LOLcist Friday

01_white_cat_in_ia

It’s been said by more people that one can count that it is simply not possible to satirize Conservatives. Any exaggerated quality you can think up, they’ll have topped it by tea time (usually while fellating an underage goat). This tendency reaches baroque levels of complexity with their sex lives, but with the increasingly frequent outbursts of un-self aware racism, we’ve moved past baroque, past Roccoco, past even the entirety of Europe’s 19th century. We have now reached postwar Abstract expressionism. Case in point, Congressman Steve King, who cast a solitary “no” vote this week on a House resolution to honor the slaves who built the Capitol.

Now, if you’re like me, you probably can’t come up with a plausible reason to vote against recognizing the slaves on whose backs the FREEST COUNTRY EVARZ was built. That’s because you don’t have the benefit of evolved Republican biology. Or, because you’re reverse-racist (except on opposite days, when you become regular racist.) Fortunately, Congressman King offered not 1, but 2 equally plausible reasons for opposing this bill. First, he explained in thoughtful, rational language how honoring slaves gives Jesus a wicked case of testicular tortion:

“Last night I opposed yet another bill to erect another monument to slavery because it was used as a bargaining chip to allow for the actual depiction of ‘In God We Trust’ in the CVC. The Architect of the Capitol and liberal activists opposed every reference to America’s Christian heritage, even to the extent of scrubbing ‘In God We Trust’ from the depiction of the actual Speaker’s chair in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“This is just the latest example of a several year effort by liberals in Congress to scrub references to America’s Christian heritage from our nation’s Capitol. Liberals want to amend our country’s history to eradicate the role of Christianity in America and chisel references to God or faith from our historical buildings.

“Our Judeo-Christian heritage is an essential foundation stone of our great nation and should not be held hostage to yet another effort to place guilt on future Americans for the sins of some of their ancestors.” (emphasis mine, by decree of my liberal overlords).

Now, never mind the fact that his assertion that this recognition was somehow connected in any way to yet another In God We Trust assertion is just kind of crazy. And never mind that there’s no such religion as “judeo-christianity”, particularly since the Christianity part has spent the better part of the last 2000 years trying to ixnay the Udeaojay part. And never mind that “holding hostage” is kind of a weird word choice, when referring to the victims of slavery as somehow being unfair to other people. And never mind that fuck this guy for being an insufferable whiny little dickhole. The problem, clearly, is that America is a Christian nation that is somehow also filled to bursting with paganliberalhomos who hate the Lord. Which means nobody believed, or even understood what the hell he was saying.

Smith seems to have recognized that getting totes butthurt about the fact that not everyone thinks slavery was no biggie, and then blaming his glutial soreness on Racism Magic Jesus, is kind of a bad play. So the next day, he went on the radio to offer up a much more sensical, reasonable explanation for his heroic opposition to the tyranny of not being able to ignore horrifying truths anymore:

KING: I would just add that there were about 645,000 slaves that were brought to the United States. And I’m with Martin Luther King, Jr. on this. His documents, his speeches – I’ve read most of them. And I agree with almost every word that came out of him. Slavery was abhorrent, but it was also a fact of life in those centuries where it existed.

And of the 645,000 Africans that were brought here to be forcibly put into slavery in the United States, there were over 600,000 people that gave their lives in the Civil War to put an end to slavery. And I don’t see the monument to that in the Congressional Visitor Center, and I think it’s important that we have a balanced depiction of history.

Okay, now, first, we need to stop the funny for a few facts.

1) Starting your argument against [whatever policy would benefit or simply pay attention to slaves, slavery, or the descendents of slaves] by saying “I’m in agreement with Dr. King” is the 21st century version of “I’m no racist, but there are black people, and there are n******.” So fuck you.

2) He keeps repeating that number – 645,000. And wow, when you consider how many people lived in the US between the beginning of slavery and the end of it, it just must not have been very many of us who were slaves, right? Except, no. Turns out that there were 697,681 total slaves in 1790, and by the Civil war, almost exactly half of the entire population of the south were slaves.

3) “Slavery was abhorrent, but it was also a fact of life in those centuries where it existed. ” Okay, since we’re making this kind of argument, will Southerners shut up too? Sure, Sherman’s march was “abhorrent”*, but killing people who went into open rebellion by starting a war to preserve the institution of slavery was a fact of life in those days.

4) “over 600,000 people… gave their lives in the Civil War to put an end to slavery.” Actually, over half of those people were actually killed defending slavery. So in a sense they gave their lives to end slavery. Because we had to kill them in order to end slavery. What’s that old Southern expression? Oh yeah. Fuck you.

It’s simply astonishing to me that the Party of Lincoln has morphed wholeheartedly into the Party of Jefferson Davis. Then again, I’m surprised that Transformers 2 was a massive hit. So I don’t really get the way idiots’ brains work.

Meanwhile, we have a rare TV LOLcist outburst. On Wednesday morning’s Fox & Friends, during a discussion of a Scandinavian study linking marriage to lower rates of aging diseases and health problems, Brian Kilmeade revealed the curious fact that he recieved a Masters in Biology during the 1890s:

Kilmeade: Leave it to the Finns and Swedes to come up with something. Because that’s a — we are, we’re a, we keep marrying other species and other ethnics and other —

[Crosstalk]

Kilmeade: I mean the Swedes — the Swedes have, uh, pure genes. Because they marry other Swedes. Because that’s the rule. Finland — Finns marry other Finns, so they have a pure society. In America, we marry everybody. So we marry Italians and Irish and –

Dave Briggs: OK, so this study does not apply.

Kilmeade: It does not apply to us.

Just to be clear, this study didn’t mention anything about genetics. It mentioned behavior. So, way to make a creepy, unrelated point Brian. Also, is he accidentally letting it slip that he hates the Irish? I mean, wow, I was kidding earlier when I said he went to college in the 1890s, but now I’m not so sure. That’s the kind of out-of-print racism you can only find via torrent!

This situation reminds me of my dad, who I love, but who in his old age has developed into a charmingly angry combination of Abe Simpson and John Birch. During a recent conversation with him, the subject of Health Care came up and he proceeded to mention last year’s hottest trend in wingnut opposition to universal health care: health care costs are spiraling out of control because of illegal immgrants! He insisted he had a personal anecdote proving the disastrous impact of underpaid sweatshop workers on The World’s Greatest Health Care System, and then proceeded to tell me a story of his wife’s elderly aunt:

It seems said elderly aunt had her health insurance badly managed by a relative-caretaker. Insurance lapsed; she had to go to the hospital for treatment of a condition, at which point this lapse in coverage was discovered. Fortunately, after some back and forth with the Medicare people, coverage was restored, treatment paid for and voila! Problem solved, and she’s fine and getting her meds and financial assistance right on schedule.

By which I mean that my dad seemed to realize that he’d forgotten to say anything about how some cheap jerk’s gardener caused this to happen, so he hastily added “and Mexicans keep going to the ER!”, in his delightful Oklahomish grumble. And to his credit, this rambling non sequitor-laden narrative actually works as a better explanation for Sarah Palin’s resignation than her speech did. Ditto Kilmeade’s eugenics lesson. Which proves, possibly, that Conservatives have also mastered hive-mind technology.

Finally, it wouldn’t be LOLcists Friday without a follow up on woman who helped define the genre, the ever adorable Audra Shay. The Daily Beast actually went through he facebook history and tracked down several more heartwarming Gems from this 38 year old vice chair of the Young Republicans**. Home girl has been spinning Facebook into gold for quite the time, as it turns out:

In October 2008, in the wake of news that an effigy of Sarah Palin was being hung outside an affluent Hollywood home as an offensive Halloween decoration, Shay replied, returning to the “LOL” style that she employed after the “coons” comment: “What no ‘Obama in a noose? Come on now, its just freedome [sic] of speech, no one in Atlanta would take that wrong! Lol.”

