Friday, January 29, 2010

Bon voyage à Port-au-Prince, ma coeur

We just got word yesterday. Mrs. Unknown is off to Haiti. Business. Not pleasure. Though it's hard having one's wife go off into such perilous conditions, I know she's in good hands (yeah, I'm talkin' to you, Kickball King!). And, though Pooh and I have done it before, it sure is awkward running this tricycle on only two wheels. However, we are proud as hell of Mommy. And we love her with all our hearts.

Good luck, babe!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Campbell to Kyl: Stop Being A ...

In one of the first signs that Obama's reaching out to Republicans in last night's State of the Union Address has him coming back with a nub, Arizona Republican, Sen. Jon Kyl, this morning admonished Obama to "stop whining" on National Public Radio. Kyl went on to elaborate, "I would have thought by now he would have stopped blaming the Bush administration for the mess that he inherited, and I don't think the American people want a whiner who says,'woe is me.'"

In a rare fit of "partisan rancor," Tome of the Unknown Writer's own Bill Campbell has issued a state responding to Kyl:

"Yo, Kyl! Stop being a cocksucker!!!"

Campbell appeared to almost instantly back away from the statement:

"Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against those who like to practice such deeds. Some of my best friends enjoy being cocksuckers, and I support them in their activities. I have often said that fellatio is one of the greatest gifts a man can receive."

But then, Campbell went on to say:

"But Jon Kyl and his Republican cronies have got to be the biggest bunches of cocksuckers America has seen since the segregationist Dixiecrats. They're nothing but a bunch of Welfare Queens, getting paid six figures a year to sit on their asses, eat bonbons, and bitch about how the government ain't doing enough for 'em! It's government waste and fraud at its highest!!!

"They're just delusional! From Alito's catatonic headshaking, 'It's not twoo. It's not twoo,' when Obama told SCOTUS to their faces how they just gave corporations a blank check to buy American elections for time immemorial to John Boehner's talking about how health care reform is 'the greatest threat to American liberty I've seen in my 19 years in Washington.' Yo bitch, ever hear of the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act?!!!

"Thirty years of Reaganism and eight years of Bush has wreaked a nationwide Katrina on this country, and we still find ourselves wallowing in our own shit. And it oddly smells like elephant dung!

"Yet these assholes don't even have the decency to get out a broom and disinfectant and help clean up the mess. Instead, they keep massaging the pachyderm's asshole, hoping to coax more fecal matter onto this country!!!

"It's time for these Republicans to either shut the fuck up, get to work, or gets to gittin'! I'm tired of their bullshit!!!"

After which, a hyperventilating Campbell returned to work and his second cup of coffee for the day.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

R.I.P. Howard Zinn

All right. I just saw this. Historian Howard Zinn died today in Santa Monica of a heart attack.

Yeah, I know the man was 87, but I'm still stunned.

I've got nothing to say right now--except thank God Howard Zinn lived on this Earth. His A People's History of the United States was one of those rare histories (along with Vincent Harding's There Is a River that really changed my life. I got to spend an evening with Harding once (a dream come true). I only wish I could've done the same with Zinn.

Obama Ain't Done Sheeeeeeeet ... But What Have We Done?

As The Big Brutha prepares to make his first State of the Union address tonight, there sure is a lotta folks wailing at walls and gnashing at teeth around this great land of ours. For the past couple months, the left wing of Air Blogosphere has exploded with vitriol over Obama's seeming lack of accomplishment (especially when it comes to their own particular agenda--whatever it be). And since Republican Scott Brown was elected to Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, it's gone nuclear with more fervor and rage than one can really explain.

While the Right wing has been complaining that Obama's been doing too much, those on the Left have been utterly apoplectic, spluttering, "Obama ain't done this. Obama ain't done that. Obama ain't done it with a wiffle ball bat." Because the Live Prez has somehow failed them in one arena or another in his first 12 months, they are starting to view him as an utter failure and are wondering how his Presidency can be "salvaged."

The odd thing about this madness is that all this sound and fury really is being told by idiots (yours truly included) and doesn't only signify nothing--but is pure delusion. Obama has already had five pieces of major legislation passed:

--Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

--Matthew Sheppard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act

--Repealed the stem cell research ban

--An expanded version of the State Children's Health Insurance Program

--The dreaded Stimulus Package

In fact, Obama's accomplished more than H.W., Carter, and Reagan did in their first year. Bush Babee got five, but two were 9/11-related. Clinton also got five pieces through. If you also throw in all the policy initiatives that he reportedly threw into the stimulus, as one reporter put it, he's had the most successful first year of any president since LBJ.

Oh yeah, and remember how we had eight years of deregulation regulators all throughout the government? Remember our poisoned spinach? Poisoned dog food? Poisoned dry wall, for godsakes?

Remember how SEC officials were handing Bernie Madoff their resumes? And how Interior Department officials, who sold mineral rights, were literally caught in bed with oil company employees?

Oh yeah, and what about motherfuckin' Hurricane Katrina?!!!

