September 17, 2013
Unemployed Art History Majors, Unite!
Largely made up of disaffected 20-something college graduates from elite universities, the OWS movement was a textbook example of Marxist class struggle in which the top 10% of society rises up against the top 1% in righteous fury and demands in the name of common human decency that which is the most fundamental of all human rights:
The right to not have to pay off your college loans.
So, what happened to OWS and why does it appear to be a shell of its former self? Personally we think it was the same peril that awaits many popular uprisings in their vulnerable early stages:
Irreconcilable conflict among the drum groups.
The Bay of Pigs? A disaster primarily because the counter-revolutionary forces that were supposed to come to the aid of the commandos landing on the beach were still trying to settle on broadly acceptable nighttime drumming curfews.
However, according to reporter Rosie Gray who covered OWS for the Village Voice at the time, the number one problem was obvious:
The Radiohead hoax.
Look, if you’re going to protest for fundamental societal changes resulting in a reordering of the relationship between the individual and the state, you can’t make people believe that if they work hard enough, and commit to the cause, that maybe just this one time, they'll be able to see their favorite art rock band live, only to have it turn out to be an elaborate prank. It’s just way too much of a bummer.
And so happy 2nd Birthday, Occupy Wall Street! You may not have had any noticeable lasting impact, but you do have a twitter account.
Now shave off that scruff, put on a decent shirt, and go get a job.
September 15, 2013
Take Me Out To The Bargame, er, Ballgame. Ballgame is What I Meant…
Long-time readers may recall that yours truly is a diehard Boston Red Sox fan. To that point, two actual conversations from this past week with my toddler son:
Son: I want to
grow up to be a mommy.
Me: Well, that will require surgery.
Son: I like the
Me: What? No! You do not. You like the Red Sox! Understand, the Boston Red Sox is our team! Boston! Red! Sox!
A father has to know where to draw lines.
I come from a long line of Red Sox fans, and so to celebrate my father’s birthday (if memory serves, his 1000th or something), my brothers and I decided to take him to a Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway Park.
We looked into getting some rooms at the Fenway Howard Johnson but given this was a very special occasion, we first had to carefully consider each and every pro and con.
Across the street from Fenway.
The decision kind of made itself.
(As an aside, if you come across a review of the Fenway HoJo that starts with, “Was in Boston for a business conference,…” you can stop reading right there. It’s like reading a review of a Greyhound bus station that starts with, “Stopped by for dinner with my wife on our anniversary…”)
Having squared away our hotel room (months earlier, of course) and securing some very nice seats, the only open issue was our meals. When we all finally arrived in Boston the day before the game, my father offered to buy us all lunch at the Eastern Standard.
I offered to buy dinner.
My father purchased the rest of the meals.
Of course, no visit to Boston with your half-Irish brothers would be complete without spending a lot of time in bars and we stumbled (literally at times) across a couple of interesting ones.
The Bleacher Bar is a little bar tucked into Fenway (accessible from the street) where I understand the old batting cages used to be and offers a view, through a metal grate, of the outfield. We thought this just might be one of the finest bar concepts ever conceived by humankind. We are also morons.
Another one was Jerry Remy’s roof deck bar, next to the Howard Johnson’s. It was a great place with a view of Fenway but it did pour rain for part of the time while we were there. Do you know what the first thing an Irishman does when he gets caught in a the pouring rain while drinking his beer?
He gets wet.
While Fenway is over a century old, it has been updated with the very latest in technology including advanced digital displays that are extremely helpful in letting casual fans who may not understand all of baseball’s many arcane traditions and intricacies, know who won.
Overall, a truly fine and successful trip.
In the meantime, the Russians brokered a peace deal with the United Nations.
Really, I can’t turn my back on you guys for a moment.
September 11, 2013
Syria Speech Roundup
Great Moments in Rhetorical Leadership
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
“We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
“There sure are a lot of ways this thing could go aren’t there? Hoo boy. Tell you what, once I figure it out, I’ll let you guys know.”
Shut up, he explained:
“…children lying in rows, killed by poison gas, others foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath, a father clutching his dead children,
…because what happened to those people, to those children
…images of children writhing in pain
…we can stop children from being gassed to death and thereby make our own children safer”
“However, over the last few days we've seen some encouraging signs in part because of the credible threat of U.S. military action.”