She picked up the thread again the next morning with a clarification and a new insight. “Apparently I could not spell last night. I am wondering if the guys with the Palin noose would care if we had a bunch of homosexuals in a noose.”

Actually, Audra, the correct grammar is “I could not has spellin.” But we digress.

Posting and endorsing a conspiracy-theory video that attempts to prove that Obama believes he can only “ensure his own salvation” and “fate” if he helps African Americans above whites, complete with Barnum-esque captions (“LISTEN AS HE ATTACKS WHITE PEOPLE”).

Numerous posts in which Shay says that President Obama is “anti-American” and has “disdain of this country.”

It only gets better so hurry over to read the whole thing for yourself. Punchline? Despite this, she is still heavily favored to become the Chair of the Young Republicans in tomorrow’s election.

LOL!

*not really. Sorry, you start a war to defend your ownership of other people, you don’t get sympathy from me when you lose badly.
**I told you it’s impossible to satirize these people didn’t?

Realistic Assessment Of One’s Electoral Prospects FAIL

Huffington Post is reporting something that only makes sense in a world without the internet* – Apparently Alec Baldwin, hilarious actor, but not-so-hilarious angry MRA douchebag, is indulging the fantasy that he could possibly win an election:

Playboy: Will you run for office?

Baldwin: I’ll put it this way. The desire is there… I have sometimes thought I could move to New Jersey or Connecticut and run. I’d love to run against Joe Lieberman. I have no use for him. But it’s all fantasy. I’m a carry-me-out-in-a-box New Yorker. Here, anything can happen. Who thought Eliot Spitzer would go down the way he did? Senator Hillary Clinton left to serve as secretary of state. Two of the biggest forces gone. Maybe Andrew Cuomo will run for one of their old seats. How much longer will Chuck Schumer stay as senator? After 2013 Bloomberg will be gone. What happens then?

Do I run for Congress on Long Island? What’s Tim Bishop going to do? He represents my district. People get sick, die. They’re offered lucrative deals and want to cash in and make money for their retirement. People misstep. Unfortunately, an opportunity for me may mean bad things for someone else. I don’t wish that.

Okay, as much as replacing Joe Lieberman with someone who isn’t an evil corporate whore-slash-evil warmongering liar appeals to me, Alec Baldwin needs to stay in an industry more forgiving of, ahem, the personal failings of difficult people. However, in case Alec doesn’t understand why he’d lose faster than you can say “Nobody wants to end the war more than I do”, I give you the only commercial Baldwin’s opponents will ever need:

Give up the dream, please. Please.

*Remember – on the internet, everything is forever.

I Kan Haz Birth Certificate?

So, once upon a time, there were three kinds of Bigots:

1) Out and Proud.

These guys love being prejudiced, and want everyone to know it. They like to say things like “I hate the [expletive deleted] [racial/religious/social group] and want them eliminated.” These people used to join the Klan. Some still do, but that level of organized racism against African Americans is way uncool now, so they’ve replaced it with hatred of Muslims, or they join the National Organization for Marriage.

2) On the Down-Low.

Down-Low bigots are smart enough to know it’s not okay to be a bigot, but too stupid to understand that the problem people have with bigots is the bigotry, not the rude language. They typically keep quiet until they’re fairly certain they’re in a room full of like minded haters, at which point they cannot wait to let out what they’ve been thinking in private, usually with a creepy joke. Otherwise, they tend to couch their hate behind pretentions of having reached their views via rational thought and real world experience (always failing to acknowledge that they simply found a way to sexy up their tiny minds with big words and ex post facto deduction.) They also tend to be libertarian.

You remember that one asshole back in the day who liked to say things like “Oh, I used to believe what you think about [racial/religious/social group], but then I got out in the real world and now I know the truth. They really are as [dumb/evil/desirous of raping white women/predatory] as people say.” This is his category.

The biggest problem they have is that they don’t normally get to be in a room full of like minded haters, and the rest of us just aren’t as obsessed with the objects of their resentment as they are. This makes convenient “since you asked” opportunities to hate with educated language a very rare commodity. Therefore, the pressure of having to appear sane in front of the normals inevitably leads to unusual outbursts – for instance, while employed as an ESPN commentator, they accuse the the NFL of reverse discrimination for hiring a black quarterback.

Typically, they act shocked and offended when actually called out on their bigotry. Of course, what they really offends them is that they can’t be type #1. And also that Obama was born in the US.

3) In-denial:

These pitiful people have internalized cultural notions about the essential wrongness of bigotry, but still have volumes of unexamined anger and resentment inside them. They cope by relying on a bizarre, passive-aggressive method of expressing these feelings: comfortably using language similar to that of people opposed to prejudice, in order to express their obvious-to-everyone-but-them bigotry.

They tend to say things like “there are [racial/religious/social group], and there are [horribly offensive term used by bigots to refer to said group].”, or “we ended [oppressive policy against racial/religious/social group], but [racial/religious/social group] wants to live in a perpetual victim state, acting like a bunch of [horribly offensive term used by bigots to refer to said group].”

The biggest problem engaging them is that they typically have been completely screwed over by conservative policies, and quite often lead genuinely tough lives. The hardship they’ve experienced should have triggered their latent ability to feel, but a lack of critical thinking skills, combined with a very narrow range of media exposure, channels the rage they should have for Reagan and Dubya onto Faggosexualislamic single mothers who want to take their guns. You can recognize these poor saps because unlike #1 and #2, these people actually believe that “reverse racism” exists, rather than just being a convenient euphamism for “people should know their place”.

Obviously, I’ve just described 3/4 of the Republican base.

“But Ross!”, I can hear you say. “3/4? Surely you mean 4/4, right?” Au Contrair! If you’ve learned anything from the last 8 years, it should be to never underestimate the ability of crazy wingnuts to mutate with the times, and our current times are no different from, um, other times. Since the election of Barack Obama, we have witnessed the birth and rapid development of a delightfully 21st century kind of hater.

This new model bigot is a bizarre, post-modernist combination of all three categories. This is a cognative leap previously believed (by all but the most insane psychological theoreticians) to be impossible for the human brain. It was, or so it was believed, the equivalent of simultaneously believing that Jesus and God are the same entity, and yet somehow also different entities with distinct personalities. In other words, cataclysmic Epic Logic Fail.

Enter The Internet. The vast data storage capacity of a world wide network millions of computers strong, sharing information endlessly (mostly about naked women, but never you mind just now). Add to it the perpetual motion machine that is right wing paranoia, a community of millions made up of conspiracy freaks, end timers, gun hoarders and get off my land jerks, all of them whining eternally about their lot in life, separated from 911 truthers only by their unwillingness to criticize George W. Bush.

Somehow, these two powerful entities combined in the same way bacterial life combined with Earth’s primordial soup, and the result is that the right wing brain has… evolved. I admit that it feels dirty using that word in this context, but how else do you explain it? Conservatives have shed such cumbersome hinderances to personal fulfillment as “basic empathy”, “intellectual honesty”, and “learning from mistakes”, allowing these people to live lives free of the kind of concerns normal people experience before making decisions. Liberated, they stand ready to lead America into a glorious golden age that, apparently, is a combination of Red Dawn, Casablanca and Caligula.

However, of all evolutionary advantages they have acquired, the most compelling is the development of something that philosophers and religious leaders have dreamt of since the first skeptic asked “so, how do we know that this god person actually spoke to you?”: The ability to hold contradictory thoughts in their head, at the same time, and experience absolutely no confusion or uncertainty. In short, the end of Cognitive dissonance.

Which brings us to the newest form of Bigot.

Like Type 1, they have awful, sometimes psychotic veiws and they truly do not give a frack who knows it. In fact, they’re proud of it.

