ll be facing me, and you’ll be armed, you betcha!” And you've obviously never once in your life regretted clicking the Send button if you don't believe that everyone, even a teacher's union president, deserves one pass for one bad joke. And stern Nancy Pelosi in the flames? Honestly, I look at that, and I don't see "Burn, Witch!" All I can think of is "Hallowed are the Ori." Now, I'm also old enough that a bunch of young men in camo pants stomping around in unison and chanting about the benefits from even more government intrusion into one-sixth of the U.S. economy does, in fact, make me a bit nervous. But I also have to wonder how many of these boys are just plain great kids who got put up to this by the adults around them, kind of like these children. And not to be mean, but some of those Obama Youth Brigade members would probably be so winded by the time they finished climbing all those stairs up to my apartment door, I doubt they would be all that scary anymore. I'd have to fight the urge to invite them in for some rest and a nice lemonade.

Besides, it's a trick question. Because nothing in politics, at least in the eye of this beholder, is scarier than MSNBC's Ed "Psycho Talk" Schultz...

Friday, April 9, 2010

The 17-Minute Solution


"Let me try this again, Jake. Yes, health reform is going to cost us $1 trillion dollars over the next 10 years, but it's also going to lower the deficit by $130 billion over those same 10 years. Now, the deficit is a serious problem. Everyone agrees on that. So cutting the deficit by $130 billion over 10 years seems like a pretty good deal to me."

"And my question, Mister President, was why, instead of spending $1 trillion to lower the deficit by $130 billion over 10 years, don't we take that same $1 trillion and lower the deficit by $1 trillion instead of only $130 billion?"

"Look, Jake, this is getting us nowhere. You and I both know I'm not really going to answer this question. So how about I just take a shot at Sarah Palin and the Tea Party and we all move on? I mean, do any of you really want to wake up 17 minutes from now and realize I'm still talking?"

"Snapshots with Penguins" Snaps Shots of the Mexicali Earthquake

I found out last night that blogging friend and great neighbor Snapshots with Penguins was actually in Mexicali during the recent earthquake. Needless to say, Mrs. Copious and I are thrilled (and relieved) that she came back to our little courtyard safe and sound.


(Photo by Kylie Tyndall)

More photos here.

President Obama Stumps for Harry Reid in Serenity Valley, Nevada


"Sure as I know anything, I know this—they will try again! Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean! A year from now, ten?! They’ll swing back to the belief that they can make people better! And I do not hold to that! So no more runnin’! I aim to misbehave!... Okay, who keeps putting Firefly quotes on my teleprompter? This is not funny anymore!”

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Meddlesome Housekeeping Matters

After a year and a half of blogging, it was time for a change. I'm a far cry from a techie of any sort, so please bear with any formatting glitches while I tweak the new template over the next few days.

So About That Budget Freeze...

Smoking the Friendly Skies


"Sir? I don't care if you are a diplomat. There is no smoking on Air Force One. You come out of there now!"

"Oh! Okay! I'm sorry! Just let me put my cigarette out on my shoe!"

"We have a situation! Get everyone -- Oh, for crying out loud... Mister President, is that you?"

"Christians Are Confusing"

Spotted while walking the dog:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Nancy and Timmy Rewalk the Walk of Shame


"Speaker Pelosi, explain to me again why we're recreating our iconic walk up the Capitol steps from the day we passed health reform?"

"Well, Timmy, even though all those nasty, racist Tea Partiers were repeatedly shouting the 'n'-word in front of all those cell phone cameras, personal handheld video cameras, and very expensive, high-tech mainstream media cameras, not a single camera managed to record a single 'n'-word. Even that whole spitting thing isn't holding up well."

"That's incredible! You mean what we claim happened on that day didn't actually --"

"You freshmen representatives are so cute when you're naive! But no, Timmy. What it means is that we're going to recreate this walk again, and again, and again, until we finally get a Tea Partier actually shouting the 'n'-word at us on camera."

"I don't understand, Speaker Pelosi. If the protesters didn't really do it the first time, why would they say it to us now?"

"You think these are actual Tea Partiers, Timmy? You freshmen representatives are so cute when you're naive!"

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Another Badly Needed Break from All the Politics

Courtesy of John Williams, Richard Cheese, and Lounge Against the Machine...

These Nuclear Modernizing Times


"Seriously, Rahm, the announcement of our new Nuclear Posture Review was awesome! Especially that part about only modernizing our nuclear forces using the same kinds of components as those components we need to modernize... Say, you think Radio Shack has any of those old 1970s computers still around? Maybe next month we can modernize the Space Shuttle..."

A Caveman Can Understand It



Monday, April 5, 2010

I Hereby Offer My Services as the Presidential Editor

Reading the 304-word sentence below wasn't the first time I found myself thinking, "President Obama really needs an editor." But it was definitely the first time I ever thought, "Hey, why can't that editor be me?"

