Juan Cole: presumably a jackass, but definitely in favor of censorship

so what do you say we just turn this website over to janklow just bitching about totally random things that no one cares about? wait, we weren’t there already?!

now, one of the things i do on the internet is read a range of random news/current events/whatever sites and blogs for reasons i can’t really explain, since it’s not like this is required for my field of study or employment and certainly doesn’t seem to add to my quality of life; still, it happens regardless. anyway, it’s usually the case that i get turned on to said site through another and continue to read it because i find its material interesting. in this case, we’re talking about Juan Cole’s blog Informed Comment, a blog on the topic of, to quote the site, “an independent and informed perspective on Middle Eastern and American politics.”

Juan Cole
Juan Cole: noted expert on firearm technology

and i would agree with that; Cole seems to know the topic(s) in question and while i cannot recall the specific reason why i started reading his blog, i was certainly linked there by another author for some reason and enjoyed his work on the topics he purports his blog to be about. i certainly have no credentials or other standing to otherwise malign his work, but then i wouldn’t anyway. except…

so the thing is, a guy who blogs about one topic (even if it’s a HUGE topic that you can easily go down the rabbit hole on) is invariably going to discuss off-topic things of interest, and Cole does that. and one of the failings Juan Cole seems to seriously possess is to presume he is the same degree of expert on those things as he is on his topic of, well, ACTUAL knowledge. it’s a little like listening to Tom Cruise expound on psychiatry: i have no doubt that, whatever his level of natural skill, Tom Cruise could thoughtfully explain acting and his methods… but that doesn’t mean he knows as much about medical matters. now, MOST of us understand this and rein ourselves in when we’re about to lecture people on topics we lack knowledge of. but in Cole’s case…

ANYWAY, one of Cole’s pet peeves is OMG AMERICAN GUN LAWS and, as you can imagine, i have some strong opinions on this as well. now, i do not consider myself an expert, but there are many aspects of firearm ownership that i AM familiar with. but what brings us to our particular topic is this: some months ago, on one particular occasion, Cole began to opine that what the US needs is gun laws on par with Canada and other nations that do not allow the ownership of semi-automatic firearms, a statement that is, frankly, entirely false, and which someone can discover to be false with minimal effort. and frankly, this is a disappointing position from anyone with any level of education, because it seems to me that if i were to argue “let’s install this country’s series of laws,” i would first, you know, LEARN WHAT THEY ARE.

on this occasion, i pointed out, in what i assure you was the politest fashion possible, despite whatever you know about me, that this position was not correct, on the grounds that, well, you can own semi-automatic firearms in Canada. he disagreed and supported his argument on the grounds that i was wrong because… well, because he disagreed. i reiterated my point (essentially, that while Canada has more strict laws in many respects, a total ban on semi-automatics is not one of them), and he then began to delete my posts.

now, i know this is really just being Mad On The Internet on my behalf, but this is the kind of stuff that really grinds my gears. like a professor that rails against 4th Amendment violations while promoting 2nd Amendment violations or something! but more seriously, this is the result of several things:

#01. the continuing misconception by anti-gun people that “semi-automatics” means “FUCKING MILITARY-ISSUE MACHINE GUNS”;
#02. the willful efforts by these people to not bother to learn what they’re actually talking about;
#03. people’s misconception that knowing a LOT about one topic means you know a goddamn thing about another topic.

Glock 17

summation: Juan Cole sucks and i have no doubt he’d have harsh words for someone who actively censored his words. this is why i don’t read his site, which was quite informative and enjoyable when on topic, anymore. internet rant over.

2013: apparently it’s going to be lectures all the way down

so after the tragic events at the Washington Navy Yard, we once again have the president on the news lecturing us about how “we’re going to have to change.” to be honest, aside from some events that have been bright spots here and there, 2013 has been a pretty disheartening year for myself, what with gun rights being SO near and dear to me, simply because it’s been nothing but an exhausting series of lectures about what an awful person i am. i don’t care how confident you are in your self-image, that’s just exhausting.

Aaron Alexis
fuck you, Alexis, fuck you. now i have to get lectured AGAIN because i own a couple of guns

now, i remember back in 2008 when Obama was running for office: many pro-gun people i know were going to vote for him because they didn’t like McCain, they REALLY didn’t like Palin (i’m with them on that one) and frankly, they thought that Obama was going to be so centrist and pragmatic that he wouldn’t act on guns. you could certainly make that case after his first term, when he really didn’t say ANYTHING on the matter, even thought that term included the shooting at Aurora. i have never trusted the guy on the topic since he always had an anti-gun pedigree and frankly, as long as the Democrats keep the call for an assault weapon ban (and more) in their national platform, i will never trust ANYONE they run on this issue. but i saw the case.

…until Newtown and this term, when you could argue he’s feeling safe in his second term and ready to act on guns. this failed (unless you count it buoying movements in states like mine that managed to fuck over gun owners on a state level when they couldn’t do it on a federal one), but it still resulted in a combination of lectures and tantrums, the latter coming most spectacularly when the Senate rejected Obama’s gun control desires. i still maintain there’s something funny about a president who says that a poll claiming 90% support for universal background checks (a conveniently vague phrasing) means senators should vote for whatever Obama wants, while a poll claiming 90% did not approve of his Syria schemes means senators should ignore the poll and vote for whatever Obama wants, but it’s also “funny” in a way where it doesn’t make me laugh.

anyway, the lectures boil down to the same basic concept: if you don’t support whatever Obama wants on gun control –however vague or ineffective that might be– you’re a bad person. i’m not actually sure if he’s more trying to browbeat moderates who didn’t bend his way earlier into FINALLY doing so or trying to shame people who flat-out disagree with him on this issue into feeling bad, and maybe it’s even a little of both. but what i DO know is that he wants to make the point that if you if don’t agree with him on gun control, that:

#01. you’re the problem;
#02. you don’t have compassion for victims, consideration for society, etc;
#03. you should feel bad.

because really, when the shooting at Newtown happened, we talked about mental health… but we’ve really said nothing more about that, although we DID get lectures about how awful gun owners are. or when we see a big shooting in Chicago, we don’t talk about poverty or the drug war… but we DO get lectures about how awful gun owners are. sure, there’s some lip service about “a common-sense way to preserve our traditions including our basic Second Amendment freedoms and the rights of law-abiding gun owners” mashed into every lecture, but i always ask myself the same question: what do these guns actually DO that promotes preserving those freedoms and rights? because all i hear is stuff about banning guns, confiscating guns (if we could, anyway), and so on.

perhaps what it boils down to is this: i’ve owned guns for many years and never used them to commit a crime. but i DO get a lecture every time someone else does something awful with a gun, no matter what gun it is, no matter why they did it, no matter what other factors may have played a role. i get to listen to people who are paid by the Brady Campaign act as simple outspoken victims while anyone remotely affiliated with the pro-gun side is deemed corrupted by the NRA. or listen to NRA money being seen as buying elections, despite the fact that it’s a national organization with millions of donating members, while a billionaire like Bloomberg dropping even MORE money is seen as, well, nothing of consequence.

here’s an example: we always talk about having a “conversation” on these issues. so when Maryland pushed for a huge gun ban, pro-gun guys basically tried to take people who they feared would vote for the ban to firing ranges and explain what various guns really WERE, what the features did, etc, etc. and when this looked like it would result in the bill being watered down –by which i simply mean the ban would have been less severe– our anti-gun governor threw a tantrum and demanded a blanket ban on AR-15s because he wanted it. they’re not used in crime in MD, but he wanted it.

often in the last year or so, i’ll say things like, “one day, i’d like to live in a country where i feel the president gives a shit about me.” i’m NOT claiming that outlook started with Obama’s election, because it didn’t. but he’s definitely proven that’s the way i’ll feel for all eight years of his time in office.