Then again, like 2, they know you cannot be racist in public.

And, like Type 3, they honestly believe that they are not racist, often going so far as to insist that they are themselves the greatest defenders of the rights of the minorities and social outcasts they disparaged.

The combinations are endless and awe-inspiring. Filled with a deep seated need to share their bigoted ideas, they also long for approval and to be told that they are correct, but also moral and good. But, and this is the most important part: unlike their predecessors, they possess a curious mutation that distinguishes them from their cousins in hate – these people almost never rant and rage, except at the people who have the audacity to get offended. Instead they spew their hateful stereotypes and vile rhetoric with a mirthful, cheeky sense of humor that for some reason they think is endearing. And whenever caught, the react with an Urkel-esque “mmmdid I do thaaat?”

The most recent example is the current Vice Chair of the National Young Republicans, the wovable and adowable Audra Shay, who landed in hot water because… well, let’s let Raw Story tell it!

The Vice Chair of the Young Republicans is in political hot water after being caught laughing — and seemingly endorsing — a racist “coon” joke on her Facebook page.

“On Wednesday, Shay—a 38-year-old Army veteran, mother, and event planner from Louisiana who has been endorsed by her governor, Bobby Jindal—was holding court on her Facebook page, initiating a political conversation by posting that ‘WalMart just signed a death warrant’ by ‘endorsing Obama’s healthcare plan,’” Avlon notes. “At 1:52, a friend named listed as Eric S. Piker, but whose personal page says his actual name is Eric Pike, wrote ‘It’s the government making us commies… can’t even smoke in my damn car… whats next they going to issue toilet paper once a month… tell us how to wipe our asses…’”

Piker then posted again. “Obama Bin Lauden [sic] is the new terrorist,” he penned. “Muslim is on there side [sic]… need to take this country back from all of these mad coons… and illegals.”

In reply, Shay wrote: “You tell em Eric! lol.”

Okay, now first I was a bit taken aback by being informed that a 38 year old woman is a member of the “Young” Republicans. I’m 35 and while I’m quite immature, “young” is something I increasingly ain’t. But then I remembered – you know how they say “anyone under 30 who isn’t a liberal doesn’t have a heart; anyone over 30 who isn’t a conservative doesn’t have a brain?” That’s 50% right. Hioo. But seriously, since the average Republican is approximately… Let’s see, Satan is 6,000 years old and Dick Cheney is 68, so 500 years? Well, point is, based on this woman’s post, 38 in Republican is approximately 13 in normal person years, so she’s obviously in the right organization.

Anyway, here’s a screen cap.

audrashay

Audra claims she was referring to Eric’s previous comment. And maybe she’s serious. Probably not. The thing is, there’s something about this – it’s insanely adorable, you see, because first, you have something we think should behave in a specific manner (a human being, “rational”), juxtaposed with poorly written, grammatically incorrect phrases they don’t really understand. Plus, these hilarious outbursts seem to happen exclusively online, almost as though they don’t understand that whatever they post to the intertubes is forever. It reminds me of something. Right on the tip of my tongue. But what could it be?

Could it be:

LOLCoulter

No, that’s not it. Wait, how about:

SeanHannity

No, that’s not it either. Hang on, it’s right there… I GOT IT!

kaeseburger

That’s it! The modern face of Conservatism and Bigotry isn’t Rush Limbaugh, or crazy ass people who show up at Palin Appearances, or even murderous sociopaths. It’s the cutesy, aw shucks “ain’t I a stinker” purveyors of casually adorable hate.

Let’s call it the LOLcist.

I simply cannot wait to see the next manifestation of this wacky online trend.

Rest in Discord, Robert McNamara

So unless you’ve been living under a rock, or you’ve set your RSS Feed to “Michael Jackson ONLY”, you’ve no doubt heard that Robert McNamara, evil businessman, Secretary of Defense under both Kennedy and Johnson, and nefarious mastermind behind the Vietnam War, has died.

Now that he’s dead, it’s time to speak ill of him, with gusto. By way of that, let’s get some facts about the Vietnam war out of the way:

* It was a shameful, evil thing we ought never have started;

* It wasn’t about defending democracy, but about preserving western colonial dominance of a sovereign nation who’s only real offense was wanting colonizers to get the hell out of their country;

* It served no strategic purpose and furthermore, with it’s ignoble completion proved that the domino theory was crackpot insanity at best and a vicious lie at worst;

*It could never have “won” for the same reason the British could never have defeated us in our war for Independence – namely because, in order to do so, indiscriminate slaughter on a scale rivaling Nazi Germany would have been required, something the citizens of our country thankfully would never have accepted;

*Despite this, we still managed to deal out a shocking, and disgusting level of carnage and mayhem, dealing that unfortunate country a near mortal blow from which they have only recently recovered.

To restate, there is literally nothing about that was that can be justified. It was indefensible, even at the time, and only hardened idealogues could possibly have felt otherwise. Making matters worse, it seems to have been escalated, in part, to provide commie-hating cover to Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society plans. So in a sense, 50,0000 dead American soldiers, and more importantly, more than 2 million dead Vietnamese, were slaughtered so we could have a barely provisory welfare system and the meagerest possible health care system for the elderly (but for no one else). How’s that for cost/benefit analysis?

I jest, slightly, but only slightly, and none of this should detract from the fact that Johnson was egged on by his national security and foreign policy team, of which McNamara was at the head. All of that terrible destruction, needless waste and countless killing, it can be lain at McNamara’s feet. All the apologies in the world, and all of the favorable documentaries ever made, can’t make up for it.

Much has been said about the banality of evil that made that war possible, but to really measure just how terrible it was, one must look to its aftermath. Few things in life can be seen as an either/or situation, but the Vietnam War is just such a thing. Had we been willing, as a country, to admit the truth about this war, to acknowledge our cowardice, our greed, our stupidity, our casual brutality and our henious, wrongful attempt to genocide the communism out of the brown people, and I mean, admit all of this immediately upon the war’s completion, our subsequent history might have been vastly different.

Instead? Well, We seem to have these kind of indefensible national calamities every few generations, and the result is always the same: The bad guys increase their power by exploiting resentment over their own failed endeavors while those who were right sheepishly refuse to defend their position until they lose by default as the wrong side’s version of events becomes conventional wisdom. This is, of course, an American tradition, as those of us with roots in the south can attest. Even so, it’s one thing to know this, and another entirely to see it develop within one’s own lifetime. Especially as we should know better.

Post-Vietnam, in place of honest assessment and correction, we got 30+ years of Right Wing lies about how Vietnam was “lost” because liberals, protesters and squeamish politicians refused to do what “had to be done to win”. Year after year from 1975, continuing all the way into the 2004 election, a cadre of sociopaths and liars perpetuated the awful myths regarding our failures and defeat, extending the life of Mcarthyist slurs as an effective political tactic, and in the process convince millions of Americans to let them completely fuck the country up.

The recessions that have worsened with every occurence; the slow motion dismantling of our national safety net; the debt ridden, social darwinist culture that even now tears us apart; the millions who find their formerly well paying jobs flee the country as cost of living and health care costs increase expoentially; Katrina; right wing terrorist violence; even 911 and the terrifying 8-year long national nightmare that was the Bush Adminstration. All of these national calamaties, and more, can be traced back to how we as a nation coped with the end of Vietnam.

Luckily for us, we remain as a nation unwilling to honestly assess the Vietnam war, and we now have political and social culture in which Americans blithely debate the usage of torture not as a question of good or evil, but of “necessity”, with the issue of morality dismissed as “anything we do is, by definition, the right thing to do”. So we can look forward to many more such wars in our future. Apologies in advance to third world countries who happen to have resources we need or happen to be in our way. I mean, who happen to need “liberating” for “freedom” and “democracy”.