FEMA, FDA, SEC, ACC, the Big East, and the Big Ten! The past eight years have been an alphabet clusterfuck soup of governmental incompetence with the "You're doing a good job, Brownie" W. stamp of approval. A mess that, if scuttlebutt around town is to be believed, Obama's steadily cleaning up all the while trying his best to shut the "revolving door" between government officials and lobbyists, while Republicans fight damn near his every nomination.

And has anybody heard about how Obama's Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's kicking oil and mining interests out of our public lands and putting up windmills?

But none of this matters, of course. None of it is enough. "He needs to focus on jobs." As soon as he stepped into office, he got that $787 billion stimulus package (he'd wanted $1.2 trillion) through to save hundreds of thousand state employees from getting laid off and start or continue public works projects. But that's not focusing on jobs. He saved Detroit (which I was against) and tons of suppliers and dealerships. But that's not focusing on jobs either.

He stepped into office looking another Great Depression in the face while being engaged in two wars. The financial mess was 30 years in the making, but somehow he's supposed to fix it in 12 months. Bush, Paulson, and Congress gave Wall Street a $700 billion check and said, "Do what you want?" And while Geithner's got to go, Obama gets slammed for Wall Street's excesses.

Every time he tries to address these problems, the Right says he's doing too much; the Left, too little. And if he actually accomplishes something, we still say, "Obama ain't done shit."

Sure, it comes with the territory. This is politics, after all. But this all reminds me of that scene from Blazing Saddles, when Cleavon Little dispatches the town terror, Mongo, with an explosive candygram. Gene Wilder says, "Nice idea you had there with the candygram." Whereby, Cleavon Little resignedly sighs, "Yeah. But they probably won't give me credit for it, anyway."

Now, many Lefties will counter that he doesn't really deserve credit for any of it because he didn't get health care passed. So they conclude that, you guessed it, "Obama ain't done shit."

Now, this disappointment is to be expected. As I said before, Obama had been adopted as a sort of Messianic figure (just as Reagan and Clinton before him). We won't admit it, but we really wanted him to deliver us out of the wilderness. And while we didn't expect it to be instant--we kinda did. We set ourselves up for disappointment (as I'd promised), and now we've got it.

The thing is, in all that magnificent oratory Obama delivered during the campaign, filling us with "hope" for "change," there was one message of his we've all conveniently forgotten: we were supposed to be the agents for change.

In speech after speech, interview after interview, Obama said that the only thing that could combat the lobbyists and special interests and get Congress off their payola-plump posteriors was if we got out there and pulled them off their seats--you know, "people power." Yet, during this entire health care "debate," where were we?

When I went to a health care town hall meeting, I saw protesters all right. These people:

Oops. Sorry. I meant these people:

Damn. I meant these people:

Well, you get the idea.

Oh yeah, the Right heard Obama's message and acted. Dick Armey, Glenn Beck, Michelle Bachmann, and the Tea Baggers mobilized the troops. And while they represented less than 20 percent of public sentiment on the issue, they not only paralyzed the debate, they took that sumbitch over.

Yet, where were the 70 percent of folks who said they actually wanted health care reform? Better yet, where were all the people who claim to be liberal, Left, Progressive? Here we had a Democratic White House and Congress being besieged by Republicans, Fox News, lobbyists, and Tea Baggers, and we, the people who'd supposedly "fought" for health care for some 20 years now, were nowhere to be found.

At the town hall meeting I'd attended, there were liberals in the crowd. But we were few and far between, and, when the Tea Baggers started chanting for the cameras, few, if any rose their own voices in counter-protest and, when they did, they were timid and mousy and frankly seemed scared.

The Republicans brought the ruckus. This debate was a street fight, and they came with sticks and knives and brass knuckles and bazookas. We didn't even bring a motherfucking guitar to sing "Kumbayah." Hell, we didn't even bother to show up.

Those who used to call themselves Progressives, etc., back in the day would be ashamed. Unions during the Progressive Era faced cops with their billy clubs and guns, Pinkerton boys and their private armies. They faced Gatling guns, people! Civil Rights activists faced the Klan, FBI, cops, assassins' bullets, firebombs, and lynchings. We today couldn't even bother to get in our cars and go shout down a bunch of rednecks.

No, we'd rather sip on our lattes, watch Stewart and Colbert, get snarky on our blogs, and feel morally superior. Instead of joining the street fight, we tsk-tsked the Tea Baggers, clicked a Cause button on our Facebook, and acted like we did some shit.

So, right after you slam The Big Brutha for not doing anything about health care, ask yourself what you did. Most of you didn't protest against the Tea Baggers. You certainly didn't pull off a March on Washington. But the Tea Baggers did.

Oh wait. I know. You signed that MoveOn petition, didn't you?

Well, it looks like it just wasn't enough, was it?

When it comes to politics in this country, like it or not, we get what we deserve. During that whole debacle last year, we saw the fight. We saw the Republicans and Tea Baggers go at our President with guns blazing. We saw the Dems cringe and go lick their wounds on Corporate America's teat. We saw it all.

I'm not saying that things would've been different. Who knows? But we made it all too easy for everyone involved. None of these politicians had angry citizens banging at their doors demanding health care reform. The lobbyists were at the door. The Tea Baggers were at the door. But not the 70 percent of folks who said they wanted health care reform. We weren't there. We didn't make it uncomfortable for them.