fundamentally i know this is me being salty about being lectured and i understand that other people don’t feel the same. some probably ENJOY getting lectured by the president when he’s unhappy. i just want anti-gun people to remember this when they’re wondering why we’re so unwilling to compromise.

side note: while commenting on the fact that Colin Goddard presents himself as an “outspoken survivor” of the shooting at Virgina Tech when he should REALLY be identified as a paid employee of the Brady Campaign, i learned that remark is apparently over the line for the Washington Post comment section. live and learn, i suppose. but we should be clear that that is, in fact, what he is.

a quick one while our motivation is away

let me be honest, i would be lying if i said either of the following things: #1: that i wasn’t sincerely trying to keep our formerly-standing practice of “one update a week,” which to be frank, is about the maximum output i can manage under my solo power; and #2: that, let’s be honest, it’s just not happening, which i find VERY aggravating as we’re winding down 2013 into “whatever is going to happen around these parts in 2014.”

actually, it’s a weird dilemma, because it leaves me in a weird limbo of feeling like i am not getting enough done in terms of updating (which, to be fair, is ALWAYS true) and yet not enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of “eh, fuck it, i’m taking a break from feeling any sort of responsibility for this nonsense” because i really DO feel like i owe some output here and can’t really enjoy not getting it out. so… let’s focus on some other unpleasant thing. why not?

Members of a police SWAT team conduct a door-to-door search for 19-year-old Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev on April 19, 2013
“unassuming, quiet professionals operating without the need for recognition”

SWAT cop says American neighborhoods are ‘battlefields,’ claims cops face same dangers as soldiers in Afghanistan

i’m always really torn about Radley Balko’s current blog, because i love his work (if nothing else, i cannot think of any other non-gun owners who are bothering to really stick up for gun rights), but his current work forces me to link to the Huffington Post (ugh). that’s fine, though, let’s keep it moving. so Balko’s book Rise of the Warrior Cop came out recently and i have, unsurprisingly, enjoyed it. it’s filled with many sad, sad turns in the militarizing of policy, as you can PROBABLY guess from the title and all. anyway, recently it’s been that phase where the book’s out there and feedback on it, as well as Balko’s related work, is getting lofted around. which brings us to this article by Sgt. Glenn French.

now Balko properly rips this and so i don’t want to be redundant, but here are some additional thoughts and invectives and the rest regarding that essay:

“SWAT Operator with Sgt. Glenn French”

so i have to assume that “SWAT Operator” is a PoliceOne.com thing and not something French is using to identify himself. still, as Balko points out with other examples, notice how it’s SWAT [b]OPERATOR[/b] and not something like “SWAT Officer.” i know it’s pretty common to mock the guys fully embracing the ‘tacticool’ by noting how much they consider themselves to be high-speed, low-drag operators, but it works here: even a SWAT team member is supposed to be a police officer, not a special forces operator. i know they’re highly trained, i know they’re not patrol cops, i know many of them are legitimate bad-asses in every sense of the word. but if you want to be a Green Beret, you have to go be a Green Beret. SWAT is supposed to be something else.

French then goes on to actively declare police officers should act like soldiers (“we trainers have spent the past decade trying to ingrain in our students the concept that the American police officer works a battlefield every day he patrols his sector”) and throw out dubious statistics (“The fact is, more American police officers have died fighting crime in the United States over the past 12 years than American soldiers were killed in action at war in Afghanistan. According to ODMP.org, 1,831 cops have been killed in the line of duty since 2001. According to iCasualties.org, the number of our military personnel killed in action in Afghanistan is 1,789”) and to some extent, okay, you have to expect all this, even if you don’t appreciate the deceit. Balko on the numbers:

“Even accepting French’s preposterous premise here, his numbers are wrong. The U.S. has lost 2,264 troops in Afghanistan, about 22 percent more than French claims. Moreover, more than half police officer deaths since 2001 were due to accidents (mostly car accidents), not felonious homicide. Additionally, depending on how you define the term, there are between 600,000 and 800,000 law enforcement officers working in the United States. We have about 65,000 troops in Afghanistan. So comparing overall fatalities is absurd. The rates of cops killed versus soldiers killed aren’t even close. And that’s not factoring in the soldiers who’ve come home without limbs. The dangers faced by cops and soldiers in Afghanistan aren’t remotely comparable.”

now French does, to his slight credit, acknowledge that SWAT teams are often used when they should not be and should strive for professionalism. but he undercuts all his points: he notes SWAT teams are deployed when “unnecessary and, more importantly, unjustified”… but he says that right after claiming they face the EXACT same threats as soldiers, so who can say when they’re truly “unjustified?” he states SWAT teams should be composed of “unassuming, quiet professionals operating without the need for recognition”… but doesn’t ever fault ANY aspect of the police tactics that deploy military-style helicopters or armored vehicles and swarms of men in full battlefield kit on the streets? take the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing: was that level of gear truly necessary for the threat faced? and does it represent “unassuming, quiet professionals?”

like Balko, i don’t say any of the above to bash cops, most of whom work unpleasant hours at thankless jobs and who DO face real danger in their work. SWAT teams ARE necessary in many situations. but while that’s all well and good, i don’t think we need this breathless declaration that the average beat cop is stuck in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban when he’s on duty.

starts out kind of angry, ends up kind of tired and depressed: welcome to HOH in 2013

one of the things that drives me crazy is that i have some half-assed rant to get out regarding something topically, but by the time i get around to finishing it off, some time has passed (what else is new) and it seems almost pointless to get into the stuff at that point. but with the ongoing quest to get everything caught up by the time 2014 hits… well, fuck it, let’s live in the recent past a little. some of the points may even still be valid. which brings us to Anthony Weiner and Bob Filner.

Anthony Weiner
i am truly unsure as to what this expression is supposed to be conveying. no fucking clue at all

brief aside: i know that’s a particularly unflattering picture, but damn, who is voting for THAT to hold office?

anyway, so i think we all know the brief background here: Weiner was bounced from office for a sexting scandal, decided that the world NEEDED his services and tried to get back into the game by running for mayor of New York, and then saw that campaign derailed (and that’s putting it nicely) by ANOTHER sexting scandal that came out of nowhere. we’re just going to skip over the morality/issues of the whole sexting mess, because there was/is really just three points i wanted to touch on here.

01. maybe i just accidentally watched Primary Colors too recently or something, but isn’t the whole thing we learned during the 1990s that if you’re a politician who MIGHT have a colorful personal history that could torpedo your political ambitions, then you should have someone basically investigate you to see if you can even make this whole thing work? because with the speed and force this scandal came out, you’d HAVE to think someone on the team could have deduced and pointed out that it might kill the whole mess before it got started.

02. problem #01 with society this points out: voters who will overlook nonsense in order to allow a politician into office because they like them. now, i am not trying to pick on Democrats or New Yorkers or any other demographic that missed having Weiner in politics, really. EVERY possible group out there has some politician that they’re giving a bullshit pass to. but you know, if you DIDN’T like Weiner, you’d find the sexting unsavory. you’d find the deceitfulness (if you don’t want to call it lying) in and of itself to be a reason to say “you know, this guy shouldn’t hold elected office.” i don’t know, maybe i find that i personally spend a fair amount of time demanding the people that represent my party affiliation, my issues, my side, or whatever else NOT be as reprehensible as possible (set to choruses of people responding “why do you have to attack the guys on our side”), so i somehow expect people in opposition to me to do the same so we can create, i don’t know, a better government or society or some shit like that. i am not actually sure why i think this.

03. problem #02 with society this points out: assholes who think their presence on the politic scene is SO VALUABLE that this kind of stuff doesn’t matter. and for that matter, i guess there’s a problem #03 that goes hand-in-hand with that: assholes who don’t understand that this calls their judgment into question regardless of the legality/morality of their conduct. look, Weiner might have some issues once which his stands are important to many voters. great… but you can’t work for them OUTSIDE of elected office? you can’t back and assist a non-tainted politician who agrees with you on these issues? because of course he could, but instead, reflects that we need not someone working on these issues, but rather, someone who needs HIM. frankly, an asshole with this state of mine replacing Michael Bloomberg is entirely appropriate, because his “two terms are only for mayors who AREN’T me” policy puts him in this same category, with the caveat that Bloomberg at least keeps his personal life under control.

