Politics

Hillary 4.0 Release Notes

Hillary 2.0

(Release date September 2013)

  • Eliminated “assumption of nomination” feature from 1.0 release.
  • Reconfigured and/or removed several key decision-making algorithms from 1.0 release.
  • Worked to streamline nomination function by incorporating strategic elements from Obama 1.0.
  • Modified several stances to take advantage of changes to current political operating system.
  • Added several features to help improve access to millennials, gays and minorities.

Hillary 3.0

(Release date June 2015)

  • Added populism feature.
  • Retooled dialog as per focus groups.
  • Addressed vulnerabilities to Bernie Sanders virus.
  • Removed a flaw that prevented reporters from asking any questions.
  • Worked to reduce bugs that cause honesty and trustworthiness to fail to appear when summoned.

Hillary 4.0

(Release date September 2015)

  • Attempted to address favorability optics by adding new emotional and humoristic algorithms.
  • Added acknowledgement of email scandal in response to user requests.
  • Included more tear-jerking references to late mother.
  • Removed self-respect firewall to allow for dancing the nae nae with Ellen DeGeneres.

A Primer In Politics For The Incredibly Disenchanted

Alas, I’m afraid my blog is more neglected than one of Charlie Sheen’s children. There are several reasons. Babies, busy, ran out of funny. One of the bigger reasons for this extended neglect has been that I’ve been working on another book. The final edits are on their way to the publisher, Simon & Schuster. The book will look like this:
BS of A Cover
Please sear the image in to your memory so that you recognize it when you stroll into a book store. Assuming book stores still exist when the book comes out.
Speaking of: It will come out in June 2011. Or July 2011. Or August 2011. It’s hard to say. Every time I ask someone I get a different answer. The good money seems to be on July. Let’s just say July.
As you can see, it is called The B.S. of A: A Primer in Politics for the Incredibly Disenchanted. The assumption is you are among the incredibly disenchanted. Like my last book is a humor book. Unlike my last book, which was ostensibly directed at my son, it is ostensibly directed at everyone.
It’s about politics, as the title suggests, and I tend to poke fun at a lot of things. There’s a good chance I poke fun at some thing or politician you like. I hope that doesn’t make you mad. It’s all for the greater good of being as objective and non-partisan as possible, which is what we’re sorely lacking these days.

Angry Independent Segment – “Polytykes as Usual”


This is my most recent “Angry Independent” segment on Glenn Beck – and actually the last “Angry Independent” segment on Glenn Beck for now because Glenn stopped the show last Thursday in preparation for a move to Fox in February. I learned this only when somebody emailed me to ask me if I knew Glenn was moving to Fox. That’s how out of the loop I am.
Anyway, it’s too bad because there was plenty to complain about with this election. I’d hoped to touch upon the lack of attention third parties get, and my disdain for the “Vote No Matter What!” ads that encourage people who don’t know anything about their candidates to rush out and vote. That’s not really democracy, that’s dumbocracy.
This “Politykes” installment is one of my favorites because I detest using kids as props in a political campaign. It’s creepy, as evidenced by the startlingly awful “Sing for Change” video and it’s corny, as we see in the “Kids for McCain” spot. Really, must we drag our little ones into this? I think we should endeavor to keep kids non-partisan for as long as possible.

Lorens Martino for President

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CAMPAIGN BULLETIN
We did it! We raised $487.32 in DAY ONE of our internet drive. Much to the dismay of the other candidates who want to silence Mr. Martino, we’re quickly showing them that we’re in it for the long haul – and that we can and will make a difference in this race. If you have supported us unwaveringly, we owe our success to your unwavering support.
When Mr. Martino announced his candidacy in the back of Willem’s Subs last July some scoffed, some cheered, and some cynically said “so what?” – as if it was a given who will occupy the White House on January 2009.
And, as expected, we were ignored by the mainstream media.
The fact of the matter is this race is wide open and the media knows it. That’s why they’ve done their best to ignore Mr. Martino and his message of change and whatnot. Did you know Lorens Martino finished 17th in the Iowa caucus? Only if you called him and asked how he did, or checked his MySpace page, because he was IGNORED by the press – even after inviting them to his motel for drinks in the Straight Talk Suite.
But we remain undeterred, in part because of Mr. Martino’s determination to take America back from the people who took America and shouldn’t have taken America in the first place. When he takes America back, you can rest assured he’ll fix it and put it somewhere safe.
So thank you for your continuing support. With your help, we’re making our voice heard. The more people hear our message of change and whatnot, the more they realize that Lorens Martino best reflects their views, and not just the views of people who form their own militias.
Don’t forget to download Mr. Martino’s weekly podcast from Blake’s Tavern and catch him next Wednesday on Metro Access channel 54 when he re-delivers the message of change he delivered last week when their microphones were broken.
And remember: November is fast approaching! We need you to get the message out. Feel free to print the above campaign sign and tape it to your lawn.
Fredrick Eloise DeGrasso
Campaign Manager