I hereby offer my services as an experienced editor to President Barack Obama. I offer these services free of charge, out of an abiding love for this country. And brevity. Please consider the following as my editorial sample.

Your draft:

And what I’ve tried to say often — and a lot of times this gets discounted in the press — is that the experience of having traveled throughout this country; having learned the stories of ordinary folks who are doing extraordinary things in their communities, in their neighborhoods; having met all the people who put so much energy and effort into our campaign; having seen the ups and downs and having seen how Washington was always the last to get what was going on, always the last to get the news — what that told me was that if we were willing to not do what was expedient, and not do what was convenient, and not try to govern based on the polls today or tomorrow or the next day, but rather based on a vision for how we can rebuild this country in a way that works for everybody — if we are focused on making sure that there are ladders of opportunity for people to continue to strive and achieve the American Dream and that that’s accessible to all, not just some — if we kept our eye on what sort of future do we want for our kids and our grandkids so that 20 years from now and 30 years from now people look back on this generation the way we look back on the Greatest Generation and say to ourselves, boy, they made some tough decisions, they got through some tough times, but, look, we now have a clean energy economy; look, our schools are revitalized; look, our health care system works for every single American — imagine how tough that was and how much resistance they met from the special interests, but they were still willing to do it — if that was how we governed, then I figure that the politics would take care of itself.
My edit:
I won.
Thank you for your time, Mr. President. I look forward to hearing from you.

He Probably Has Boy Cooties Anyway


"If he didn't want to come to my tea party, all he had to do was say no. He didn't have to make such a big deal about it in front of everyone..."

An Insomniac's Cranky Breakfast Conversation

"Why won't this jelly spread?"

"Because that's not jelly. It's a big chunk of apricot."

"Why is there a big chunk of apricot in the jelly?"

"Because that's not jelly. It's jam."

"Why can't we just buy jelly like normal people?"

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Michael Bay Presents John Boehner's Armageddon

FADE IN:

A secret meeting room in a secret area of a secret NASA complex that Google Earth places at 2101 NASA Parkway, Houston...


STEVE BUSCEMI: You have any idea what we’re doing here?

MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN: Not a clue. You?

STEVE: I bet it has something to do with that Boehner guy shrieking all over the Internet about Armageddon.

BEN AFFLECK: You gotta stop getting all your news from the blogosphere, Steve. That stuff --

BRUCE WILLIS: Pipe down. He’s here.


BILLY BOB THORNTON: Welcome to NASA, gentlemen. Been a long time, Bruce.

BRUCE: Not long enough, Billy Bob.

OWEN WILSON: Oh, man! Do we have unexplained backstory here?

BILLY BOB: You want to explain our backstory, Bruce?

BRUCE: Why bother? We both know they’ll just drop it from the final cut anyway.

BILLY BOB: If that’s how you want it, after all these years.

OWEN: I hate unexplained backstory!

STEVE: It's just a lazy way to pretend you have character development when you really don't.

OWEN: Exactly!

BILLY BOB: Gentlemen, please, if you’ll direct your attention to the Sony HDTV product placement on the wall...


BRUCE: Is that what I think it is?

BILLY BOB: That, gentlemen, is a major reform. It’s the size of one-sixth of the U.S. economy. And it’s heading this way.

STEVE: I knew it! That Boehner guy was right! Sweet mu --

BILLY BOB: Hey! We're shooting the airline version here! Watch your mouth, son!

STEVE: Sweet deep-fried twinkies on a Tea Partier's cotton-candy stick!

BILLY BOB: A little long, but I guess we can cut in a shot of the back of someone’s head to make the timing work.


BRUCE: Nobody likes actors who try to direct, Billy Bob. It only leads to cinematic tragedy. Just tell us where this reform is now.

BILLY BOB: The leading edge of the taxation-and-regulatory cloud is already impacting our lives. Paris just got wiped out.

STEVE: That is so cool!

MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN: I guess even the worst reform can have something good in it, somewhere.

BILLY BOB: You won’t think that when the bulk of it comes crashing down on your shiny bald head, son.

BRUCE: Ordinarily, I’d believe you, Billy Bob. But we have unexplained backstory.

OWEN: I hate unexplained backstory!

BILLY BOB: Bruce, you have to know how sorry I am that --

BRUCE: Save it, Billy Bob.

BILLY BOB: No, really. I've waited all these years to say --

BRUCE: I said save it!

OWEN: You know, you guys could have explained your whole backstory by now.

STEVE: It's just a lazy way to pretend you have dramatic tension when you really don't.

OWEN: Exactly!

BRUCE: Focus, people. How much time until the main mass of the reform gets here, Billy Bob?

BILLY BOB: We’re estimating four years. And then it hits America. Hard.