Bob Filner
Filner is apparently groping this woman in this picture; judging by that expression, that seems accurate

and Bob Filner is no better, as he proceeded to sexually harass about 18 women or so (irony that this is being done by a Democrat, who has presumably argued that he and his party are the side that cares about women, is noted), bailed on his therapy earlier than he probably should have, and then passed the blame to the city not ever making him take harassment training for the purposes of making sure taxpayers would have to eat the cost of any civil suits resulting from his behavior before FINALLY resigning. now again, could someone not have worked for the same things Filner did? could an orderly and respectful resignation ALSO helped mitigate possible civil suits while showing he wasn’t a complete asshole who, let’s be frank, probably DID do what he was accused of? well, yeah… but then HE wouldn’t have been in office. and how would we get by without Filner?

you know, i do find all this annoying, infuriating, disgusting, and so on. part of what originally fueled this update was that you’ve got two politicians who rose quite high and who are supposedly progressive gents (because, to be honest, don’t we expect this kind of behavior to be coming out of some conservative senator’s office or something?) acting this way in 2013, and how the FUCK does that happen? but maybe it’s the delay in getting this done… but fuck it, i suppose we get the government we deserve. i cannot believe that this is the first time these guys have acted this way. actually, i don’t know that we get the government we deserve, because i ultimately think we don’t deserve guys like Weiner and Filner making policy or laws or anything else. but i don’t see how it’s going to get better in the future. that’s what hurts.

janklow stars in… the local mall, which is totally not a legitimate topic for a travelogue, what the hell, man

people that know our hero janklow –and we’ll assume that this includes you, loyal reader, since odds are, if you’re one of the three people reading this, you’re really only doing so because you DO know me and there’s some lingering sense of obligation at work– can probably imagine that i do not enjoy a visit to most places populated with the lowest common denominators of humanity, or, really, any humanity. after all, i may really, really love guns and thus love gun shows, but i’ll be damned if i am not almost IMMEDIATELY annoyed with at least 50% of the people at those gun shows. and those are my people! luckily, they are able to redeem themselves in my eyes by casting pro-gun votes in elections.

anyway, a prime, prime example of a location deeming with the “average man” (and woman) not naming “Wal-Mart,” is, of course, the local mall. now i really, really do try to avoid the mall: generally when i happen to be there, i mostly notice that they’ve phased out more things like books in favor of “additional access to skinny jeans.” and let’s be honest: i worked in a food court of a mall once, and that seemed like it took about 50 years of my life away, so there might be a little bit of a grudge there. unfortunately, i managed to smash all my glasses within a span of a week or so (okay, three weeks, but the last couple of pairs were mashed on back-to-back days, whatever), and when i go to get my lenses replaced… i have to go to the mall.

but luckily, i have some sociological observations!

Israeli Dead Sea salt, i guess
i don’t care how scenic the Dead Sea is, Israel, i’m not buying your exfoliating scrubs if your salesmen are such dicks

the inexplicable nature of this insulting foreigner salesman

so your hero (again, janklow) is hustling to pick up his glasses when this salesman at one of those kiosks (i am going to presume it’s one of those that sells Israeli scrubs based on Dead Sea salts or whatever) asks him if he wants to try something to cleanse his face. now, let’s be honest: most of us don’t like being singled out from a crowd to be sold a product, and i personally am not exception. oh, and i don’t really want to become one of those guys spending good money on facial products; i’m not criticizing anyone that does, but it’s not me. at the same time, one tries not to just be an asshole to random people, even salesmen, because, you know, we’re living in a SOCIETY here. so i politely (i swear) say, no thanks, and keep walking.

now this is typically where you, as a salesman, cut your losses and move on to the next mark, right? not this Israeli dude (i base this on both his accent and his product), who proceeds to take the following inexplicable steps:

#01. politely ask “one moment” and do that thing where you reach out to give someone the IMPRESSION you’re touching their arm/shoulder, but without the actual touching that sometimes prompts a lawsuit and/or a knife in the groin;
#02. apologizes for his English, which, to be fair, wasn’t bad at all, despite his strong accent, but it’s also possible he apologized for his accent, although i could have SWORN it was the former;
#03. sets me up for the burn by asking, “do you use any products on your face?” i answer no (curse you, social contract!), and am about to turn away and keep moving, when…
#04. he hits me with the burn: “well, you should.” and then he immediately goes back to hustling his product.

now, an aggressive salesman is one thing (i do have a story about an unfunny shouting match between myself and a credit card program’s salesman got into fucking RANDOMLY) and a rude salesman is one thing –and let me note that the very concept of “rude salesman” seems pointless, since ultimately you’re supposed to be selling me your product, and i can’t see how being an asshole to ANY potential customer helps with that, but then hey, what the fuck do i know about the sales industry, right?– but a rude salesman who apologizes for his speech before talking shit? who the hell does THAT?

granted, it’s entirely possible that he really WASN’T talking shit, and that it was sort of a “here’s my throwaway advice BUT NOW I AM IMMEDIATELY GOING BACK TO WORK” type of remark… but who does THAT either? and then there’s the whole “you really had to be there to hear his tone BLAH BLAH BLAH part. so i’m taking it how i want to take it: so fucking WEIRD.

in order to counterbalance the incoming sexism, i went with an image of strong female power. YOU GO, LONG-DEAD 1940s-ERA GIRLS

what i shall refer to as “booby trap” girls

DISCLAIMER: this is probably going to get accidentally sexist, so i apologize in advance to all my sisters out there. stay strong in the face of, well, i guess me, ladies.

anyway, one thing i think we’ve all heard is that when you’re seriously dating a woman, you need to examine the condition of her mother, on the grounds that, well, to put it unkindly, that’s what you’re in store for in the future if you keep her around. it’s not 100% for obvious reasons, but you know, for mysteriously reasons like “parentage,” whatever the condition of the mother, you can see the similarities. except…

so i am at this mall and i am waiting for, i think, service on these glasses (the timing of this story is not that important) and a girl and her mother are doing some shopping right nearby. now, this girl is, to put it politely, well put together. not trying to be a creeper here (seriously), just a straight-up observation… but her mother is a goddamn TRAIN WRECK.

now, right, it’s not 100% and you could probably argue stuff like “maybe it’s her stepmother?” or “maybe it’s her beloved aunt with whom she has a mother-like relationship but shares different genes with?” or whatever… but i am going to assume, based on the overheard conversation, that they were actual mother and daughter. and to this i can only say: if some guy doesn’t scope out this mother in advance, he’s likely to find this girl to be one HELL of a booby trap when she turns 40 or so.

these goddamn kids
for the love of good, NEVER GOOGLE SEARCH “FUCKING TEENAGERS” WITH SAFESEARCH TURNED OFF. anyway, these kids are having a good time

me wanting to punch kids in the face

ultimately, i can’t do this: it’s illegal and i am way too small to not pay the ultimate price for it. but i think it definitely speaks to what age you’re at in life: at one point, the swarms of dumbass teenagers seem inexplicably cool, then they’re your peers (for better or worse), then they’re what you look back on and smile, and finally, you just want to hit them all in the face for the myriad of dumbass things you see them saying and doing. granted, i might have going directly from five years old to the latter category, but what the hell, it is what it is. DAMN KIDS!

anyway, that’ll be it for now, so, on to the next one.