Answers from the Professor of War in the Modern World

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As previously mentioned, my friend Theo has the awesome job title of Professor of War in the Modern World at a smarty-pants university in London. I forwarded many of your questions to Professor Theo and he wasted no time answering them, though it could be argued that he did waste time by answering them.
All questions should be read with a thick Texan drawl while all answers should be read in a posh Dublin accent.
Answers do not necessarily reflect management opinion, though quite possibly do.
Given that “protecting the American way of life” is the strategic imperative of modern US military decision-making, and that history has shown what people do in their own countries really doesn’t matter much – would it not be more prudent to nuke Florida or Kentucky before they turn on us? In my estimation this course of action would put human evolution in this country back on track, thus ensuring a sustainable continuation of American values. At the very least Canada should be put on the watch list, right?
Nuking Florida would reduce the United States to only one Disney complex, and this would result in strategic parity with the French.
If you were in charge of the military presence in Iraq, what would you do?
Assuming you mean US military forces in Iraq – pull out. I’ve argued on my blog Virtually Theo that the Brits should do this – not because I think we should dump our US allies in it, but because (1) we ought to focus our efforts on Afghanistan and (2) defeat in Iraq is certain. The only questions are: when will the US admit defeat and what will it look like? Point 2 gives sufficient reason for the US to get its ass out of Iraq.
What’s the biggest threat to the biggest threat facing the United States?
Common sense.
If the U.S. had never invaded Iraq (only Afghanistan), and so had available the resources and manpower, would it have been worthwhile/viable and/or made “sense” from a U.S. (or global) national security perspective to have invaded North Korea to stop their nuclear weapons program? I’m not an advocate of invading countries generally (indeed I’m opposed to it except perhaps where there are human rights atrocities involved), but it just seems that North Korea is/was the bigger threat. I’m just curious whether invasion, as opposed to diplomacy or sanctions or other options, would have been a smart/viable/realistic political option in North Korea, or whether it would have been as big, or even bigger, of a disaster as Iraq.
Invading North Korea would be insane, indeed inane. No point. The country is on the verge of collapse. Unlike Iran, it does not have the technological-industrial base to develop a sizeable nuclear arsenal. On the other hand, it already has the capability to take chunks out of Seoul with conventional artillery. Much better to sit, watch and wait to go in with humanitarian aid.
I hear the comparison made between Iraq and Vietnam, and I think that it’s completely simplistic and not accurate. Is there another war you’d suggest this smacks of?
Iraq is Vietnam, only they are spelt differently and located in different parts of the Risk board. Both are wars that the US was bound to lose from the start. And predictably so. GWB = dumber version of LBJ. Pray for a Nixon to appear on the scene. At least he had the smarts to give up and go home, though it did take him five years and many thousands of additional US war dead!
Brian’s friend Glenn Beck constantly preaches that we are in the beginning of World War III and that our appeasement of Iran is our “Chamberlain moment” do you think that’s a bunch of ludicrous nonsense?
Yes. Chamberlain gets a bum rap from amateur historians who still buy that tosh about him failing to stand up to Hilter. Historians now recognise that appeasement was a clever grand strategy for Britain to pursue, in order to hold a rising Germany and Japan at bay while it raced to build up its armed forces. The myth of Munich is most down to Churchill’s self-serving and hugely influential history of WWII.
Couldn’t we just leave the Middle East altogether and let them work it out for themselves? And what is the strategic basis for our continuing support of Israel anyway? P.S. Love the job title.
Middle East = oil. Thought that was pretty obvious.
Israel = American Israel Public Affairs Committee [Wikipedia entry]. Though, perhaps less obvious is the influence of the American Christian Right in supporting Israel’s cause inside the Beltway.
PS: thanks.
What would Caesar do?
Huh?
Who would make a better wartime Commander-in-Chief: Jack Bauer or Daniel Craig’s James Bond?
Bond: anytime, anyplace. Totally the best ending to a Bond movie. Dare I say it, Craig might even be better than Connery.
When people in warring countries pray for victory over their enemies, who does God listen to and how does he decide who is the enemy and who is the good guy?
International law used to be based on the laws of god. From ancient Greece up to early modern times, Western civilization built up centuries of natural law jurisprudence based on god’s justice. Thus one could wage ‘Just War’ against non-believers cause, well, they were clearly the wrong-doers in the eyes of god. However, this centuries old Just War tradition ran into trouble when it was deployed by opposing sides in the intra-faith religious wars of early modern Europe. The result was the gradual development of a secular law of nations that removed god from the normative order and ascribed guilt to the side that struck first. This provided the foundation for modern international law which codifies this basic norm. So, in sum, the law does not recognise god’s role in international relations. He’s been laid off.
If war is so destructive, what is its evolutionary purpose? You could argue that wars weren’t really that destructive until relatively recently in history. Yes, a Spartan invasion was bad news, but they had to keep enough farmers alive to tend the fields. Perhaps modern warfare can kill people on a scale that we don’t exactly comprehend. Regardless, the question remains: why is war such a common, pervasive feature of human societies?
Excellent question. I recommend you read Azar Gat’s new book, War in Human Civilization. It’s over 800 pages long so beforehand you’d better sell your TV, or least put it into deep storage.
With China’s continued military build-up both physically and economically, what is their end game and over what sort of time frame?
Haven’t a clue. Go ask a China specialist. When they start a war, then come back to me.
Now that Iraq is a stable democracy (except for the daily suicide bombings, kidnappings and general lack of order), who replaces them in the axis of evil? I mean, can it still be a “axis” if there are only two countries on the roster?
The whole ‘axis of evil’ thing was revived by Condi Rice as NSA in 2002 to make it look like the US wasn’t picking on Iraq – which, of course, was precisely what the United States was planning to do. See Bob Woodward’s Plan of Attack on this.
What’s more likely to protect a border? A) Building a 2000-mile wall or B) Changing the hearts and minds of malcontents. Just wondering. Neither option seems… peaceful.
China favoured the wall thing. The French also tried it. But the Germans had tanks. The Mongols didn’t.
Taking today’s massive population into consideration, are humans today more directly affected by war than they have ever been in history? My theory: We’ve got it pretty good!
Depends where you are. Africans have it pretty tough: Sierra Leone, Liberia, Somalia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Congo (which is Africa’s ‘world war’). North Americans have it easy enough, except for those, and the families of those, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ditto the British and Canadians. But for most North Americans and Europeans, war is a distant reality. Hence some argue that the liberal democratic peace is actually founded on affluence.
It appears that certain countries (for example: China; India; and Pakistan) are positioning themselves to create a competing, yet multi-polar, military hegemony in their respective regions. If so, will this be a stabilizing or destabilizing force in the region for the foreseeable future? What about the Middle East and the competing
forces presently there?