STEVE: Holy fu --

BILLY BOB: Airline version!

STEVE: Holy Captain Kirk Versus Trolololo Guy!

BILLY BOB: (pause) I guess we can fix that in post, too.


BRUCE: Why don't you stop worrying about potentially offensive catch-phrases, Billy Bob, and just tell us why we're here.

BILLY BOB: You always were a down-to-business guy, Bruce. Reminds me of that time we --

OWEN: Someone choke me with my own nose. Please.

BILLY BOB: Have it your way then, gentlemen. The truth is, we want you to save America.

BRUCE: You mean the world.

BILLY BOB: Yeah, like the foreign market still has that kind clout after this recession! You think the box office is bad here, take a look at --

BRUCE: I don't care about the box office, Billy Bob.

BILLY BOB: Well, I guess that explains Surrogates then.

BRUCE: Forget about Surrogates.

BILLY BOB: Why not? Everyone else has.

BRUCE: So I guess you've also forgotten we're the guys who drill oil wells.

BILLY BOB: Nice improv to get us back on plot, Bruce. But I haven't forgotten at all. In fact, that’s why your country needs you.

STEVE: Holy mu --

BILLY BOB: Steve! Seriously! We are already on page three here, so this scene is running way too long for Hollywood!

BEN AFFLECK: I was promised a line for each page of script.

STEVE: I was promised a scene where I get to play with animal crackers on Liv Tyler's bare stomach.

BEN: Yeah... About that...

BRUCE: You’re were saying, Billy Bob?


BILLY BOB: We want you and your team to fly out on a certified pre-owned space shuttle, drill deep into this reform, place a small nuclear device right next to its biggest internal contradiction, and then blow the whole thing into a million smaller pieces that the CBO can actually deal with.

BEN: That's insane!

BILLY BOB: We're not on page four yet, son.

BEN: Sorry.

BILLY BOB: And that just cost you page five.

BRUCE: Billy Bob, seriously, there’s no other way?

BILLY BOB: We thought we’d managed to deflect it back in January, but something this massive just had too much inertia to overcome.

BRUCE: How deep a drill are we talking about?

BILLY BOB: Thousands of pages.

BRUCE: And how dense is the verbiage?

BILLY BOB: Damn near impenetrable.

STEVE: Legislative language?! Oh, my fat --

BRUCE: Ordinarily, I'd agree to this madness, Billy Bob, because that's just the kind of guy I am. But we have an unexplained backstory, so you know I'm going to ask for something humorously unreasonable in exchange.

BILLY BOB: I’m listening.


BRUCE: Well, my guys and I, we have some unpaid taxes.

BILLY BOB: And we have tax cheat running the Treasury Department. I think I can handle that.

BRUCE: Owen here wants a nose job.

BILLY BOB: Better get anything elective in now, definitely.

BRUCE: And we want out of this fine for not buying individual insurance.

BILLY BOB: Come on, Bruce! You know that’s a --

BRUCE: No fine for us. Ever. Take it or leave it, Billy Bob.

BILLY BOB: How about I delay implementation of your fines until, say, 2018?

OWEN: Sold!


BRUCE: Don’t be a moron, Owen. That's after the reform is supposed to hit. He’s throwing out 2018 because he thinks he won't be around to have to follow through on it then.

BILLY BOB: Don't be ridiculous, Bruce.

STEVE: And I'll bet Billy Bob and his people here are actually responsible for this whole reform. And now they want us to save them from their tragic experiment full of unintended consequences!

BILLY BOB: That's a lot of italics for a little man, son.

BRUCE: It's even worse than that, Steve. Billy Bob here doesn't really think we can do it.

BILLY BOB: Well, no reform on this scale has ever been successfully --

BRUCE: That’s because we weren’t there, Billy Bob.

BILLY BOB: (sigh) You always were --

BRUCE: A metaphor for the plucky American common man, that's what. You don’t think we’re up to the job, so we’re going to do that job, just to spite you. You don’t think we can succeed, and that’s why we will.


WILL PATTON: Can I succeed so my estranged wife and son will finally respect me?

BRUCE: Sure, Will, just as long as you walk out that door in slow motion like the rest of us.


BILLY BOB: Godspeed, you magnificent bastards...

To Be Continued...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Just Because

You Know What I'll Be Watching Tonight

Oh, yeah! It's back! Grab your kinos and slice up a lime for the Coronas, baby!

President Obama Fills Out His Census Form


"I can't believe they sent me the long form... Rahm, how many sinks does the White House have?"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Saddest Bag of Groceries Ever

The purchases of the person ahead of me in the express check-out lane just now:


Full shopping list:

One Banquet frozen microwave dinner (single-serving size)

One can of frozen concentrated lemonade

One big stinkin' bottle of Popov vodka
There but for the grace of my wife...

"The Nanny Tax Rap"