“and i don’t need no jokes for this shit…”

yeah, not really an update that’s going to be packed with jokes, i admit. it happens sometimes when you’re hammering this stuff out. so bear with me; i know with all the gun stuff, it’s been a little lean on the humor around here.

so anyways, recently my mother and i were talking about that whole Boston Marathon bombing (so you can see how long it took me to get this update polished off, ha) and her contention was that this wasn’t about religion or politics or the flashy stuff like that, but more simply, about the fact that these Tsarnaev kids couldn’t relate to Americans, American society whatever. this might be partially because of all her employment as a teacher –somehow i figure watching kids succeed or fail at socializing plays a big role in all that– but either way, i think i agree. i made the point over the last couple of weeks in between the gun rants, but if you want my opinion, it’s all part of the same problem: in the aftermath of events like Newtown’s shooting or Boston’s bombing, we immediately starting hearing “BAN CERTAIN GUNS” or “BAN ALL GUNS” or “BAN BLACK POWDER” instead of addressing the underlying problems with the drug war or proper mental health care or, hell, just assimilating the people who feel disenfranchised into society. the latter guys can ALWAYS crash an SUV into a crowd of people even if they can’t get a gun or a bomb, because they have a fundamental problem that no one gives a shit about.

and this is what reminded me of the movie Falling Down.

Falling Down
“the adventures of an ordinary man at war with the everyday world”; frankly, i think this tagline describes an entirely different movie

ah… Falling Down. it’s not a great movie; it might be a fun movie, but not a great one. but this was 1992 (right before our AWB came into effect, oddly enough), and we had a different set of things to be furiously outraged by. immigrant shopkeepers overcharging us! the menace of gang members! pushy panhandlers! disappointing fast food restaurants! it’s one of those films that tries really hard to mean well –they take great pains for the hero, Michael Douglas’ Foster, who shoots it out with minority gang members, to distinguish himself from a Nazi shop owner, and clearly by the end, he realizes his spree is NOT heroic and all– but which probably can only be kind of a fun mess.

anyway, the part of this film that i personally best recall is unrelated to a lot of this: to steal Wikipedia’s description of this, “Foster passes a bank where a black man is protesting being rejected for a loan application. The man exchanges a glance with Foster and says “don’t forget me” as he is escorted away by police.” and that’s about it; Vondie Curtis-Hall is protesting outside a bank in a much more socially-appropriate fashion because the bank’s deemed him “not economically viable,” passersby (and the average viewer who’s wanting to watch Michael Douglas blow up things that make him unhappy) could not care less, and he’s ultimately taken away by the police, during which point he asks Douglas not to forget him.

Not Economically Viable Man
obviously his statement worked, because 21 years later, i STILL have this bit stuck in my head

now, okay, this is a throwaway bit in a film (and thus the kind of thing i LOVE to obsess over) and Curtis-Hall’s character has specific beefs and motivations and all that. i get it. but on some level it comes across to me in a different way: Curtis-Hall’s part of society, he’s worked for years, he’s seeking a loan. this is not the actions of a criminal or malcontent (as far as we know), yet for some reason he finds himself impersonally rejected as “not economically viable.” and what do you do with the resultant anger, something which is not unique to this particular circumstance? you could stand outside the bank and protest, you could blow up a construction site, whatever. but what you REALLY want is for people to just give a shit. to NOTICE you when you’re outside the bank protesting, whether or not they agree with your situation. you know what happens when they don’t? more disaffection with society. tell me where this leads.

and this is what reminded me of the show OZ.

“a series chronicling the daily activities of an unusual prison facility and its criminal inhabitants”

ah… OZ. maybe not a great show, maybe more of a soap opera for men, provided you like a lot of murder and ass-rape in your soap opera. still, it had a lot of moments beyond merely being an edgy, envelope-pushing drama for HBO to run with back in the day before they really hit it big with that impeccable the Wire/the Sopranos/Deadwood triumvirate (which may still be the best ever trio of actively-running shows on a single network). those of you that DO fondly recall it (presuming that list is not restricted to just me) may specifically recall the little opening/between act/closing monologues from Augustus Hill (played by Harold Perrineau Jr.). he had some good ones –i specifically enjoy the one about Jesus spending time in jail, which is a supremely great close-out to an episode– but all this does make me think of the one from the season two episode, “Great Men.”

Augustus Hill
“Yo, imagine being remembered for a thousand years. The things you did when you was alive reaching across time and touching the lives of people not yet born. That’s a dream. That’s why people write books, start religions, find cures, run for President. But me? I don’t wanna be a great man. I don’t care if I’m remembered for the next thousand years. All I ask is, if we pass on the street, notice me.”

yeah, i can’t remember the number of times i have felt personally slighted by something someone has done, with it not being 100% the act itself, but also the fact that it implies someone could just not be bothered to give the slightest fuck about my existence. and frankly, i feel well-integrated in society, so i can only imagine how much further THAT goes when you’re talking about someone who’s not.

but whatever. maybe we’ll be more upbeat next time around these parts. 2013 is kind of a downer of a year, to be honest.

but on the other hand…


so, the rundown: Maryland’s passing this new assault weapon ban, so your hero is trying desperate to score a couple of things on that list before time runs out that, otherwise, he’ll be missing out on FOREVER (or until i leave this state, but as Coolio once said, “as much as i hate this motherfucker… i love this motherfucker). anyway, i decided to throw mega-dollars at this domestically-produced FN FAL, which is a DSA SA58, to be specific, and it’s very, very nice; a FAL/SA58/whatever model is just a gun i have spurned before because of price. but not anymore! now to find some additional rifles…

anyway, the process is supposed to take 3 days to run, with a 7-day waiting period being mandatory, but due to all the furious gun-buying going on between the election, the post-Newtown threats of federal bans, and my state stuff, i was told it would take 5 WEEKS… and it took 9 weeks and 2 days total. fuck this state. but, anyway, it’s here! it’s like bringing a newborn baby home! success!

2013’s deluge of gun control part II: wherein we all wish for Martin O’Malley to go fuck himself (or however you’d phrase it)

so last week we did a little venting on this topic, but we didn’t really focus on the fact that Maryland managed to join the states like Colorado, Connecticut and New York (if not others) in having a little knee-jerk, emotion-based gun control forced on them. we didn’t get as much fanfare as Colorado (because this is less a Western state and more a nominally Southern state long known to be dominated by Democrats) or as New York (because even our legislation wasn’t so supremely fucked up), but we DID manage to fuck over our population: come October, we’ll have an increased magazine capacity ban (down from 20 to 10, fucking up pistol purchases for all, if nothing else), a swarm of new restrictions and requirements for handgun purchases (a total mess, no matter how well-intentioned, given MD’s past history of instituting this stuff) and a banned on our current “regulated” long arms. this latter is weird in that it knocks out rifles by name, so you’ll see a total ban on AKs and FALs, but no ban on equivalent yet less historical rifles like vz.58s and AR-10s. and the AR-15 situation is weird, but whatever, let’s not get into the nuts and bolts.

instead, let’s discuss our esteemed governor, Martin O’Malley.

yet another contender for the title of “most punchable face in America”

i don’t know how familiar with our governor the internet is, so here’s a quick summation: he was the mayor of Baltimore, and seemingly accomplished nothing there as far as i can tell, which earned him two terms of governorship of Maryland… where he has accomplished nothing, as far as i can tell, beyond fucking with my firearm (and pit bull ownership) rights. seriously, he’s raised some taxes and presided over the same decreases in crime that EVERY STATE has, but beyond that? nothing i can see. anyway, if you watched the Wire, you may remember Thomas Carcetti: that’s our O’Malley. i’d say it was thinly-veiled, but i think we all know that it was not. but it DOES remind me that O’Malley once bitched about Republicans starting rumors about his infidelity for political reasons, something which even loyal Democrats in this state laughed at.