Serious question. But sorry – it’s almost midnight here and my head hurts.
War, good God y’all, hunh, what is it good for?
Er…cool job titles?

Ask a Professor of War in the Modern World

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If we were monkeys we’d be content to throw poo and eat bananas all day. But we’re humans, and humans are curious. Whether we’re trying to determine what Willis was talking about, or who let the dogs out, we’re incessantly inquisitive. We want answers to our questions.
These days a lot of the questions we’d like answered are along the lines of “Iraq – what to do?”, “Iran – what to do?” or “North Korea – where that is?”
Every question deserves an educated answer as opposed to the uninformed TV soundbite, knee-jerk blog post or gruesomely biased editorials we’re used to. That’s where my friend Theo comes in.
Theo is a genius. He looks smart. He has glasses. He has a high class Irish accent and he teaches at one of the best universities in England – an old brick place filled with cashmere-sock-wearing intellectuals who would rather read an encyclopedia than sleep with a lady.
Theo has the greatest job title of anyone I know. His job title is Professor of War in the Modern World.
He can cheat at Risk yet still convince you it’s simply a proven strategic maneuver.
I can not tell you how much I’d like to have “Professor of War in the Modern World” on my business cards. But he earned it, I didn’t. He went off and got his doctorate in war. I barely earned a degree from film school. He lectures military types and writes about strategy. I do silly things in print and television.
Theo: PhD in Politics, Diploma in International Relations, MA in International History, BA History and Politics.
Me: BS degree in film acquired by sucking up to professors.
Theo: Wrote “Force and Legitimacy In World Politics” – Cambridge University Press.
Me: Wrote “Guide to Celebrity Stalking” – Radar magazine.
Theo: Spending two years examining military transformation in European states as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s New Security Challenges Programme.
Me: Spent three minutes making fun of Glenn Beck’s ties on the Glenn Beck program.
As you can see, Theo is better than I in many ways, though I am taller and have perfect vision.
Theo offered to answer the kind of questions you’d want to ask someone with the job title Professor of War in the Modern World. Questions were forwarded and received a valuable, educated response by someone who does not have a discernible agenda other than being smarter than everyone when it comes to modern warfare.
Theo’s answers here.