My point: McNamara spent his entire post-Vietnam life trying to apologize for his creation of America’s sociopathic political and foreign policy culture. And one must give him credit for realizing the awful monstrosities he inflicted on this country and on the world. But it wasn’t enough. His life’s work not only led to the slaughter of millions, it also helped give us a generation of insanities of which we are only now receiving full benefit. His death only serves to underscore the depravity that now defines national political culture and it is likely that it will end all discussion of the matter.

One hopes that on his death bed, he understood that. Based on his inexplicably lauded performance in The Fog Of War, I doubt it. Good riddance.

Pardon, I mean, Commute my French, but Bush is a d***head.

Well damn it, I am TOTALLY opposed to this, but for once, Bush actually makes a good point and, I think, has found a positively Solomonic solution to this a tricky situation. Sometimes, despite the amount of ire we may have for him, Bush reminds us all, even his detractors, of the Leader Americans elected in those Halycon days before 9/11, before Everything Changed, and I think this might be the beginning of his long delayed comeback.

Shit, I’m impressed, and I’m a liberal! Bush has somehow managed to simultaneously appease those who clamor for Scooter’s heads and his defenders! After all, Scooter’s reputation will be fucked, and he can’t practice law anymore but he won’t be imprisoned for longer than such a decent man deserves.

I suppose at the end of the day, Liberals can at least comfort themselves that, while Bush magically managed to deflate both sides, Scooter will still suffer somewhat significantly. American Justice, though imperfect, is still the best the world has to offer, and thank god for thahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahaahahahahHAHAHHAHAHhhHAHAHAHAHhah… (cough cough cough.)

Whew.

No, sorry, that was actually Richard Cohen and David Broder’s next 15 op-eds, predicted here for your amusement. In fact, this is a 100% slam dunk ass kicking for the conservative POV. The so-called liberal elites in Washington and the conservative, ahem, I mean, independent commenters, both of whom have been slathering Libby’s reputation-cock with their salivating paeans to his good and decent decency, will be hotter than I, at age 14, when my friend Neil and I discovered his grandfather’s 4 box collection of hard core pornography. It’s going to be a sticky and musky night in Washington, D.C., let me tells you.

For those of you wondering how this breaks down, rest assured that the commutation not only provided credible cover to the Bushies – Libby, having been sentenced, cannot be coerced to say anything further since the case is still on appeal. Thus, he still gets to plead the 5th if called before Congress. Also, his commutation guarantees that he won’t publish a damaging book about the administration – it also gave the fascist sympathizers in the press their long delayed catharsis, granting the next best thing to the pardon they’ve craved for Such a Decent Man!

Now they can literally have their cake and eat it too, just like real republicans – I predict a thousand variations of “what are you complaining about? It isn’t like Libby was pardoned – Justice was done commiserate to the crime, and still, he wasn’t unduly punished for something he didn’t technically do except he did. And don’t forget, B-b-b-b-b-b-but Clinton!!!!!”

And let’s not forget this little gem:

“”That’s fantastic. It’s a great relief,” said former Ambassador Richard Carlson, who helped raise millions for Libby’s defense fund. “Scooter Libby did not deserve to go to prison and I’m glad the president had the courage to do this.”"

Millions, aye? Gee, I wonder, what can Scooter do with that money now that he’s not going to jail. Damn, I guess the money’s going to go to WAIIT A MINUTE! Could those millions be applied to the 250,000 Scooter has to pay? EUREKA! Sounds like someone’s going to be cutting a check and then it’s time for vacation. Taking a bullet for the Bushies is hard work.

Jesus, it’s really good to be republican. Even when they lose, they win.

It’s the perfect solution, unless, of course, Democrats wake up and finally realize that there’s no winning with republicans. You have to punish the shit out of them. Eking out minor little victories is worthless. You have to go for the throat. Fortunately, we can guarantee they won’t.

Meanwhile, sure, Libby took one, a big one, for the team, but let’s not forget how super sweet wingnut welfare is. Shit, G. Gordon Liddy did real jail time for being the lead Plumber in the Watergate break in and now he’s a prominent talk show host and a go-to right wing fascist. Ollie North’s military career was ruined. Fortunately, he’s got that million dollar fascism career to fall back on.

I’m fairly confident all of this horrible damage to Libby’s reputation will be good for him. He won’t be able to practice law again, I mean, until Bush pardons him on January 22, 2009, but he’ll be a Lobbyist or a consultant for a conservative think* tank faster than you can say “Duhhh!”

*I use “think” in the loosest definition of the term.

Nothing says victory celebration like Pederastic Fatherhood.

Just a little post election fun, courtesy of Pandagon. Here’s just about the ickiest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s like Jesus Camp if it were produced by Jerry lee Lewis.

Hi-OOO!

Meanwhile, a lot has happened and I’m not exactly processing it all efficiently, so forgive me for an ADD run-down of my thoughts, current until I either post anew, or overedit myself, on the events of today.
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The Hangover of Freedom

I must still be drunk from last night, because I really cannot believe how awesome it is to watch republicans cry like little babies:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A Democratic takeover of the Senate is appearing likely after an ongoing canvass of votes in Virginia produced no significant changes in the outcome of the hard-fought race led by Democratic challenger Jim Webb, sources told CNN Wednesday.

Wednesday night, with Webb leading Republican Sen. George Allen by about 7,200 votes and the canvass about half complete, The Associated Press declared Webb the winner.

CNN does not declare a winner when race results are less than 1 percent and the potential loser may request a recount vote. (Full Senate news)

A source close to Allen also told CNN that the senator “has no intention of dragging this out.”

Meanwhile, a Webb aide told CNN that he plans a formal news conference Thursday morning to declare victory.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em people, because we just got two more years of something resembling America. It’s like Christmas in July, only in November.

Of course, we all know this isn’t actually a victory. It’s a strong repudiation of 6 years of horrible policy but the hard work of actually A) reversing course and B) Fixing the damage has only started. Despite my overwhelming sense of relief and the odd senation I’m feeling that I believe is called “hope,” I honestly believe the next 2 years are going to be rough, possibly more so than what we’ve already gone through. Last night on Colbert, the punch line of a very funny segment was “They’ve only been in charge for a few minutes and they’ve already got us stuck in this unwinnable war!”

Funny, but be ready. I have afeeling it’s not too far from the actual Republican plan of attack.

Holy F****** S***!!!!!!*

*That stands for Holy Franken ‘Sens’!

Also, this is posted by Ross.

I’ll say it. Wow. I mean. Wow.

I didn’t actually think we’d pull it off. But we did. We got the house and we’re oh-so-close to having the Senate. We probably won’t get it (and indeed, even if we do, Joltin’ Joe will defect), but right now, I feel something I haven’t felt in over a decade. Elated, satisfied, and not defeated. I won’t call it “victorious,” but I’ll say it feels a lot better than having sympathetic right wing family members telling me my side “fought the good fight.”

I mean it. Whatever work we’ll have to do to keep the Dems in line over the next 2 years, tonight, I feel pretty neat. For once, Americans showed they’re not that happy with authoritarianism, and that my friends is something marvelous.

Make no mistake – the fight is only going to get harder now that we’re actually able to affect events. But for once, we have a reason to be happy. Tonight I’m going to sleep soundly. Tomorrow, I’ll resume my usual disaffected kvetching. Until then, wow. Just. Wow.

And to second Greg, that’s goddamned right. This is a hell of a lot more Mandate-ish than Bush’s pathetic reelection win. Please Democrats, please have the stones to use it.

(Of course, Prop 90 apparently passed. I’ll save my blasphemies on that one until later.)

Piling On

Hi Folks, this is posted by Ross!