“I have therefore asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force.”
“The Obama administration has not laid out proof Assad was behind the attack.”
“In his remarks, Obama more generally accused Assad's forces of gassing to death ‘over 1,000 people, including hundreds of children’ a figure far higher than estimates by nongovernmental agencies such as the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has counted only victims identified by name, with a current total of 502.”
“Obama's statement that he has the authority to launch military action is par for the course for presidents, and historically disputed by Congress. The issue never gets settled.”
“It was halfhearted, pro forma and strange. It added nothing, did not deepen or advance the story, was not equal to the atmosphere surrounding it, and gave no arguments John Kerry hasn’t made, often more forcefully, in the past 10 days.”
It was great!
P.S. "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what Russia can do for your country."
September 09, 2013
Speak Softly And Carry a Big Stick, But Not Too Big. Or Too Small. Really More of a Medium Sized Stick, Like Mama Bear Would Use…
In making the case for war, Obama Administration officials this weekend explained that we have two specific objectives in launching a military strike on Syria:
It is only when you clearly define your goals like this that you can have any expectation of success, not to mention have any chance to win over a skeptical public. As one official elaborated, the planned U.S. military strike will:
“Do more damage to the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 48 hours than Syrian rebels have done in two years of civil war.”
This sentiment was echoed by Secretary of State John Kerry who added,
“We’re talking about doing an unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.”
Reportedly, Secretary Kerry was trying to allay fears that we were already experiencing mission creep. As another administration official explained:
“I define ‘mission creep’ as shifting the objective, not the means.”
And you can’t really shift an objective when there isn’t one.
If you are like most Planet Moron readers, you’re probably thinking, “No, seriously, you disappear for nine months and you’re acting like nothing happened.”
Also, “This is very confusing. Given the gravity of what is being asked of us, and the seriousness of launching military strikes on a sovereign nation that has not attacked us and represents no imminent threat, is there any way you could find an administration official who could explain this to us as if we were five-year-old children incapable of analytical thought?”
You bet there is. According to the 37th anonymous Administration official to be quoted since last Friday:
“If Assad is eating Cheerios, we're going to take away his spoon and give him a fork. Will that degrade his ability to eat Cheerios? Yes. Will it deter him? Maybe. But he'll still be able to eat Cheerios.”
This still leaves open the question of how precisely can you calibrate at attack on President Assad’s breakfast habits. What if we go too far and he has to use skim milk, or worse, is forced to substitute ShopRite brand Toasted Oats. What wrath might he hurl down upon our own breakfast industrial complex? Or what if we don’t go far enough and all that happens is that the ones on the bottom get a little soggy. Where will our credibility be then?
So, where does that leave us, aside from craving a big bowl of cereal?
Secretary Kerry has threatened to attack Syria, for which he has no congressional authorization, unless they turn over their chemical weapons, which they have agreed to do, but that still won’t stop us, because the international community demands that we attack , even though no one in the international community is actually willing to support an attack.
In totally unrelated news, a large majority of Americans oppose attacking Syria.
September 06, 2013
Remember, Always Rinse Your Produce to Remove The Sarin Residue
The story that is clearly dominating the headlines this week is the very real potential for retaliation against the use of chemical weapons on innocent children by what can only be described as an evil and morally bankrupt monster.
We speak of course of the American agriculture industry.
This, according to Maria Rodale, CEO of Rodale press, a position she achieved through old-fashioned hard work, sacrifice, and sharing the last name, “Rodale” with the company’s founder. In an open letter to President Obama she wrote:
“Yes, Syria has undoubtedly used
chemical weapons on its own people. Maybe it was the government; maybe it was
the opposition; maybe you know for sure. But here's what I know for sure: We
are no better. We have been using chemical weapons on our own children -- and
ourselves -- for decades, the chemical weapons we use in agriculture to win the
war on pests, weeds, and the false need for ever greater yields."
(Although presumably that “false need” depends on whether or not you are among the millions of people not starving to death right now.)
Regardless, the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria has certainly received most of the press what with images of young Syrian children suffering gruesome, painful deaths, but is the agricultural industry’s use of pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals to enhance yields, create bountiful harvests and feed a growing population around the world really all that different?
If you are like most Planet Moron readers, you’re probably thinking, “I waited nine months for this?” Also, “You know what, if pressed, I would probably come down on the side of this being a little bit different.”