The Cleaning Power of John Bolton

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Despite being painted as a gruff, implacable bully by partisans in the Senate, John Bolton was appointed Ambassador to the U.N. by Bush 43. I, for one, am thrilled.
What John Bolton has done for stains in my household:
RED WINE
The United Nations issued no less than eight declarations condemning the Bordeaux stain on my white shag rug. Over three years the stains were in open contempt of the U.N. and did absolutely nothing to comply, often openly mocking the institution.
Within one week John Bolton successfully negotiated an 88% reduction in coloration, thus saving the rug. And although the stain remained slightly visible, he also presided over mediation which led to the relocation of an ottoman so as to obscure the stain’s remnants.
CANDLE WAX
With Russia and China perpetually at odds with U.S. policy, the U.N. Security council dragged its feet for nearly an entire year on how to handle the wax drippings on my sofa. All proposals brought to the table were subject to the machinations of international politics and were threatened with a veto.
John Bolton entered my home with a delegation equipped with the New York Post and an iron. The delegation placed the newspaper on the wax, heated it with the iron, and in doing so transferred the wax to the newspaper – rendering the sofa spotless. Ambassador Bolton then led his delegation out the door, rejecting any offers for juice.
MILDEW
Despite the presence of U.N. peacekeepers in my shower, a steady and significant buildup of mildew took place beginning in 2004. By April of this year the situation was out of control. The peacekeepers, most of whom were from Bangladesh, were ill-equipped and had no mandate to remove mildew. They stood idly by and in short order were forced to pull out of my shower altogether.
Three weeks ago John Bolton entered my shower and presented a document titled A Five Point Program for the Elimination of Mildew in Your Shower. Bypassing all the red tape, he put the shower on the fast-track to recovery and it’s been mildew-free ever since. He then offered to loofah my unreachables.
I hope this gives pause to those who were quick to condemn Ambassador Bolton. Having experienced the man in action first hand I can tell you honestly that Mr. Bolton is surprisingly tough on stains yet remarkably gentle with a sponge. I know Senator Voinovitch (R-OH) has reconsidered his stance, so I can only hope that his Democratic opponents in the Senate will acknowledge this man’s remarkable stain-fighting abilities when he’s up for confirmation in 2007.
We need to know there’s someone out there who’s not afraid to take action, especially after I pass out and get yogurt on the recliner.

Superficial Voter’s Guide – NYC 2005

MAYORAL CANDIDATES

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MICHAEL BLOOMBERG
"Republican"

Looks a little like you’ve been confronted by a mob of angry smokers, but it definitely says you’re the boss.

 

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FERNANDO FERRER
Democrat

History is filled with mustachioed politicians, but they rose to power through revolution, putsch or brutality. That’s not coming through here.

 

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THOMAS V. OGNIBENE
Conservative

He’s got the conservative look down. In New York City. Sure to take the Lower East Side by squall.

 

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SETH BLUM
Education Party

What’cha got in there Seth?

 

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ANTHONY GRONOWICZ
Green

A party with a one-note platform is slightly absurd, but I can picture you angry over a wounded Spruce. Sold.

 

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AUDREY SILK
Libertarian

Yearbook committee called. Wants photo back.

 

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JIMMY McMILLAN
Rent Is Too Damn High Party

Voter intimidation only works if you’re standing in the booth with us.

 

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MARTIN G. KOPPEL
Socialist Workers Party

Can’t be bothered to supply a profile or a photo. Must be busy teaching film.

 