ANYWAY, O’Malley, being the kind of man he is, has felt entitled to be considered the “next big thing” in the Democratic Party for some time, and in the aftermath of the Newtown killings, he decided he, like Andrew Cuomo, really, really needed to get some left-wing feathers in his cap so that he can one day be president… and that is when the idea of slamming us with gun control came into the picture. let’s refer to a sweet article from the Washington Post:

“On the day after a gunman killed 20 children in Newtown, Conn., Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley wrote a text messageto his chief legislative lobbyist.
“Do we or do we not have an assault-weapons ban?” the governor asked that Saturday, 10 days before Christmas.
No, Stacy Mayer wrote back.
Really? the governor responded. I thought we did.
A variety of pistols, such as mini-Uzis, were illegal. But the weapon that Adam Lanza had fired in Newtown — the semiautomatic Bushmaster rifle?
Legal in Maryland.
Three days later, O’Malley summoned Mayer and several advisers to the governor’s mansion. Until then, his team had mostly been recovering from the exhaustion of campaigning for three statewide referendums and President Obama’s reelection. They had no grand plan to take on guns as the state legislature was about to convene in Annapolis.”

so, a couple of issues this immediately brings up for me:

01. we actually have HAD attempts to pass assault weapon bans during O’Malley’s time in office which failed, in addition to whatever support he gave anti-gun pushes when he was merely the mayor of Baltimore. so for him to act as if he did not know what laws we did or did not have isn’t just an issue of being ignorant of the law, it’s him fucking lying for effect
02. they had no “grand plan to take on guns” because they’d failed to do so before. the fact that they MYSTERIOUSLY moved to do so one day after Newtown is not an embracing of some holy mission, it’s taking advantage of a tragedy. i think we all know this.

in fact, the article goes on to note that:

“O’Malley had been preoccupied with gun violence since his days as a Baltimore assistant state’s attorney. As the city’s mayor and as governor, he had insisted on starting each morning with a police memo listing the number of overnight homicides.”

so you were preoccupied with this, but had no idea of our current laws? seriously, it just makes it more insulting that you lie like this, O’Malley. he then goes on to basically say that we need bans on 10+ round magazines and assault weapons, but HANDS OFF HUNTING WEAPONS, a stance that confuses me if your policy is to attack crime guns. you see, if you look at, you know, actual evidence, assault weapons simply don’t get used in crime in Maryland: it’s all handguns and some shotguns, and it’s predominantly related to the drug trade. yet a liberal governor who once ran Baltimore can’t get behind addresses the actual problems? well… it’s easier to ban some guns that no one is using for crime but that LOOK REALLY MEAN.

this article then goes on to talk about how CONCERNED some of these politicians are, from:

“President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) was sympathetic to his constituents who enjoyed hunting and target practice. Guns were an important part of their lives and culture.”

…but don’t worry, he won’t let that sympathy get in the way of banning your guns and chasing Beretta out of his district, because your culture and property only have meaning in the contexts he say they do; to:

“Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George’s), who committed his support when the governor agreed to cut the price of a license in half, to $50, a change Muse sought to help the blue-collar families in his district.”

…because the problem with a bill that attacks your constituents rights is that the fee for them to buy a handgun is $50 too high. never mind the fact that your constituents have now had their handgun options neutered and will STILL have to jump through the fee/fingerprinting/training/licensing hoops to exercise their rights.

oh, and Sarah Brady gloating about being back to finish her business. and Miller saying we need gun bans to keep guns out of his grandchildren’s world DESPITE RESPECTING OUR CULTURE. and this exchange:

“Did Maryland need to ban every semiautomatic rifle? One statistic was repeated over and over: Of the state’s 398 homicides in 2011, only two involved rifles.
By mid-March, Mayer told the governor that she was worried that Vallario’s committee would gut the ban, as was happening in Congress, where gun legislation had stalled.
One night, as Judiciary Committee members wrangled over the bill, O’Malley made an unannounced visit.
The governor pointed at Vallario.
“Joe, don’t take out the AR-15,” O’Malley said, referring to the assault weapon.
A couple of nights later, at a St. Patrick’s Day party, O’Malley walked up to Vallario.
“Joe,” the governor said through a grin, “what are you doing to me?”
After more than a month with the bill, Vallario’s committee relented. There would be no compromise; there was no middle ground to be had with Republicans.”

so basically, opponents point out that rifles –and not just “assault weapons,” but rifles, period– are simply NOT USED IN CRIME and want compromise… and this will not work for O’Malley, who proceeds to bully the chairman into getting what he wants. O’Malley doesn’t make an argument for why the data’s wrong or what the bill will do; it’s WHAT HE WANTS. because, as previously noted, he’s a piece of shit. it’s also sad –not funny, but sad– because typically you see guys in this state bitching about how mean Republicans are on a federal level for not compromising. huh.

anyway, this legislation makes me sick for one reason more than any other: not that it fucks with my rights and/or hobbies (depending on how you want to put it); not that it won’t accomplish ANYTHING it purports to accomplish, because we’re still going to have scores of drug murders and street crimes; not that there’s a level of hypocrisy in our left-leaning government pushing to rightful acknowledge people’s rights to, say, gay marriage while restricting my firearm rights; but because this shit only happened because O’Malley wanted it for him, for his personal reasons, for his career and personal benefit. and that’s a fucking disgrace.

whatever, literally no one gives a shit about how mad our politics make me. it is the most impotent feeling in the world, i suppose. anyway, maybe next week we’ll be a little more positive? currently my motivation is being spent on “tracking down soon-to-be-banned assault weapons,” but i will try to focus up.

2013’s deluge of gun control part I: wherein our esteemed legislators struggle to understand the topic they’ve spent years legislating

so, okay, it’s probably inevitable that i would get around to making a update based around the concept of gun control. on the one hand, house of hate tends to be “flagrantly pro-gun” (hence all those “new gun” posts that are currently being delayed by the state of transferring regulated firearms in my grand home state), so we should probably have gotten around to this before now; on the other hand, the Irishman tells me all the time to not focus so heavily on this stuff since it’s going to give me a heart attack. i don’t think he’s joking; if there was a way for me to place a wager on my cause of death being “heart attack induced by YET ANOTHER outrageous anti-gun ad or statement,” i would do so. you’d think there would be someplace in Vegas that would help me out on this front, but no, nothing yet.

anyway, there isn’t really a lot for me to say from a substantive point: “assault weapon” bans are mindless feel-good pieces of legislation that will not reduce gun crime in the slightest; regulating magazine size is bogus if for no other reason than we’ve acknowledged why police should have larger magazines; and “universal background checks” and “anti-trafficking bills” do a lot more than what’s stated in their titles alone, and we should talk about that. whatever, we’ve covered this. and in my lovely state, we’re getting slammed with upcoming “assault weapon” bans/magazine restrictions/handgun licensing whether we like it or not. it won’t do a damn thing, but again, whatever, it FEELS GOOD to DO SOMETHING. never mind seriously addressing mental health care and/or the drug war, right, progressives? right, guns are an easier thing to attack.

but, hey, why so serious? so let’s focus on some of the behavior that has typified recent rhetoric:

US Representative Diana DeGette
this condescending pose simply ads to the delicious irony of Diana DeGette apparently having no idea what the fuck she’s talking about

Rep. Diana DeGette draws criticism for “pretty stupid” ammo-magazine comment

one of the things that drives pro-gun people crazy is when people who are actively anti-gun seem to demonstrate little to no knowledge of the guns they attack. this is how we get federal legislation that bans fictional Glock 7s from Die Hard 2; this is how we get politicians like Carolyn McCarthy wanting to ban firearms that have, among other “assault features,” barrel shrouds … and then, when asked what a barrel shroud is, saying, “I actually don’t know. I think it’s the shoulder thing that goes up.” because whatever your political stance, you want to believe that the politicians who are making legislation and claiming to be well-versed on the issue actually know SOMETHING about the issue.

which brings us to Diana DeGette.

“Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette drew national criticism Wednesday for remarks made at a public forum in which she said banning high-capacity in ammunition magazines would be effective in reducing gun violence because “the bullets will have been shot and there won’t be any more available.” For years in Congress, DeGette has been the prime sponsor on a federal ban on high-capacity magazines.”

and there we go: the sad, sad combination of a phenomenally stupid statement that makes it clear she has no idea what high-capacity magazines are and a reminder that this woman has supposedly been studying and legislating on this issue for YEARS. so she’s looked into banning high-capacity magazines for years, and yet she cannot actually describe what they are and how they work correctly? disgusting.

“But despite the congresswoman’s claim, ammunition magazines can be reloaded with more bullets and can be reused hundreds of times.”

okay, not wild about the phrasing, but yeah, they can be reused. what was that she said, again?

“”These are ammunition, they’re bullets, so the people who have those now, they’re going to shoot them, so if you ban them in the future, the number of these high-capacity magazines is going to decrease dramatically over time because the bullets will have been shot and there won’t be any more available,” she said at Tuesday’s forum, hosted by The Denver Post’s editorial board.”

wow. but okay, it’s always possible someone misspoke, right? granted, given how far she goes with this nonsense, it’s obvious she’s actually an idiot who doesn’t know anything about THE ISSUE SHE HAS WORKED ON FOR YEARS, but let’s pretend what she meant was, “if you cut off the supply of new high-capacity magazines, the existing ones will EVENTUALLY wear out and disappear.” i personally think this is a dumb theory for a handful of reasons, but let’s indulge here and pretend that is what she meant. so, how should you handle this?

…well, what you should NOT do is double-down and release a smug statement that’s once AGAIN proof you have no idea what the hell you’re talking about:

“DeGette spokeswoman Juliet Johnson on Wednesday said the senior congresswoman from Denver “misspoke” and then issued another erroneous statement about guns. “The congresswoman has been working on a high-capacity assault magazine ban for years and has been deeply involved in the issue; she simply misspoke in referring to ‘magazines’ when she should have referred to ‘clips,’ which cannot be reused because they don’t have a feeding mechanism,” Johnson said.”

which is funny because Johnson makes a big effort to talk about how deeply involved DeGette has been –presumably with the air that one should not question DeGette’s statement, for she KNOWS ABOUT THIS STUFF– and then just digs the hole deeper with another stupid statement, which leads me to believe that:

01. DeGette didn’t misspeak (again, was always clear, but what the hell, have more proof);
02. Johnson herself knows nothing about the topic either, which might be okay in the sense that she’s a spokesperson, but still, you’d think someone in this office that’s been TRYING TO BAN THESE MAGAZINES FOR YEARS would look into learning about the topic in a way that would allow people to speak about it without sounding like blithering idiots;
03. this kind of shit really IS going to give me a heart attack. why?

“Actually, clips in most guns can be reused as well.”

EXACTLY. look, i understand that there’s a point where someone who’s really into guns (say, me) would take issue with a relative novice’s lack of information. but the thing is, i wouldn’t break a novice’s balls about this… but i WILL break the balls of a woman who thinks the federal government should ban me from having something she CANNOT EVEN DESCRIBE.

“Immediately after DeGette’s Tuesday remark, the audience in The Post building chuckled and Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith, who was also on the panel, urged people who have not shot a gun to “get to the facts. … Let’s be educated as we make this decision.””

exactly. and further:

“The Colorado GOP called DeGette’s statements “extremely alarming” because, the group said, she is running a piece of federal legislation that she apparently doesn’t know anything about.”

EXACTLY. so Johnson AGAIN compounds this:

“Johnson called the attacks “just another example of opponents of common-sense gun-violence prevention trying to manipulate the facts to distract from the critical issue of keeping our children safe and keeping killing machines out of the hands of disturbed individuals. It’s more political gamesmanship that stands in the way of responsible solutions.””

how droll. look, people misspeak. that’s why you say, “whoops, so and so MADE A MISTAKE” and own up to it. this is what actual adults do. because adults realize that when you call a gun a “killing machine” (which is fucking childish, but whatever), if you’re providing evidence elsewhere that you have no idea what the fuck you’re talking about, then they might realize they shouldn’t trust you when you talk about that gun. or about anything else, and all because a congresswoman (and her spokesperson) are both too stupid to actually know a topic they purport to know well AND too fucking smug to just admit their error.

and fundamentally, this kind of behavior seems to inform EVERY similar issue.

Vice President Joe Biden
“Joe Biden” is an ancient Indian word meaning “holy shit, who thought letting this guy talk was a good idea”

Carolyn McCarthy can’t describe barrel shrouds and says “traditional rifles” are better for women’s self-defense than AR-15s, despite the fact the latter is based on nothing more than her desire to bash AR-15s? another politician who presumably has studied the issue and yet cannot fathom admitting either her errors or even facts that disagree with her. Andrew Cuomo acknowledges that he didn’t really know what was in the anti-gun legislation that he signed and touted as great before the backlash hit? yet another politician who cannot admit the errors in his prior statements. and Joe Biden’s numerous … statements are probably recognized as a hot mess by EVERYONE without any need for elaborating further on them.

look, this kind of bullshit isn’t specific to guns and it isn’t specific to Democrats, and we should be clear about that. but you know how people get riled up when some yokel Republican talks about “legitimate rape” and we get to the part of the debate where someone points out a logical error in a man who cannot even accurate talk about what he’s trying to regulate making laws that regulate it? yeah…

anyway, that’ll do for now. we’ll see if i have any energy left for this next week.

Big Boi > André 3000; nothing more really needs to be said

once upon a time, there was this rap group –well, i guess they’re really just a duo, but for some reason, people always call them a group– called Outkast, and it contained these two rapping dudes: “Atlanta native André “André 3000” Benjamin (formerly known as Dré) and Savannah, Georgia-born Antwan “Big Boi” Patton,” if we go with Wikipedia’s description. anyway, you know, they became hugely successful and sold all these millions of records and everyone loves them. and i am okay with that; we’re not going to veer into some kind of weird “tear down the memories of Outkast you once held dear” territory or anything like that. what i am not okay with is something else: the commonly-held notion that Andre 3000 (i am not going to be using those accent marks from here on out) is somehow light years more advanced and important than Big Boi.

i think this highlights the juxtaposition fairly clearly

now, let’s be clear: Andre 3000 is good at rapping and he has a cool, futuristic stage name. i am not going to argue that he SUCKS. for some reason, though, everyone seems to visualize the group as if Andre 3000 is a once-in-a-lifetime talent who outshines his partner at every time and in every way. this i strongly object to, and have decided to argue against in the form of a listicle, fittingly entitled:

(sorry, i kind of messed up on the usual listicle M.O. here, so you’ll have to forgive me)

Erykah Badu
warning: this woman WILL destroy your favorite rapper’s ability to focus on making solid rap music for years to come

getting involved with Erykah Badu
Erykah Badu must have something going for her: she can clearly sing, she can clearly lure rappers of respectable talents (Andre 3000, Common, and saddest of all, the D.O.C.) into her web, and the internet tells me she’s known as “the Queen of Neo Soul,” which surely is the kind of title you have to EARN. the catch is this: once she lures you in, you get looping and start making shitty music; the prime example of this remains Common’s Electric Circus fiasco. now, Andre 3000 was probably always a bit of an oddball, but when he started messing around with Badu, i knew deep down that we’d have to prepare ourselves to lose his rapping forever.

changing his rap sobriquet to Andre 3000
it’s been awhile since this happened, so Wikipedia had to remind me, but man, does it really annoy me to remember it. let me just run with a quote from Wikipedia: “Outkast’s fourth album, Stankonia, introduced Benjamin’s new alias André 3000 (largely to distinguish himself from Dr. Dre).” okay, first off, his ACTUAL NAME is Andre, so people are going to call him Dre, and adding 3000 to your name is not going to stop that. second, by the time Stankonia came out, Outkast already had a pair of PLATINUM albums. people knew who Dr. Dre was versus who Dre from Outkast was, so this “to distinguish himself from Dr. Dre” stuff is just lame. now, ultimately, this may just be internet foolishness and have nothing to do with Andre, but fuck it, i am holding it against him.