You’ll all guess that I’m going to second pretty much everything Greg has said regarding tomorrow’s election – the importance of the election itself is self evident, especially for what it means for our country (vis a vis the right wing assault on our liberty in the name of combatting terror.) I’d also like to second Greg’s wise observation that even should we manage to get that phone call through to Satan, and to sell our souls in the nick of time and win for once, we shouldn’t rest easy and expect too much to happen – not, at least, without our having to harp and complain and lobby and repeat until sometime in 2010. The democrats have a habit of f-ing up the victory and trying to make nice with the enemy before actually defeating them. We’re going to have a lot of work cut out for us, possibly more than if we lose tomorrow.

Rather than waste a long post (and your eyes) doing that, let me save you some time and tell those of you who live in California how to vote. No matter what else happens, I urge all of you to vote no on 85, yes on 87, yes on 89, and for the love of God, vote no on prop 90.

For those of you who don’t live in California, please, obviously, support Democratic candiates, you know, except for the guy in Conneticut who will almost certainly switch parties on us.

I’ll admit I’m largely pessimistic about this. But my fingers are crossed. Let’s hope there’s some sanity left in us yet. And if, against my pessimism, we happen to have the first good election in 14 years, let’s keep the celebrations down to blended scotch only, okay? Save the single malt for 2008.

More on The Senator from Foot-In-Mouth, Mass.

Hi Folks, this is posted by Ross!

Ya know, I’m willing to admit that, while I think I’m somewhat funny, I write down every single idea I have just in case I might need to be “spontaneously” funny at a party. Even the best improv guys have an arsenal of jokes they store up for later use, to give the appearance of a quick wit, because even if your last name is Coward, it pays to be prepared. Hell, Oscar Wilde himself wouldn’t have half his reputation had he not spent spent hours alone, crafting the famous bon mots that built his slice-and-dice-you-like-a-literary-ninja public image. So let me ask a not-so-rhetorical question: Does John Kerry think he’s better than Oscar Wilde? Then isn’t it the least he could do to Practice. his. Flipping. Material. before leaving the house and speaking before television cameras?

We know the “joke” he tried to tell, so I won’t bother to repeat it here. But is it funny? Hell nah, and even worse, it’s not even well told. If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that if you’re going to say something, you should own it. Make it yours. Kerry seems to think the only thing that matters in telling a joke is that you read it verbatim. Have you seen the footage? He drops the joke like he’s trying to tell someone he might have given them herpes and hopes they’ll be nice about dumping him for it. It’s embarassing, an embarassment made all the worse because he didn’t even get the text of the joke right. He is now claiming (only somewhat convincingly,) that he forgot to add the word “us”.

Yes, I do think that’s possible. The word “Us” added to the joke makes it clear that we’re being dragged and stranded to Iraq by an uneducated incompetant named George W. Bush. No Shit Sherlock, but doesn’t this man have some handlers? People who actually understand Senator “Kick me’s” rhetorical and charismatic limitations? People smart enough to know that he should never, under any circumstances, be allowed to improv, ever?

No matter how you read his statements they come off sounding elitist and condescending, and worse (IMHO the single worst part about them, besides the patent unfunniness) they play right into the smears lobbed against him in ’04. Kerry now looks like the pompous, smug, “limosine liberal” (whatever that is) who secretly considers the masses (to whom he purports to dedicate his life) to be beneath him, that Republicans claimed he was when he ran for president. Hell, I almost agree with them. Aside from the absent “us” that should-have-darn-well-been-there-if-he-meant-it-to-be, his words really do convict him. To be sure, it’s not neccesarily a just conviction but when you give your enemies rope with which to hang you, don’t act surprised later when you’re swinging from a tree.

And now he’s gone on record comparing this little hubbub to swift boating. You know how I know he isn’t being swift boated? Because he’s actually speaking out against it in public.

Back in 2004 when he actually was being swift boated, he was too much of a fancy gentleman* to actually stand up for himself and fight back. He didn’t even have the decency and thoughtfulness to disseminate useful information and talking points to his supporters, who I might add, could have used a few useful counter arguments when discussing the swift boat claims with, say, hostile family members. Unlike in wishful-thinking literature and 1970s after school specials, ignoring a bully doesn’t make them go away, it only makes them more merciless and Kerry ended up, by his lack of action, practically begging them to ruin his rep. Today, the people smearing him don’t even have to use bullshit, lies and obfuscations in order to do it, they need only use his actual words, words I might add that, even with the missing pronoun are at best an unfunny comedic cliche.

Smooth move dickweed.

As the rest of us know, it’s impossible to make conservatives like you and no matter what you say, your words will be used against you. So choose your words well and for the love of god, don’t cock up things even college freshmen figure out within weeks. Like delivery, timing and knowing never, unless absolutely neccesary, never to agree with your opponents. (Though getting them to agree with you is a different matter entirely.)

And for the love of god, don’t take risks when you don’t have to. Kerry isn’t running for reelection, so there wasn’t any need for him to polish up his hipster cred with the young’uns with lame attempts at sardonic humor. All he needed to do was come out, support the good guys, then go back to his comfy, safe-for-life senate seat. Instead, Senator Pansy from Foot-in-Mouth, Mass. has managed to do with one horribly delivered joke what 4 years of republican propaganda hasn’t quite managed – He may damn well have neutralized, a week before a crucial election, one of the most enduring and useful rhetorical weapons we’ve had against Bush and the war – that it’s a war without sacrifices of any kind being asked of America’s elites or middle classes, and that the people running it and supporting it similarly never served when they had the chance.

Charitably, I’m going to assume that either he’s secretly an alcoholic, or that generations of East Coast Blue Blood inbreeding has produced a level of privileged incompetance surpassed only by his similarly privileged and incredibly inbred former opponent, Dubya, because it certainly looks like Kerry hasn’t woken-the-flying-fig-up and he seems to genuinely have no idea that he is a famous person. Hell, I’m even going to assume that he us oblivious to the fact that, after letting the swift boats have their way with him, he is a political voodoo doll for democrats everywhere. I am going to assume this because otherwise, he’s a jerk who doesn’t actually give a damn his words are going to twisted and used against him, no matter what they are, so he better get them right.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the dozens of far more horrible things that have come out of Dubya’s mouth, and out of the gobs of right wing commentators and politicians during the last decade and a half. What they’ve said is far worse and far, far more indicative of a dispassionate cruelty and utter lack of education, introspection of intelligence. And you might notice also that they’re almost never forced to apologize for it. Thus, we must assume, the Republicans are faking their outrage. They don’t care what Kerry, or anyone else with a D after their name thinks of the troops. Truth be told, they don’t even care about the troops, but they know a good plan of attack when they see one and that’s why they’re going along with their little Kabuki display of outrage.

Mr Furious writes on the same subject and offers the following comentary:

Kerry is in a tough position. If he sits on his hands and doesn’t help campaign for Dems in the midterms, he’ll be criticized for it. He should be stumping, and to his credit, he is. And it appears, by the number of cancellations today, he had an aggressive schedule planned. Good for him. He is after all the party’s past-Presidential candidate. That said, he needs to be smart, and safe in what he does. Standing alongside another candidate actually IS the time for carefully planned and calculated comments—something he was criticized for in his own campaign. Instead, he tried to get cute, and it blew up on him and everyone else. When you’re a fucking stiff, stick to the script. And keep the script simple.

The best thing Kerry can do now is take some of his now-free time and get out there and attempt to “catapult the propaganda” He should make the rounds on tv and issue his mea culpa, briefly explain exactly what he meant to say, and finish with “I hope that makes perfectly clear that I never meant any insult to our brave troops, and I never would insult them, nor would I make a joke at their expense. End of story. Anybody who continues to insinuate that from this point going forward, is a liar.”