WINNER: BLOOMBERG
RUNNER-UP: GRONOWICZ

Continue reading…

A Public Message From Sean P. Diddy Combs

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I created Citizen Change last year with one goal and one goal only: I wanted folks between 18-30 years of age to get out there and rock the vote.
And when November 2nd came around, and those extra 40 or so folks went to the polls, I realized we had succeeded beyond my wildest expectations. We rocked it, indeed. Politics will never be the same.
I can’t tell you the immense pride I get from having made a difference – from rocking something like the vote. And it made me think.
Diddy, you awesome. Diddy, you going to heaven. Diddy, let’s rock something else.
That’s right. I want to rock something else.
Sure, I could just call it quits now, mumble “Mission accomplished” over the melody to John Mayer’s Daughters, and all would be fine. But Citizen Combs doesn’t want to stop there. Citizen Combs believes in our youth, and the power they have to make a difference. Citizen Combs wants you by his side as we fight together for change.
Our victory last November proved that we’re a force to be reckoned with, that we’re unstoppable. For that reason, we shouldn’t stop.
It occurred to me last night while sitting under my personal umbrella that it would be foolish to waste the momentum we have. Since Citizen Change was created with change in mind, it should continue to focus on change. Change is good. So right now, I’d like to change the way you watch television.
I’m asking you to get out there and buy TiVo, or die.
I know this sounds extreme – that you should die if you don’t go and purchase TiVo – but I feel strongly about it. Real strongly. Plus, it’s a catchy slogan. Farnsworth thought of it. He thinks of things when he’s not holding my personal umbrella.
TiVo or Die.
Seriously, TiVo will change the way you watch television forever. It’s revolutionary. I love TiVo so much, I don’t even turn a TV on anymore unless it has TiVo. It’s not worth it. I have parted ways with good friends because we don’t see eye to eye on TiVo.
Once you get used to TiVo, there’s no going back. Sometimes when I’m in Leo DiCaprio’s basement screening a film and I miss a crucial plot point, I want to rewind and see it again. Then it occurs to me:
Diddy, you awesome. But this is a screening, Diddy. It ain’t got TiVo, Diddy.
Then I’m in a funk downpour that even a personal umbrella can’t protect me from.
So, TiVo or die.
You can pause live television. Never again will you miss 60 Minutes because you were interrupted by a noisy fax, phone call or your personal umbrella handler.
TiVo is like a friend, too. But not an entourage friend. A real friend. TiVo gets to know you and what you like to watch. Based on that, it finds shows it thinks you might want to see. Then it records them for you, like a ho trying to win you over. TiVo’s like:
Diddy, you awesome. And Diddy, I know you like antiques, so I recorded a lot of shows about them. TiVo love you, Diddy. TiVo you friend.
And don’t just take my word for it, even though you should. In the next few weeks you’ll be seeing lipsynctress Ashlee Simpson take to the streets to encourage you to get TiVo. Role model 50 Cent will be representing with a big TiVo medallion he’s going to wear. Janeane Garofalo will be on O’Reilly Factor – and this time she won’t get eaten alive because she’ll be talking TiVo. And everybody will love TiVo. Even conservatives. But Citizen Change is non-partisan, so that doesn’t matter none.
And that’s just the beginning. We have a lot of change on our agenda, because we’re Citizen Change, and change is half of our name. Once we’ve made people see the way of TiVo, we’ll be changing other things. Like the way we look at votive candles – perhaps the most under-appreciated candles in the world.
But that’s a fight for another day.
For now, it’s TiVo. TiVo or die.
Peace.
Sean
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The Political Capital MasterCard

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With the MBNA Political Capital MasterCard, every dollar spent or vote received will earn you one Political Capital Point. You can use your points for valuable travel, hotel and shopping rewards, or simply to further your mandate. Even better, Political Capital Points can be transferred into most Frequent Flyer and 527 Group accounts. With Political Capital Points, how you use them is up to you!

 

Points:
Redeem for:
1,000 $10 Sausage Orgy at Waffle House
1,800 Medley of decorative soaps from Bed Bath & Beyond
2,500 $30 worth of patriotic iTunes from the Apple Store
4,000 Michael Moore’s underwear (XXL) and hat (M)
10,000 MP3 of Moby, Springsteen and P. Diddy weeping
14,500 Roget’s Vocabulary-Clinic DVD Set
30,000 60 Minutes of Dan Rather cursing like a sailor
75,000 "Happy ending" massage from Ann Coulter
100,000 Taunting Blogad on The Daily Kos
200,000 Positive mention in the New York Times
475,000 Khofi Annan streaking naked down 2nd Avenue
800,000 Rights to "Still The One" by Orleans
1,250,000 Vacancy in the Palestinian Authority
2,796,147 The electoral votes of Ohio
4,500,000 A shocked look from John Kerry, many others
10,000,000 Uncontested Hyperconservative Supreme Court appointment
15,000,000 Roe v. Wade
18,500,000 Complimentary Drilling, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
20,000,000 Flawless regime change – Middle East or Old Europe
25,000,000 Enthusiastic applause during any United Nations address
35,500,000 Giant "I’m The Boss Of You" Planetary Billboard
40,000,000 Any enriched uranium Kim Jong Il has lying around
42,000,000 Coordinates of bin Laden’s dialysis clinic
59,000,000 Christ Returns, constituency rises to chorus of angels