actually, forget what i said before: i think THIS highlights the juxtaposition fairly clearly

the whole Speakerboxxx/The Love Below thing
basically, whenever Outkast does something ridiculous (“let’s make a double album that seems like it’s a solo album from each of us that thus make people believe we’re breaking up the group”), i blame Andre for it. that’s the deal: he’s the crazy, flashy one, and Big Boi is the other guy. so when they did this and it became a huge debate about if/when Outkast was breaking up, i became annoyed and i hold it against Andre to this day. plus, i’m not actually convinced that Andre has the better half of this double album; as far as i am concerned, “the Rooster” is better than anything on Andre’s disc. finally, the way it comes off is Andre’s high-concept musical experimentation versus Big Boi’s Southern hip-hop sensibilities, and you know what? i side with hip-hop on this point.

the whole Idlewild thing
remember when i told you that if Outkast did something ridiculous, i’d blame Andre 3000 for it? here we go again, because this Idlewild fiasco qualifies. i don’t know a single person that recalls this fondly, and it took Outkast from their diamond-selling prior effort (which, being a double album, was sort of cheating) to a mere platinum release. now, okay, in this day and age, that’s phenomenal success and never was really something to sneer at. except… i kind of suspect a lot of people bought this on the strength of being serious Outkast fans before realizing what they’d done. i don’t know, maybe i am just being overly negative about this?

Sir Lucious Left Foot
it was at this point when i realized we might be freed from the tyranny of Andre 3000’s dominance; THANK YOU, BIG BOI

Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
i know, i know: it SOUNDS like some horrible mistake visited upon the word by Andre 3000, but it’s actually Big Boi’s first solo album… and it’s actually really good. Big Boi’s rapping like a machine and hanging out with a weird assortment of rappers and singers (which i suppose is to be expected from a rapper who declares his favorite artist to be Kate Bush), and it all works, and yet, i am sure if Andre 3000 was attempting to do the same thing, it would be driving me crazy. but then he’s on hiatus at this time and Big Boi’s out there giving a damn, and basically, what occurred to me was this: we don’t need Andre 3000 to get an excellent album out of Outkast. at least, at this point, i don’t THINK we do…

collaborating with all these damn singers and not making Outkast albums
so, on Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, Andre 3000 has no guest appearances, despite that being the kind of thing you’d expect the other half of a rap duo to do on his partner’s album… but he did PRODUCE one track, which just makes the whole thing weirder. and yet, he started popping up and throwing verses on people’s songs, teasing us with the prospect of rapping again. this wouldn’t be SO bad… but when you have time to appear on songs by Ciara, Ke$ha, Beyoncé, Chris Brown and Lloyd, to name a few (and i think it’s Ke$ha that really hurts) and you don’t have time to appear on your partner’s album, that’s pretty fucked up.

Andre who? Big Boi may just have all the ridiculousness covered on his own

Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors
so Big Boi went out and released ANOTHER rap album where he’s still rapping like a machine and collaborating with all kinds of weird indie pop and rock groups like Phantogram and Little Dragon, all while Andre 3000 is sitting at home doing nothing but pissing me off… and this one is good as well. and i think that’s what did it: you could presume the first solo album was a fluke (it happens), but two of them? Big Boi must actually be onto something here, and it’s clearly something that does not require Andre 3000 to work.

now, the thing is, shortly after all this, i find myself listening to T.I.’s Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head album (short review: it’s of uneven quality), and all of a sudden, Andre 3000 appears and raps for two minutes straight on “Sorry,” completely killing it, and it leaves me thinking the obvious: goddamn, Andre 3000, THIS is why you’re so fucking infuriating. just make another goddamn Outkast album already!

really, it’s sad because the whole thing mirrors an abusive relationship: Andre 3000 keeps jerking us around, and yet we’re so into him, whereas Big Boi is the nice, stable guy that we’re just not attracted to on the same emotional level. okay, this just got too weird. we should maybe wrap it up for now.

presidential election 2012 part ii: after the deluge … of conservative emotions

so recently, we had this election and Obama won, which is good for him in the sense that, hey, he’s still the president and that’s pretty cool, they tell me, but also bad for him in the sense that i cannot imagine the stress of the job is good for ANYONE. i like to imagine that, for example(s), before their respective elections to the presidency, Richard Nixon was a pleasant human being and Lyndon Johnson was an attractive man: obviously, these are impossible fictions, but, you know, they’re impossible fictions that possibly contain comedic value.

anyway, i don’t really want to dwell on Obama’s reelection because then we might get into a serious discussion of “what this means for America” and “am i somehow going to be able to manage to give a damn about the concept of participatory democracy in the future for reasons that aren’t necessarily related to the presidential election” and blah blah blah. what i ACTUALLY want to focus on are the absolutely insane reactions to this election from Republicans (or conservatives, at least).

Donald Trump + Victoria Jackson = DREAM COUPLE
Donald Trump and Victoria Jackson: a match made in FUCKING INSANE HEAVEN

Donald Trump and Victoria Jackson melt down on Twitter

now, to be fair, this is not exactly watching the most stable individuals suddenly lose it; furthermore, i should admit that i believe Twitter was developed by top scientists to make celebrities and politicians post stupid shit on the internet. still, we’re talking about some fairly high-level insanity here. let’s start with Victoria Jackson, who i guess was a comedic actress for a short period of time before transforming into a conservative Christian with access to the internet:

Victoria Jackson @vicjackshow: “I can’t stop crying. America died.”

i suppose this isn’t THAT insane of a reaction if you’re incredibly disappointed in the election results because you think Obama’s going to be bad for the nation, but here’s what i don’t understand: these conservatives LOVE to talk on and on about how exceptional America is and how anyone who doesn’t acknowledge this is a traitor (or worse, a LIBERAL), so i have to ask this why i should believe such an exceptional country can be KILLED by the reelection of Obama. yeah, i know, it’s weird of me of all people to criticize someone’s hyperbole, but i doubt she’s exaggerating for effect.

Victoria Jackson @vicjackshow: “The Democrat Party voted God out and replaced Him with Romans 1. In the Good vs. Evil battle…today…Evil won. Thanks a lot Christians, for not showing up. You disgust me.”

observation: somehow, i suspect the people who are excited to vote against Obama for religious reasons ARE the guys who showed up and voted in solid numbers (at least for however many of them there are)… so pray tell, why are the voters who you’re theoretically in lock-step with the ones that disgust you? shouldn’t you be disgusted by all the sinful non-Christians out there who voted for Barack “Lord of Darkness” Obama so that they’d keep getting government funding for their black magic rituals?

okay, so, at the very least, it appears that Jackson does not have sound arguments in her favor. next up, Donald Trump:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump: “Lets fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us. This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!”

okay, first off, if the world is laughing at us, i have to believe a large percentage of the reason is the fact that a lot of Americans take Trump seriously when he talks about politics or business or anything else. second, look, despite the fact that i love to make the Obama=Romney argument, mainly to make people who love or the other of those guys GO CRAZY, i get the fact that one might have strong feelings about the victory/defeat of their candidate. however, a “great and disgusting injustice?” a “sham and a travesty?” these are the kinds of things you need to support with something BEYOND “well, the guy i voted for didn’t win.” case in point: you know how we always claim that Putin doesn’t preside over fair and democratic elections? please note that such claims are typically supported with SOME real evidence.

also, call me nuts, but the fact that we all voted and some guy won the election makes this a democracy. i’m really not sure what Trump thinks a democracy is, but i am actually curious to hear what it entails, aside from “Romney is the president because … uh … RRR TRUMP SAYS SO!”