True that, but I’ll go further: Kerry, aside from showing up and doing the right thing when he’s told, must be made, as soon as possible, to STFU about anything unrelated to his own senate seat until the statute of limitations passes on his presidential run. And considering how George McGovern is still (despite his having done nothing to merit such terrible treatment,) an albatross around the neck of anyone to the left of Nixon, methinks Kerry’s mouth will be S-ing TFU for a long, long time.

In the meantime, I’ve said it to anyone who will listen and I’ll say it here: Every Democrat who’s been in politics during the last 15 years ought to be ashamed if they can’t anticipate the right wing attack machine and the faithful media lapdogs who will repeat and spread the attacks, and prepare for it. Until the party breaks its pavlonian response to these attacks, they’re unfit to lead us and we’ll continue to lose.

*and as the king of effete, fancy gentlemen, I ought to know.

Don’t throw the Funadamentalillness out with the bathwater

Posted By Ross

I’m a little late commenting on this, but in honor of my Tardiness, perhaps a better name for this post could have been “Not So fast, guys…”

I didn’t use to be as cynical as I am now. Where once I used to give the benefit of the doubt or at least, where once I tended towards the most mundane explanation of any event, now my BS detector goes off during episodes of Robot Chicken. Naturally, I know that part of this is a normal side effect of living, for a prolonged period of time, under a government that makes me feel like an alien in my own country. To be honest, 6 years of having to avoid political conversations with my family really grates. Hell, I can even feel slightly sympathetic to those loony, black-helicopter, militia-sympathising, Billary-r-teh-communism conservatives who saw threats to the very foundations of American liberty every time Bill Clinton even looked crossways at a camera.

No, I don’t agree with them or consider them reasonable, I merely understand how feeling alien in your own country, and being embittered by constant political defeat, can lead to a kind of political causal loop wherein you become more and more paranoid.

Of course, in the years since Billary left office, you may have noticed the critical difference between conservative conspiracy theorists and liberal ones: Liberals tend to be suspicious even when their guys are in charge. Conservatives tend to continue suspecting liberals even when their guys are doing exactly what they accused us of doing. Where, oh where are those “Get U.S. out of UN” guys now that their boy is turning the bill of rights into a bill of suggestions? But I digress.

There. Caveat dutifully applied. I admit my suspicious cynicism. And now that I’ve got that out the way, I can disregard it because, and I know I’m alone on this one, I’m definitely not taking any of the hype about how the Republicans secretly despise their Funduhmentalist base, at face value, or any value for that matter. I don’t buy it.

For those of you who don’t know, what I’m referring to is Tucker Carlson’s appearance on Chris Matthews last weekend, where he came right out and said (via atrios):

The deep truth is that the elites in the Republican Party have pure contempt for the evangelicals who put their party in power.

Oh no you di-int Tucker, you did not just go there!

Ah but he did. And soon after this “astounding” revelation, the plot thickens like thighs on thanksgiving. Via the Poorman, here’s the latest permutation of the sudden startling willingness of Republicans to shit all over their base:

…MSNBC’s Olbermann had a preview of a new book from the former No. 2 man in Pres. Bush’s Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. David Kuo’s “Tempting Faith” will be out 10/16.

Olbermann: “Kuo cites one example after another of a White House that repeatedly uses Evangelical Christians for their votes while consistently giving them nothing in return… According to Kuo, Karl Rove’s office referred to Evangelical leaders as the ‘nuts.’ … When cufflinks were not enough, the White House played the Jesus card, reminding Christian leaders that ‘The knew the president’s faith’ and begging for patience. …

The Poorman comments, in a post called “Chumps,” thusly:

Blah-blah no respect blah blah abuse of power blah blah unconstitutional blah blah useful idiots … Ooooooooooo! Free cufflinks!

But are they Chumps? Let’s think about it for a moment. If Tucker and Former White House douchebag are telling the truth, then of course this is terribly shocking news (ews ews ews). Why, it would mean that the Religious Right, long acknowledged as the rock-solid, endlessly loyal base of the Republican party and, if Barak Obama is to believed, the single most strategically important voting block (and the real-est of All Americans!) are a bunch of Mark Ass Bitches. Suckaz! Well obviously it has to be true because it makes perfect sense that, with mere weeks to go before an election, both a former Bush White House official, and a well known Republican Talking Points Ventriloquist Dummy like Tucker Carlson, would rush to make sure that this information is as widely distributed as is humanly possible. Because as we all know, the one thing that two well known, ardent Republicans would want to do just before an election is to fuck over the last bastion of true right wing loyalty.

Sure. That makes perfect sense.

I know a lot of bloggers o’ the left are having a blast right now, gloating about the foot-in-mouth hilarity of not one, but two fairly prominent Republicans telling us what we want so desperately in our hearts to believe. Hell, I think the Religionic Crowd are hilariously idiotic too. They believe nonsense and they’re doing everything they can to make sure their nonsense is law. But disregarded by God’s Own Party? Ninja please. Don’t believe it for a second. Here’s the juice: Contrary to what Thomas Frank argues in “What’s the Matter With Kansas,” and contrary to what Tucker says, in fact, the Religious right might just be one of the most consistently rewarded interest groups in Modern American politics.

Don’t believe me?

Ask Chief Justice Roberts about his views on Abortion.

Ask public school officials how Abstinence only education is going?

Hell, ask every single outspoken Atheist or Secular Humanist about their chances of getting elected anywhere east of Los Angeles and South of Chicago.

Oh, while we’re at it, anyone out there read anything about how Americans finally kicked Intelligent Design Charlatans out of American Schools, en masse, and returned learning to the people who know something about science? Or about how the FCC stopped disproportionately responding to the complaints of a tiny minority of Religious Funduhmentalists? Ah, I didn’t think so.

Yes, it must really suck to be right wing and religious right now. Because no one in government does anything for you except, you know*, giving you two Supreme Court justices, Abstinence Only education, support for intelligent design and a ban on Stem Cell research, national prayer day, a compliant FCC and constant (and I argue, sincere) attempts to make gay marriage against the law constitutionally. Wow. How I wish the democrats would disregard my wishes on such a massive, insulting level.

I’m not saying that Fundies are controlling the whole country yet. But if anyone here can name another interest group (aside from the Credit Card companies and the oil industry) who exercises a similar amount of cultural and actual political influence, while at the same time enjoying the benefit of a strange sort of political correctness that demands you cannot actually argue with them, because you would be disrespecting their beliefs (thus rendering any meaningful debate impotent), I’ll buy you a coke.

Which brings me back to my deep and admittedly entrenched cynicism. I admit I’m very embittered, but I find it very odd that, just before a crucial election, news would emerge that suddenly paints Bush in a less than fanatically christian light. It seems suspicious, in the same way the recent sharp drop in gas prices (similar to the drop that occurred about this time in 2004) does. I’m not saying it’s deliberate, but it is rather fortunate that, just when Bush is in danger of losing a significant number of voters who aren’t crazy, he-is-coming-soon freaks, suddenly word comes out that makes it clear he isn’t actually on their side.

So, will this news keep them home? Maybe a few but for the most part, I doubt it. Their eyes are on the prize. They know that as long as Republicans keep winning, they’ll get the only prize that matters – Supreme Court Justices who hate Abortion, Feminism, Secularism, sexual liberty and birth control.

My apologies, because I don’t have much of a conclusion. Just let me ask you all reading this – What’s your take on this news? Do you think it fits? Do you think I’m being stupid and paranoid (I’ll gladly accept that. I’m rather embarrassed at my skepticism). Are the religious right really just a bunch of dupes?

And here’s a couple of more serious questions:

1) I think Barak needs to STFU about how we need to court these people. We’re liberal. They’re not. They will never vote for us. Am I wrong? What should the left do about the religious divide, and political ramifications of that divide?