The Baha Men Commission Report

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Preface (xvi):
“We learned that the institutions charged with protecting our border, civil aviation, and national security did not understand how grave this threat could be, and did not adjust their policies, plans and practices to deter the dogs from getting out.”
Page 26:
Military Notification And Response
NORAD: We have a report the dogs got out. Can you confirm?
ASPCA: Repeat, please.
NORAD: CENTCOM is telling us the dogs got out. Can you confirm?
ASPCA: Dogs?
NORAD: Yes.
ASPCA: Let me check. [8 second silence] Yes, they got out.
NORAD: Who let the dogs out?
ASPCA: Who?
NORAD: Who.
Page 81:
“The INS initiated but failed to bring to completion two efforts that would have provided inspectors with information relative to the objective of dogs not getting out – a proposed system to track canine movements, and an incentive system centered around small biscuits.”
Page 101:
“Say, a doggie is nuttin’ if he don’t have a bone. All doggie hold ya bone, all doggie hold it.”
Page 191:
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Page 265:
“Deep institutional failings in our government were exploited. The question is whether extra vigilance might have turned up an opportunity to keep the dogs in.”
Page 327:
“Most disturbing to this committee is the fact that since their release in 2000, neither the Baha Men nor the United States government have answers. This committee finds it unacceptable that to this date when asked who let the dogs out all we can answer is: Who?

Election 2004: The Foodservice Analogy

You live in a town with two restaurants. They’re across the street from each other. They’ve been there forever. They have similar cuisine. Neither one is particularly thrilling, but it’s all the town has to offer aside from a place way on the outskirts of town that most folks don’t want to drive to.
You’ve been eating at one place for a few years. They have really good meatloaf, but a lot of crap side dishes.
The place across the street has a bad reputation for meatloaf. They’re known for their side dishes. Their prices are a little cheaper too, so they attract college kids with less sophisticated palates.
That place claims to be under new management and suggests they have better meatloaf than what you’re eating. But, you’ve heard the new chef is kind of a jerk. He claims to have studied with master chefs in France, though no one can vouch for him and he won’t show you his degree.
Meanwhile, you’re getting a little sick of the meatloaf you’ve been eating because every once in a while there’s some gristle. The atmosphere gets on your nerves because they won’t change the radio. And the chef keeps insisting that every dish come with a side of Brussels sprouts.
Some folks want to try the meatloaf across the street, even though they don’t trust the chef. Some folks are happy with the meatloaf here – to the point of denying there’s any gristle in it.
A fat guy in a baseball cap makes a documentary suggesting there’s mousecrap in the meatloaf, while a bunch of patrons accuse the other restaurant of pooping in their side dishes.
As a result, the majority of folks filter out of both restaurants and stand in the middle of the street debating whether or not to check out the restaurant on the outskirts of town. Eventually they decide it’s too much of a hassle to get to. Citing the lesser of two evils, they head back in to the restaurant that they think has less fecal matter on the flatware.