Keep in mind however that you are not an accomplished businesswoman with years of experience being the granddaughter of J.I. Rodale.
As she explains,
“As the CEO of the world's leading health-and-wellness publisher and the granddaughter of the founder of the organic movement in America, I am uniquely qualified to explain it to you.”
Exactly. Just as you would be uniquely qualified to take the controls of a 747 on its final approach to JFK were you the granddaughter of the founder of Boeing.
Likewise, her extensive publishing experience which includes cover articles such as, “33 Secrets to Sizzling Summer Sex,” and “4 Sex Positions Every Man Should Try” clearly qualifies her to lecture the rest of us on biochemical processes, physiology, and oncology. In fact, when it comes to the efficacy and safety of pesticides, who are you going to listen to? Esteemed scientists in the field, or the person behind such groundbreaking research as “Does She Deserve a Spanking? Yes! In fact, she's far kinkier than you think”?
You see, chemical pesticides are killing our children just as assuredly as sarin gas killed those Syrian youngsters, just a lot more slowly. Like, really, really slowly. So slowly in fact, that it appears to be actually killing them backwards.
Sometimes when it comes to apocalypse, you have to be patient.
As Ms. Rodale explains:
“We've been trying to tell you for years that chemical companies like Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, DuPont, Bayer Crops Sciences, and others are poisoning our children and our environment with your support and even, it seems, your encouragement. Just because their bodies aren't lined up wrapped in sheets on the front pages of the newspapers around the world doesn't mean it's not true.”
Exactly, just because something isn’t happening doesn’t mean it isn't happening.
Okay, that one is probably going to need some work.
No matter, as you can plainly see, why on earth would we contemplate dropping bombs on people accused of using chemical weapons based on dubious evidence when we can instead be dropping bombs on people accused of using chemical weapons based on no evidence whatsoever!
Besides, unlike some places, it’s a lot less likely that an attack on Monsanto is going radicalize Matilda from accounting or result in Missouri descending into widespread anarchy and chaos.
Well, except maybe for nearby East St. Louis.
Note to Readers: For those of you wondering why I haven’t posted in nine months, I actually have a very good explanation.
December 19, 2012
But We Have to Do Something! And Apparently It Really Doesn’t Matter What.Naturally, people were horrified at the unspeakable atrocity visited upon Sandy Hook Elementary School this past Friday and want to know what measures are being taken to see to it that such tragedies are avoided in the future:
Q: What should we do?
A: First, we need to act as swiftly as we can.
A: It is commonly understood that the best decisions are usually made in the heat of the moment, when passions are highest and people are so blinded with grief or rage that they are willing to accept any solution no matter how pointless and ineffective.
A: Exactly! For example, Senator Joe Lieberman has already carefully laid out his reasoning for the need for more gun control. You’ll have to bear with us, it’s full of technocratic jargon (you know Joe!), but this is the kind level-headedness we need from our leaders at a time like this:
"We've got to continue to hear the screams of these children and see their blood until we do something?"
Q: That doesn’t sound that level headed. Does anybody have any specific proposals?
A: Well, University of Rhode Island Professor Erik Loomis has put forth a detailed plan meant to address the root causes of the tragedy:
“[I] want Wayne LaPierre’s head on a stick.”
A: That may be true, but as Professor Loomis puts it so eloquently,
“[F]*ck the NRA."
Q: Okay, are there any serious legislative proposals being made?
A: Of course there are. For example, Senator Diane Feinstein has called for a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban.
Q: The killer used one of the previously banned assault weapons?
Q: That doesn’t seem very productive.
A: Well, the White House has also proposed to require background checks at gun shows.
Q: The killer purchased his firearms at a gun show?
Q: Then how does it make any sense to propose a grab bag of gun control legislation most of which was already in place in Connecticut where the laws are among the toughest in the nation and did nothing to deter this?
A: What are you, some kind of monster? There are dead kids out there!
Q: It’s just that there are reasonable arguments as to the role gun rights play in securing civil rights and actually saving lives.
A: Do you like dead kids?
Q: What? No! Of course not.
A: Because it’s starting to sound like you like dead kids.
Q: No, it’s just that mass murders are actually down.
A: Dead kids.
Q: Schools have never been safer.