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump: “More votes equals a loss…revolution!”

jesus fucking christ, Trump, could you be any more pathetic about this? look, on both extreme ends of the political spectrum, you have a) people who are crying “revolution” as the only viable solution to the current status of American society/politics/cooking/whatever and b) people pointing out that their opposite numbers calling for revolution are stupid, ignorant traitors to America. and i am SURE that Trump has been one of those guys… although, in fairness, since he seems to change his political stripes as is convenient, maybe he’s always been the revolution shouter and never the criticizer of those calling for revolution.

furthermore, i’d really like to watch Donald Trump get a rifle and a flak jacket and attempt to take his “revolution” into his own hands so that i could watch a police office shoot him to death on television. but then i think we all know that Trump is a big talker who never backs up what he says.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump: “Our country is now in serious and unprecedented trouble…like never before.”

now, this is the kind of thing i expect to hear from the kids of my generation and younger, who think everything currently occurring is the BEST EVER or the WORST EVER: there’s nothing like the youth of America to completely lack historical perspective. that said, i suppose Donald Trump is insufficiently mature to qualify him to join this team of stupid fucking kids. again, not to make a redundant point, but what exactly is the support for this claim of “America is in the worst trouble EVER?” please allow me to make a short list of times when i imagine America was in WORSE “serious and unprecedented” trouble:

–the Civil War
–World War II
–pretty much every year prior to 2012

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump: “Our nation is a once great nation divided!”

to this, i can only muster up an “…and?” look, let’s point out that everyone likes to talk about the partisanship that dominates Congress and/or the country, but no one has ever addressed that by simply yelling “our nation is a once great nation divided” over something as petty as not liking the results of an election.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump: “The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.”

i do appreciate him allowing me to make this point: the people who rage against the electoral college can be accurately described as “people whose preferred candidate lost the most recent presidential election in a manner they feel can be blamed on the electoral college.” seriously, Republicans hate it now, but were fine with it in 2000; Democrats are cool with it now, but raged against the (electoral) machine in 2000. sure, there are probably a couple of people on either side who have a long-standing beef with said college of electorals, but i doubt they’re the ones stoking the engine of INTERNET OUTRAGE on this topic.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump: “House of Representatives shouldn’t give anything to Obama unless he terminates Obamacare.”

…which in turns leads me to believe that Donald Trump thinks Obamacare costs him money, and that this is the SOLE reason he opposes Obama. and you know what? that’s perfectly fine and he’s entitled to vote and support politicians because of that. however, it would be nice if he could express that without claiming America is being destroyed by this election, and thus it’s revolution time.

but look, Donald Trump and Victoria Jackson are fundamentally semi-famous idiots best known at this point. what about the people who are actually considered to be more serious political figures? well…

Jenny Beth Martin
oh, American conservatives, how i sometimes feel you don’t understand anything at all

“Following Mitt Romney’s loss to President Barack Obama, conservative leaders wasted no time Wednesday offering pointed criticism of the Republican Party and its pick for president. A coalition of social conservatives and tea party activists gathered in Washington to decry what they described as Romney’s failure to represent conservatives on a national level.”

so this can go one of two ways: 1) conservatives are disappointed because Obama won, and that’s worse for them because OBAMA, or 2) conservatives are upset because they believe the reason Romney lost was that he was NOT CONSERVATIVE ENOUGH.

“”We wanted someone who would fight for us. What we got was a weak, moderate candidate, hand-picked by the Beltway elites and country club establishment wing of the Republican Party,” Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, said in a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington. “The presidential loss is unequivocally on them,” she added.”

…and it looks like we’re going with option #02. see, this is what confuses me: a candidate that Martin considers to be very liberal (Obama) beat a candidate she considers to be moderate (Romney), and her solution to this is that the GOP should have run someone more conservative (oh, let’s say Santorum). but if the majority of voters went liberal, how the fuck does a MORE conservative candidate do any better? and if you think voters went liberal because of “gifts” or whatever else, how does a more conservative candidate counter that in any way?

i also love the notion that a conservative Tea Party member bears no responsibility for Romney’s loss, despite pushing him toward the positions you wanted during the primary. tell you what, let’s leave the presidency aside: Tea Party candidates have now lost 5 of 5 Senate elections in this election and the last. i have a feeling that those seats –the losses of which should be stated to be “unequivocally on people like Jenny Beth Martin”– would have come in handy to her GOP side these days.

“Brent Bozell, president of the conservative Media Research Center, argued that Romney failed to pass the ideological test, saying he ran as a “Democrat-light” and adjusted his positions to campaign as a moderate during the general election. “At the end of the day, conservatives were left out in the cold. It should have been a landslide for Romney, had he embraced a truly conservative agenda,” Bozell said. “But Romney’s a moderate and his campaign embarked on a bizarre…defense from the outset.””

now, i will throw Bozell a bone and agree that Romney IS essentially a moderate and this fact forced him into some weirdly defensive positions. what Bozell doesn’t say, however, is that a lot of this defense was due to Romney abandoning moderate positions for more conservative positions AT THE BEHEST OF PEOPLE LIKE BOZELL, allowing Obama to force Romney to defend changing his positions. see, here’s the thing: if Obama is for universal health care and Romney WAS for universal health care, Obama can’t attack Romney for having the same position he does… but he CAN attack him for the flip-flop, something forced by Bozell.

so, okay, this means Bozell wanted a sincere conservative who never NEEDED to adjust his positions. fair enough. but THAT means the issue wasn’t “embracing a truly conservative agenda,” but rather, always having possessed a truly conservative agenda. and again, what about an electorate that chose the more liberal candidate would have delivered an election to a turbo-conservative in a LANDSLIDE?

“On social issues, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion rights group Susan B. Anthony List, blasted the candidate for not making abortion a central part of the 2012 dialogue. “He took all the right stances,” she said. “The problem was not communicating on the national stage with Obama what his actual positions were.””

dear Marjorie Dannenfelser: this makes no fucking sense. you wanted Romney to communicate his actual positions? i recall him REPEATEDLY talking about his campaign being pro-life and the Democrats beating him up for it. REPEATEDLY. unless you wanted Romney to adopt a public position of “i will personally kill all the fucking abortionists in America ON DAY ONE OF MY PRESIDENCY,” i don’t see what more conservative of a position Romney could have publicly taken. and if he had… how would this have helped him win the election?

“The group endorsed Romney after he unofficially became the nominee in April when former Sen. Rick Santorum dropped out of the race. Dannenfelser said they were “happy to endorse him when the time came” but expressed frustration when she said “we assumed, that given who he was, he would make (abortion) more of a national issue.””

okay, look, call me a moderate, call me a RINO, whatever, but here’s the thing: making abortion “more of a national issue” would not have gotten Romney elected. period. please, please, give me some evidence it would, you fucking crazy broad.

“All the activists at the press conference agreed that Tuesday’s election signaled a need for the GOP to re-institute more conservative “fundamentals.” While some argue the Republican Party’s failure to retake the Senate or make gains in the House suggests the tea party is losing steam, the group of individuals Wednesday argued the opposite. Given this week’s results, they said, conservatives will be even more motivated to reform the party. Richard A. Viguerie, chairman of ConservatieHQ.com, ended the press conference with one final prediction. “Tea partiers will take over the Republican Party within four years,” he said.”

now, i have ripped Viguerie before Bruce McCullough style; oddly enough, that was back in 2009 when Viguerie was bitching about RINOs following a disappointing election. i will throw out that, at the time, Viguerie was calling Newt Gingrich a RINO. i will point out that he’s been pushing for more Tea Party, more conservative fundamentals, more blaming RINOs/moderates for failure ever since then, and yet all he has to show for it is loses in the Senate and another term for Barack Obama. Tea Party guys will take over the Republican Party within four years? why hasn’t it happened already? but hell, assuming that it does happen? enjoy President Biden or President Clinton II or President OMG LIBERAL, Viguerie.