Tuesday Night At The Republican National Convention

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I came into possession of credentials the way most people who don’t deserve them do – I asked someone of more import if they could get me some. Despite suggesting such a thing was next to impossible, that person managed to come through and on short notice I was handed my personal key to Fort Madison.
Worrisome thoughts plagued me during my approach to the Garden. The New York Times and Drudge Report both had me convinced the city was teeming with violent anarchists and angry protestors eager to attack me in the name of world peace. I had seen the sweltering masses who swarmed by my apartment Sunday, so I was well aware that there were more than a few people unhappy about the convention. My possession of credentials would no doubt make me a soft target. Very soft, actually. I’d just polished off five glasses of wine at a cocktail party.
Security really started to kick in around the Fashion Institute of Technology on Seventh Avenue, no doubt in part because some of the nation’s most valuable fashion secrets are kept there. It’s like Los Alamos, but for blouses. And instead of Wen Ho Lee it’s a bunch of Korean girls copying each other’s skirt patterns.
Speaking of dress, I was nicely attired as I approached one of the most militarized checkpoints this side of the 38th Parallel. Despite having my credentials hidden safely in my pocket I expected at the very least to be recognized as a convention patron and egged or yelled at as a result. At the worst I thought I might be spat at, Molotoved or beaten by 18 year old “socialists” whose utopian worldview is shaped in part by the fact their parents pay for college. Che Guevara they aren’t.
I didn’t see a single ne’er-do-well. No crude sloganed t-shirts. No placards. Nothing. The police presence was overwhelming, making the area a lousy place to commit felonies. My credentials were golden and I was waved by every checkpoint without hassle. Upon arrival at the Garden I was directed to a security zone where I emptied my pockets and was wanded, all quite nicely. Security was painless and quick, and as such was the exact opposite of airport security. Most likely because airport security has the monopoly on incompetent boobs.
I was told my credentials would get me “pretty much anywhere” which included the convention floor where the various delegates from the United States and her territories made camp. I opted not to try to enter the various guest suites I passed and instead wandered down corridors holding my creds up to anyone who looked like they might need or want to see it. Eventually I found myself on the convention floor where I meandered about until I found a space near the teleprompter, right behind the delegation from American Samoa.
I took in the scene as I waited for someone to come out and speak, which I correctly assumed happened at these events. It was then I noticed that the Al Jazeera skybox was right next to Fox News.
Bush haters will be disappointed to learn that the RNC convention floor was not a seething den of fork-tongued demons roasting children on spits and sodomizing grandmothers. Republicans, it seems, are just like everyone else. There were fat ones and pretty ones, tall ones, short ones and some geeky teens in suits. There was no shortage of black people, and the white ones did not point at them in horror and scream. There were Asians and handicapped people and gay guys. It was like any sporting event at the Garden except most everyone there, media excluded, would like Bush to win in November. There was no shortage of buttons, stickers or banners. I scanned the catwalk above for Secret Service guys with sniper rifles but only saw balloons.
It wasn’t long before Secretary of Education Rod Paige took the stage. I don’t know much about the man aside from the fact that he called the National Education Association a “terrorist organization” not too long ago. I can’t say I’d disagree, though I’d have used different words, like “stifling, corrupt union” or “stinkers.”
I’ll be damned if the U.S. Secretary of Education didn’t incorrectly say “there was” instead of “there were” at one point. Moments like that make me wish a temporal TiVo existed so I could rewind and make sure I really heard what I just heard. Regardless, I cherished the irony that I believed I had just witnessed.
The gist of Paige’s speech was the great success of the No Child Left Behind Act. That success is arguable in part because the teacher’s unions he detests have worked hard at making it fail. Nevertheless, he seems genuinely convinced it’s all going swell and he mentioned some kid in Alabama who’d agree. I found the whole topic a little boring to be honest, so I opted to stroll the hallways until the next speaker came along. This was great news to the girl whose view I had been blocking.
It’s always fun to watch people with credentials. People with credentials want to make sure you know they have them, and they do everything they can to shake them in your face without seeming too obvious. In no time, I had passed one man telling some girls how great his credentials were, and another girl loudly announcing that she had all access.
I decided I was hungry and that I would only be sated by a stadium hot dog. For only $7.50 I gained possession of one and a bottle of warm water, taking in Paige’s speech on a TV monitor as I waited. At one point the camera cut to different members of the crowd in an order that reassured me that the director had completed his multicultural sensitivity training. Cut to black girl. Cut to Asian guy. Cut to Asian girl. Cut to black girl. Cut to white veterans. All that was missing was a Native American and a gay amputee.
As Paige wrapped up, I noticed a hand-scrawled banner supporting George Bush and Vice President “Cheny” – presumably written by a Child Left Behind.
I ate my overpriced supper next to a trash can, dutifully trying to memorize details of the people who passed by. Sadly, my memory sucks, but I remember thinking that Republican girls are cuter than Democratic girls, in part because they used the $300 tax refund to buy sexy business suits. And I think there’s more shaving.

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A roaring crowd greeted Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as he took the stage. I returned to the convention floor, weaving through crowds of people and irate cameramen who were hauling cumbersome equipment through the sea of people. The enthusiastic crowd was well-equipped with “Arnold!” banners and waved them whenever the Governator finished a sentence. Like visual periods. He’s a charismatic guy, no doubt, and his speech was energizing and heartfelt. Though his accent is silly, you couldn’t help but like the tone and feel of the speech which reminded us all that he was an immigrant, World War II was bad, America is the land of opportunity, and so on. Regrettably he used the expression “girlie men” and mentioned we could “terminate” terrorism – very corny dialogue that made me wince a little and clap less. There were no Total Recall references that I am aware of.
Unbeknownst to me, I had located myself behind the Alaska and Kansas delegate section which happened to be in front of George Bush the Elder and his wife Barbara. The big tip-off was when the Bush Girls took the stage and pointed over my head to their Grandma and Grandpa. I turned around and lo and behold – there was the guy who in 1988 annoyed me to no end by constantly repeating the catchphrase “card carrying liberal.” The Secret Service men guarding him were obvious in that they were the only people looking everywhere but the stage.