A: Dead kids.
Q: And these massacres occur almost exclusively in areas where the government has specifically banned guns strongly suggesting…
A: Dead kids.
Q: You’re not even trying now.
December 12, 2012
Fighting for the Working Man. No, Literally…There has been some controversy of late over a little tussle that occurred in Michigan where state legislators were voting on a “right to work” law that could potentially undermine union influence and power in the state. Naturally, union members turned out to protest the law however some people have misinterpreted their enthusiasm and vigor. To help clear things up we thought we’d address the confusion with a quick Q&A:
Q: What happened? It appeared that union members physically attacked people engaging in constitutionally protected free speech.
A: No, no, nothing could be further from the truth.
Q: Look at the video, one guy just started laying in on Steven Crowder with left and right roundhouse punches.
A: That was just a metaphor.
Q: A metaphor?
A: Sure. The individual was simply expressing the essential conflict between left and right common in non-parliamentary democracies in which two dominant parties yptically “fight it out” if you will, in the field of ideas.
Q: But he was literally punching the guy in the face in an actual field.
A: Think of his face as a canvas on which the union member/interpretive artist was painting a picture.
Q: The guy punched him in the face! This is absolutely outrageous and under no circumstances can it be allowed to go unpunished.
A: Whoa, whoa, easy on the inflammatory rhetoric there. You wouldn’t want to incite some Tea Party nut into engaging in violence, such as criticizing Obamacare, or possibly creating a sign expressing disapproval of the current administration.
Q: That’s violent?
A: Absolutely. Violent to anyone’s sense of fairness.
Q: What about actual violence, like physically tearing down a tent with people still inside?
A: That was a misunderstanding.
Q: What about the Michigan legislator who promised “there will be blood?”
A: Hey, that could mean anything.
Q: And why isn’t the media paying any attention to this? They turned over rocks looking for signs of Tea Party violence but they can’t be bothered to report on this?
A: Report on what?
Q: The union violence and threats from elected Democrats?
A: There was union violence and threats from elected Democrats?
A: Well, we didn’t read anything about that in the papers…
November 07, 2012
We Demand a Recount!
Okay, so our guy lost. But did he lose in the larger sense?
Yes, he lost there too.
But then, we do not feel we “wasted” our vote. After all, Mitt Romney is exactly the same amount of not president as Gary Johnson.
Still, Barack Obama is, by any measure that places a value on freedom, liberty, and self-determination, a miserable failure, and yet he still won. How could this be?
Because no one uses any measure that places a value on freedom, liberty, and self-determination. After all, freedom sounds kind of hard, liberty is probably a lot of work too, and self-determination might actually involve getting a job and moving out of your parent’s basement.
Free stuff on the other hand has three major attractions:
- It’s free.
- You don’t have pay for it.
- The price is $0.00.
We're starting to see the appeal
As you can see from the chart below, Barack Obama likes to give away free stuff.
You know you’re a big spender when you increase spending faster than strict fiscal disciplinary Republicans do.
Of course, we all expect free things from our government, like free water in disasters. Sure, you can’t get any, but at least it’s free.
Then there’s the free money the Federal Reserve creates out of thin air. Hey, it’s free!
You might be saying to yourself, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
Well, that all depends on which side of the table you’re sitting on, doesn't it.
In other news:
“With the election of progressive Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts and Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, Obama’s longtime backers feel the liberal spirit inside the president could be unleashed: climate change, gun control, and immigration reform perhaps heading to the top of the agenda.”
Does anyone know what the weather is like in the Cayman Islands this time of year?
November 05, 2012
Our Utterly Pointless Presidential EndorsementPresidential candidates do not typically covet a Planet Moron endorsement. There are several reasons for this:
1) They have never heard of Planet Moron.
Okay, there’s only one reason.
It also doesn’t help that the majority of Planet Moron readers are ineligible to vote due to prior felony convictions, lack of any fixed address, or the inability to climb out of the bottle long enough to fill out a voter registration card.
Be that as it may, we feel a duty to let our faithful reader(s) know where we stand in this election. To help follow our thinking, we thought we’d first highlight the issues that are most important to us this presidential cycle.
Not being assassinated by the president.
We have not been particularly concerned with this issue in prior presidential elections partly because we did not know that the President can assassinate American citizens.
We really need to keep up with current events better.