2) Does it matter if the religious right stays home? Is it short sighted to hope to win an election based upon diminished turnout? Is there anything that can be done to cultivate our own rock solid interest groups? And if so, what are those groups?

*I thought greg would enjoy my using this expression.

Friday Lieberman Blogging

No, no pictures of my pet senator Joe bathing himself and playing with yarn. I just wanted to add something to the incredibly enormous anti-Joe cacophony building in gleeful anticipation of his potential demise.

Atrios, commenting on rumors that Joe is expecting to be offered SecDef in the Bush administration, says:

…consider what it would mean if he expected to do so after the November elections. It would mean that Joe would be deliberately handing his Senate seat over to a Republican – the governor is a Republican, after all, and would appoint a replacement until the special election. If Joe were running for re-election knowing that he was going to dance into the SecDef job soon afterwards that would, in fact, be his greatest betrayal.

(Emphasis mine)

I want to talk about that for a second. Now, Atrios is no slouch and he’s absolutely right that this would be a monumental betrayal. But Joe’s greatest? Well, it depends on whether or not you think The Sword in the Stone was better before or after the 1959 revisions.

As other, more-powerful-in-the-force bloggers have noted, there’s a weird insistence among centrist democrats that Joe, whatever us crazy leftist bloggers may think of him, is actually a nice guy. There’s furthermore a strong tendency among Joe Fans to insist that he’s a good democrat and that he was a loyal Gore ally during their presidential run.

Some of them even imply (or state outright) that if Joe goes free agent after next week’s primary, forces a three way election and ends up helping the Republicans to squeeze in an upset victory, the fault dear Brutus lies not in our stars, but in Ned Lamont. you know, instead of with Joe, who refuses to accept the will of his constituents and support the winner. Because Joe, being nice, is somehow not being disloyal to his party, or if he is, it’s the first time.

What I want to ask these people is: Were you paying attention in 2000? I’ve been pissed off at Joe since the 2,000 election. And not because of his pathetic behavior during the coup, but because he pulled the ultimate sell-out of Gore – he refused to relinquish his senate seat and ran, simultaneously, for both the presidency and the senate.

But that’s not the worst of it. As Atrios says, if Joe were to do what rumors are claiming, it would be a Betrayal. But, to explain my reference to The once And Future Kingt it would also be a remake of an older betrayal, because Joe’s done it before.

Who was governor of Connecticut in 2000? John G. Rowland.

Connecticut isn’t a right wing state now and it certainly wasn’t in 2000. But like now, they had a republican Governor.

If Joe was half the man his supporters claim he is, he would have supported another Democrat to take his seat. With the power of his incumbency and the (arguable) momentum of his position as a VP candidate, he could have worked to help keep the seat in Democratic hands, should Gore have (rightly) won the presidency. Instead, he had it both ways – no matter what happened, Joe was going to make out regardless of Gore’s fate. However, Rowland was a republican. By running for both his senate seat and for VP, had Gore won, Joe would have handed the seat to the Republicans.

Maybe Joe doesn’t want to be SecDef. And maybe he would turn down any offer to serve in the Bush Administration. But I doubt it. Joe was perfectly willing to f-… I mean, unlovingly make love to us before. He’s been, er, unlovingly making love to us for 6 years. And he’ll keep doing it.

RIP, Arthur Lee

Hi everyone, Ross Lincoln here, again.

GFD*, it turns out that while I was busy sitting around doing nothing, Arthur Lee died today.

(Now Playing: The Red Telephone, by Love)

The VH1 version of his life is as follows: Arthur Lee was a genius, there’s no doubt of that. He was also a violent drug addict who ruined his gifts, his health and his sanity over the course of nearly 30 years of various addictions, and then managed near the end of his life to defy the odds and resurrect his reputation, career and life before dying anticlimactically, today, of cancer.

The personal version is as follows: Arthur Lee was for a very short period of time, the lead singer and songwriter of Love, a band of a godlike genius whose music changed my life. Arthur Lee also had some tremendously awful flaws which, thankfully, didn’t end up killing him and unlike too many mad geniuses, he actually lived to experience the adulation and respect his good work deserved.

The band he’s famous for, Love, experienced approximately 2 years of noteworthy creative brilliance – their first success was a cover of Burt Bacharach’s “My Little Red Book” in 1966. 1967 they released two albums, the experimental Da Capo, and their masterpiece Forever Changes. Soon after, Arthur flipped out, fired everyone and went insane for 3 decades.

Love, along with the music of The Left Banke, (about whom I’ll talk about some other time,) changed the way I thought about the late 60s. This didn’t happen immediately, unfortunately. The first Love song I ever heard was The Damned’s brilliant cover of Alone, Again, Or, which you can find on their 2 disc compilation The Light At The End of the Tunnel.

I first heard the Damned’s version of this song in 1989, and being somewhat musically ADD, it wasn’t until 1996 that it actually occurred to me to go looking for the original version, to find out who this band was that the Damned (and Pulp, and other bands I respected) were so hungry about. Thanks to a used import version of one of their CDs I borrowed from a friend even nerdier about music than I am in early 1998, I heard the original version of the song, and I’ve been in love with them ever since.

I had always felt that despite so much good music immediately prior to it, the late 60s period was filled largely with the worst American Music had to offer. (Yes, I really hate Janis Joplin, the Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and any doors song where Jim is allowed to act like the Douche laureate.) I still feel that this period is the most pathetically self-congratulatory era in popular music. It was, let’s be frank, a time when even Jim Morrison peeing into Paul McCartney’s ears would be hailed as a work of transcendent genius.

That’s why to my ears, it’s the music that defies the era’s conventions that is the most riveting, and with the exception of Scott Walker, Love is the period’s most convention defying band. When I say that Forever Changes is a masterpiece, I don’t say so lightly. It is one of the few records released during the era absolutely worthy of the title.

If you haven’t heard Forever Changes before, I suspect it’s because it’s an interesting album that contains virtually no hippie cliches, which means self congratulatory baby boomers ignore it, and oldies stations won’t play it. At the time, it was released largely to the sound of crickets chirping. Fortunately, over the decades to come it would be recognized for the brilliance it is and would end up influencing everyone from Pulp and Belle and Sebastian to pretty much every modern Los Angeles Based band. (See Greg? Your love of B&S really was long overdue!) Forever Changes is amazingly timeless, filled with surreal lyrics, beautiful string arrangements, rhythmic unpredictability and studio experimentation that were decades ahead of its time.

Unfortunately, Arthur Lee also had a cocaine habit decades ahead of its time too, and it pretty much fried his brain. He melted down in 1968, fired the entire band and hired scabs. Love’s next recordings sounded like Grateful Dead San Fransisco Sound bullshit and Love received the punishment the Dead richly deserved but never got: nobody listened to them. Lee spent the 70s and 80s drifting in and out of drug induced stupors and brushes with the law until 1996, when he threatened a neighbor with a gun, was arrested for illegal possession of a firearm and was third-striked into a prison sentence.

The only good thing about that is that he cleaned up, and when he got out of lock down in 2001, he formed a new version of Love and discovered that during the 5 years he was in jail, his reputation and critical evaluation had drastically improved. He formed a new version of Love that was actually good and achieved a small measure of the success that eluded him during his lost decades.

I wish I had more to say. While I never realistically expected Arthur Lee to again create on the level of his youth, I’m sad that he didn’t get more time to enjoy the fruits of his faded brilliance.

If you haven’t listened to Love before, go out and purchase Love Story 1966-1972, which is a pretty comprehensive and also, coincidentally, pretty amazing box set. If anyone reading this is unfamiliar with them and wants to dabble before purchasing, send me an e-mail and I’ll be happy to send you an MP3 for your enjoyment.