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The Bush Girls delivered an awkward scripted number that reminded me of crap banter from infomercials; unemotional, robotic, read rather than said. The underlying message was run-off-the-stage-and-beat-you-over-the-head-with-a-mallet obvious. The girls had been charged with letting young college kids know that their parents were “with it” and not stereotypical Republican fuddy-duddies. The most painful part of their speech was the suggestion that their parents were familiar with the band Outkast and know the difference between “Mono and Bono.” They even went so far as to make an unfortunate “shake it like a Polaroid” reference. Such poop was obviously written by elder scriptsmen who presumably searched the internet for pop references and used the first thing that Google shat out. Far be it for me to second-guess a master wordsmith, but I wouldn’t in a million years write a Republican speech and incorporate a reference to a bleeding heart Irish dwarf who wanders the desert in blue sunglasses weeping about wheat shortages.
As the girls wrapped up their shtick a man distributed “W Stands For Women” posters to various delegates. Naturally one would not want pockets of folks coming across as hating the ladies, so he made sure to spread the signage evenly throughout the crowd.
George W himself appeared via live video feed from what appeared to be a softball game in Texas. His visage on the Mega Screen elicited all the hootin’ and hollerin’ you’d expect at a convention of people who really like you. After the applause died down he began the introduction of his wife. He wrapped up by suggesting that the greatest gift of all for him in November would be if she gets to be First Lady for another four years. I waited for the wink, but it never came.
Laura Bush comes across as a sweet lady. She’s soft-spoken and would probably not tell anyone to “shove it.” Humble comes to mind. In fact, Teresa Heinz Kerry might be her evil, richer twin.
I believe Laura Bush is a genuinely nice person who’d pick you up if you needed a ride, bake you a pie to cheer you up or watch your cat if you left town – but the Secret Service won’t let her. She’s the girl you like but wouldn’t have sex with because she’s so nice she probably wouldn’t know what to do with a penis. Obviously Jenna and Barbara are proof that she does know what to do with a penis, I’m just saying I wouldn’t buy the video.
As Laura spoke, the crowd waved the “W Stands For Women” signs and I jockeyed for space next to a security guard who wasn’t very good at his job. His backbone had apparently been outsourced, and he spent his time timidly stopping people, asking for credentials and apologizing profusely for doing so. To his credit however, he gave me a healthy get-outa-the-way shove when Jenna Bush walked by. For what it’s worth, she’s quite cute and has the sexy quality that her mother lacks. In other words, I would buy the video.
The First Lady’s speech contained more World War II references, and it didn’t take much of a brain to realize that the writer really wanted to drive home the idea that GWB is the FDR of his time – a reluctant warrior, victim of circumstance, doing what had to be done as a last resort. I buy that at least through Afghanistan.
The end of the speech was effectively the end of the show, but try and tell that to the Harlem Youth Choir. They took the stage and started to sing as folks began to filter out, just like they do during the eighth inning of a blowout. But, like a bad commercial, that was not all. There was even another act to follow.
After the choir stopped their choiring, a Hungarian Holocaust survivor appeared and made even more World War II references, shouting over the crowd. She was ignored by half the audience – the part that was actively leaving. At one point she requested a moment of silence for the victims of the day’s bus bombings in Israel. Those who were actually listening stopped and bowed their heads, while the rest openly wondered why people were looking down and blocking the exits. She had what sounded like a Barbara Walters speech impediment on top of a Hungarian accent, with a tinge of Sally Struthers’s hysteric tone. This made her funny to listen to, well mitigated by the fact that she was talking about bus bombings and the Holocaust.
The end of the convention for that night was officially announced. On my way out I had a grand business idea and began collecting convention detritus. I had come to the convention empty-handed but I was leaving with crap I could sell on eBay: program guides, delegate manuals and hopefully the “Cheny” banner. I was making something out of nothing, a very Republican thing to do. No doubt this was the American Dream that Schwarzenegger was talking about.
Outside Fort Madison there seemed to be even more security, all of whom were delightfully pleasant it should be noted. I’d never been thanked and good-nighted by so many law enforcement officials in my life and most likely won’t be ever again. In a way it’s kind of disconcerting. They’re telling me to have a good night, yet they have the weaponry and ability to decide whether or not I actually do.
Outside the protection zone I tucked my credentials in my pocket and started the long walk home. It wasn’t long before I passed a man in a “Fuck Bush” t-shirt. Part of me wanted to ask him which one and tell him I’d spent the evening with most of the family. But part of me thought better of it. At any rate, it was late and I had a new eBay business venture to launch.

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