Regardless, we would very much prefer that the candidate we vote for does not believe he can kill us. Sorry, that may be considered extreme but there are just some things we are not willing to compromise on, and the President blowing us up together with our family, friends, and neighbors with Predator drones is just one of those things that kind of leaves a sour taste in our mouth.
Avoiding fiscal catastrophe
Trillion-dollar deficits may not seem like much, but consider this: If you were to line up one trillion one-dollar bills end to end they would reach from here to the moon and back again an extremely large number of times.
Yeah, it’s that much.
So, in order to get our vote, our candidate has to demonstrate he or she is serious about the deficit.
Rejecting the use of a leviathan government to trample what’s left of our freedoms
We are well aware of the fact that most people are for trampling people’s freedoms. Other people’s freedoms. Not theirs. Here at Planet Moron we don’t care what you do as long as you don’t bother us.
So, let’s see how the major candidates, President Obama, and Governor Romney, fare with our issues.
Avoiding fiscal catastrophe.
Both believe that is good in theory. In practice, not so much.
Rejecting leviathan government trampling our freedoms.
Both are pretty much good to go with a leviathan government trampling our freedoms.
Clearly, there’s a lot to think about there. In the meantime, let’s take a look at the minor-party candidates:
Virgil Goode, Constitution Party
“We must preserve and protect Social Security. Social Security is owed over two trillion dollars. Social Security should be repaid and have real money in the Social Security Trust Fund and not IOU's.”
Mr. Goode also believes the path to prosperity is through a trade war.
Rocky Anderson, Justice Party
Rocky Anderson feels strongly about our rights and freedoms and wants to repeal major parts of the Patriot Act. And then make unions more powerful, increase the minimum wage to $10 an hour and force us all to fight “climate change.”
Jill Stein, Green Party
“Create a Corporation for Economic Democracy, a new federal corporation (like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) to provide publicity, training, education, and direct financing for cooperative development and for democratic reforms to make government agencies, private associations, and business enterprises more participatory.”
No one knows what any of that means including Jill Stein.
Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party
For the most part, it appears that Gary Johnson isn't interested in killing us, leading us into fiscal catastrophe or trampling our freedoms.
It looks like we found our guy.
Will he win? No. But if he gets to 5% maybe, just maybe, we can start to turn this thing around.
And for those who suggest that we are “throwing our vote away,” well, so are you.Happy voting everyone, and not to worry, no matter who wins, we plan to be here over the next four years to document the perfidy, incompetence, and corruption, that will surely follow.
October 26, 2012
Economic PatronizingThis week the President released "Economic Patriotism: A Plan for Jobs & Middle Class Security," (pdf) a detailed roadmap consisting of many dozens of words including "middle class," "tax cuts," and "middle class."
Also, “middle class.”
And “tax cuts.”
In fact, here are some representative excerpts from the plan:
“I want to continue those tax cuts for middle-class families and for small businesses.”
Extending the middle-class income tax cuts… would prevent 97% of small business owners from facing a tax increase.
We can make college more affordable by continuing tax credits to help middle-class families afford college tuition.
The Obama Record: Cutting taxes for the Middle Class.
To strengthen the middle class, President Obama passed wide-ranging tax relief.
And the President has provided new tax cuts to help the middle class afford higher education and health care.
The plan makes sure millionaires aren’t paying lower tax rates than many middle-class families.
President Obama’s plan keeps middle-class tax cuts in place.”
Keep in mind the plan is only 11 pages long.
Regardless, it is pretty clear that the President believes the middle class needs middle class tax cuts for the middle class.
Additionally, the President’s plan includes the most important element of any economic policy agenda if it’s going to be taken at all seriously:
A thoroughly detailed and specific set of pictures of Barack Obama.
In fact, on every single page the small text is crowded out by huge, glossy, full-color pictures of Barack Obama.
What do these pictures tell us the President is going to do if he is reelected?
For one, he is going to eat breakfast. Experts will tell you that breakfast is the most important jobs plan of the day.
He is also going to bother you at work.
Even if that means standing at high, overly reflective counters to no obvious purpose.
He will also come over to your house and watch your children.
He will consult with your doctors regarding the proper course of your treatment.
And he will wear Dockers on casual Friday.
Finally, we have a reason to vote for a President, rather than just against his opponent.