UPDATE. Friend of the Talent Show Steveaudio has a great post about Arthur Lee over at his site, and it has the added benefit of being from the perspective of someone who actually experienced Love during their Sunset Strip Days. (Also interesting to note they were contemporaries of the Doors, who I don’t hate as much as I think Jim morrison was a wanker extraordinaire.)

*It’s ancronym. Figure it out.

If You Think It’s Hot Now…

Hi everyone, Ross Lincoln here.

(Currently LIstening to The Way Out, by 7L & Esoteric.)

Having lived in California for the last 6 years, one of the things I miss the most about my former OklaHome is the real sense of changing seasons. Gorgeous fall weather kneeling before Cold winters that eventually give way to the tornadic goodness of spring, followed finally by spring’s surrender to the worst humidity on earth and the arrival of Oklahoma’s terrible, molesting summers. Yes, there are many signifiers of Oklahoma seasonal changes, from Spring’s ostentatious display of Ash Wednesday forehead, er, ashes, or Fall’s annual High School football season pep rally/gay bashings, but nothing says the weather is changing quite like the early summer appearance of THE SIGN:

“If You Think It’s Hot Now…”

Starting in late May, right as the weather becomes so miserably humid that your sweat actually begins to ferment, that hilaaaarious message starts appearing on Church Marquees and on the Bumpers of Pious, Self-Amused Christian drivers state wide. These being, of course, the same drivers who want to let you know that, in the event of their little sci fi novel turning out to be true, their car will be unmanned. Which is actually a nice thing, since most of them drive enormous, gas guzzling, choke-inducing SUVs, (which are of course the only vehicles capable of containing their enormous “I-ain’t-no-goddamned-faggoty-liberal-health-nut” girth), so you’ll know to stay away, just in case.

But I digress. I was talking about The Sign…

“If You Think It’s Hot Now…”

The thing is, I.Y.T.I.H.N is their clever little way of reminding you that they believe you’re going to hell because you don’t go to their Church (which is like, totally about Jesus and nothing like those other churches you probably went to before!) I.Y.T.I.H.N let’s you know that you are a hellbound sinner who is DOOMED, DOOOOOOMED to suffer for all eternity, forEVER, because you accidentally dropped an F-bomb in from of Grandma one summer. You know, because no matter how Hell-ish summer in the south is, it won’t hold a candle to their Loving God’s idea of reasonable 4th Amendment protection.

As a kid, “If you think it’s hot now…” mostly just annoyed me because it’s pretty much the Fundamentalist equivalent of “You workin’ hard or hardly workin’?” You know, the sort of hoary old chestnut that unimaginative douchebags and their sycophant cousins like to say, usually in a tone of voice that suggests they actually believe they thought of it themselves. From May to roughly September, you’ll probably hear or see it about 90 times, double that if you actually are a christian. Hell* it’s the “what a country!” of Fundamentalist Christianity and it gets old fast.

However, when I got older and subsequently got political, the meaning changed for me. You see, as with anything else that is probably good for Americans (like labor rights, universal health care, sexual education, affordable college, ultra-violent video games), the I.Y.T.I.H.N set is opposed to environmentalism with every fiber of their beings. Before roughly 1990, they were opposed to it because, and I’m not kidding, “the bible says the Lord gave us dominion over the animals and the land. It’s a sin to stop us from obeying His will.**” That argument’s easy enough to deal with because all you have to do is engage in the Armchair theologian’s favorite pastime: Semantic Debate. If you can provide a reasonably non-insane definition of the word “dominion,” they usually concede that “maybe” God wants us to take care of “His” Creation.

Then those fucking scientists had to go and use their brains. By the late 80′s, supported by the hole in the Ozone layer, a mountain of evidence and a long deceased America in which people who have devoted their lives to knowing shit about shit were considered experts on said shit, the danger of Global Warming became conventional wisdom and in 1990, Earth Day was suddenly a widely talked about event once again.

Almost every energy, oil and automobile company is opposed to even acknowledging this threat, and they beefed up the opposition propaganda. This happened to coincide with the increasingly brazen religiosity of the republican party and by the mid 90s, Funduhmentalist opposition to Environmentalism had morphed into outright opposition to the idea there even a problem.

On the one hand, the creepy “Jesus Loves America and wants us to Kick Some fucking Ass for Money” Christians claimed that global warming is a socialist hoax designed to ruin America. On the other, the “Rapture Ready” Christians agreed whole heartedly with their capitalist christian allies, but also said that such a hoax is part of the Anti-Christ’s plan to unite the world under one government! Also, the earth has a definite, impending expiration date, so if we’re destroying it, that’s good because it means He Is Coming Soon!

As a result, every time I saw that ridiculous sign, it made me think less of how lame an overused joke it is, and more about what a subtle anti-global warming message it is. Fortunately, even Rapture Ready types have to admit how fucking uncomfortable it is for them, and how much it will suck waiting for His return while fighting endless wars caused by Global Warming. And thank, well, God for that because it looks like the Anti-Global Warming crowd just lost the Raptureites:

NEW YORK, Aug 3 (Reuters) – Conservative Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson said on Thursday the wave of scorching temperatures across the United States has converted him into a believer in global warming.

“We really need to address the burning of fossil fuels,” Robertson said on his “700 Club” broadcast. “It is getting hotter, and the icecaps are melting and there is a buildup of carbon dioxide in the air.”

The 76-year-old Robertson told viewers that was “the most convincing evidence I’ve seen on global warming in a long time.”

Last year, Robertson said natural disasters affecting the globe, including hurricanes Katrina and Rita that wrecked the U.S. Gulf Coast, might be signs that the biblical apocalypse was nearing.

The issue has divided conservative Christians.

In October, Robertson, a former Republican presidential candidate, said the National Association of Evangelicals was teaming up with “far left environmentalists” for saying global warming was caused by humans and needed to be mitigated.

Now, I’m of two minds here.

Mind One: This represents a sincere change of heart, an acceptance of overwhelming evidence that only the most polluted and skanky corporate whores could ever deny. Robertson really has come over to the side of Angels (for once in his pox mongering life).

Mind Two: The republicans are in deep shit this year. They’re hugely unpopular, in danger of losing key seats, and (assuming the Democrats get that emergency injection of Ballsamine***) might see a huge push back on their dangerous agenda. Therefore, they need to find a way to settle the hordes down, win some votes. They can’t go back on everything (see the unsuccessful attempts to pretend they aren’t republicans), but they can jettison a few unimportant things. Like, oh I don’t know, opposition to Global Warming for instance.

Robertson, being a Republican first and a Christian second, is sending out the feelers to see how amenable the Rapture set is to fixing the broken planet. If this little trial balloon floats, expect a sudden announcement on Dubya’s part (or more likely on the part of prominent Senators) that come next congressional session, (conveniently post-election), they’re going to get some shit the fuck done and make America’s corpulent citizenry comfortable in the summertime again! (Which is why you don’t change horses in mid stream!!!)

Now I’m not that cynical, so I’m going to give Papa Gaybash the benefit of the doubt and assume that he’s sincere. But even if he’s not? Who cares, the conventional wisdom just changed. Robertson is the Rupert Murdoch of the End Times demographic and this little missive is going out to millions of bible believeing homes. Like it or not, he may have just made it okay for fundies to say outloud what their bodies, health, and sweat bands have known for years: it’s getting hot enough that they’re going to have to change the sticker to “If you think it’s hot there…”

And that, dear friends, might mean some long delayed progress on the battle to reverse global warming. In the meantime, I think I ought to get a bumper sticker of my own:

“I’ll take my chances with Now.”

UPDATE: Thanks go out to PandAmanda for giving a visual demonstration of I.Y.T.I.H.N.

*Yes, I do think it’s hot now…
** They still say this to explain their hostility to vegetarians.
*** Pronounced “Ballzameen”