To put it bluntly, people, we didn't do shit.

And who's to blame for that, liberals? Obama? The Corporcrats? The Tea Baggers? Or us?

PS. I know this is what we all were expecting when Obama took office ...

But that shit only happens in movies.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sean Payton Made a Deal with the Devil

[Original deleted transcript from the Fox telecast of the New Orleans Saints' 31-28 overtime victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game earlier today. Yes, once again, Fox hides the truth.]

Joe Buck: Sean Payton, you are the first head coach to lead the New Orleans Saints to the Super Bowl. What did you do to get here?

Sean Payton: It was 1791. I was just a young, impressionable lad in Haiti, living under the oppressive yoke of the French. All the bloodshed. All the brutality. It had to stop.

So, one night, my Haitian brothers and sisters and I got together. We danced. We sang. We prayed. And we called upon our master, Satan, to save us from Napoleon's despotism.

JB: Really?

SP: Well, that's what they wanted. I was a white boy. I wanted to coach the greatest team in the history of football. I got this job instead. It makes sense when you think about it. I guess he wanted to keep me close.

But hell, it's about time the Devil's finally come through on his deal.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Andrew Sullivan and Balls Beer

With all that's happened this week--with the special election in Mass. and the Supreme Court shoveling tons of money into Republican coffers--it's been a time of despair for those of us on the Left. Lord knows, I've succumbed to it myself. But yesterday, Andrew Sullivan made some incredibly excellent points about the challenges ahead:

"Look at what we are facing right now: a take-no-prisoners right, empowered by a massive new wave of corporate money unleashed by the Supreme Court, able to wield a 41 seat minority to oppose anything Obama wants, setting up a cycle of failure for a president whom they can then pillory at the polls, and unrepentant about near-dictatorial powers for the presidency, and the routinization of torture in the American government. These forces cannot be appeased. They simply have to be confronted."

Read the entire article here. It is well worth it.

And he's right. If things look like shit right now, just think of the diarrhea of woe that will be showering us for years to come if the Republicans have their way. So, it's time to get back out there and give better than we get.

And if it gets too tough, if you can't pick yourself up off the mat, finish the match, and kiss your beloved Adrienne, just watch this ad for some good, old-fashioned 'Merican inspiration:


Friday, January 22, 2010

You Think the Health Care "Debate" Was Bad ... Just Wait

There was not a single progressive, liberal, and/or Democrat in this country who did not wake up Wednesday morning with a WTF?! Moment staring them straight in the face. As we all know, the night before the People's Republic of Massachusetts did the unthinkable and elected a Republican, Scott Brown, to fill Ted Kennedy's vacant seat in the US Senate.

Since one of the major keys to his election was Brown's staunch opposition to health care reform (which he seems to be backpedaling on a little already), everybody's pretty much thrown in the towel on health care reform. Obama's said that he didn't want Congress to ram anything through before Brown's seated; Reid halted all proceedings in the Senate; and yesterday, Pelosi declared that she didn't have the votes to pass the Senate version of the bill in the House to pull an effective end-around and get the legislation through. Sure, Republicans are disingenuously claiming that they simply want to start over--but how can they possibly further water down such an amazingly ersatz bill and still call the end result "reform"?

So, one must assume that this health care legislation which has tied up our government for almost a year has gone down in flames.

There's plenty of blame to go around, but this loss will ultimately be his to swallow. But hey, every Icarus has his Sun. As many have often pointed out, no American President had ever been able to pull off significant health care reform. But what I think is more important is something I heard on the radio on Wednesday: no significant piece of progressive legislation has been passed into law since the Nixon administration.

Now, Nixon's presidency was what I consider to be the logical conclusion of the New Deal/Great Great Society era in American governance--where Uncle really thought he could solve everyone's daily problems. Nixon's dabbling with price and wage controls in the face of stag- and inflation sounded the era's death knell. Watergate simply confirmed it. Ford and Carter were the wake. And then, in 1980 the US woke to "Morning in America" and the Reagan era.

Of course, no major, progressive legislation would be passed when even the sole Democratic president proclaimed that "The era of Big Government is over."

But Obama's election was supposed to spell the end to all that. After all, the Bush Babee administration took us to Reaganism's logical conclusion: repeated tax cuts despite massive government spending gave us record-shattering deficits; a "Government is the problem" mentality became all too true when the FDA couldn't even protect us from poisoned broccoli and dog food; no one was around to protect us from toxic children's toys; EMA was nowhere to be found during Katrina; cowboy militarism and the "Imperial President" have given us two wars, "extraordinary rendition," and torture; we've eroded our manufacturing base to the point that China actually manufactures our smart bombs; and large-scale deregulation led to the greatest financial collapse since the Great Depression.

In the face of all this, we elected Democrats to, we hoped, right the ship. Finally, we'd get people in there who actually believed in governance, who could run FEMA, end the wars, fix this Wall Street debacle, and get us back on the right track.

Health care was to be the first, shining example of this new age. After all, the Dems had the White House and unprecedented majorities in both houses of Congress. The Republicans simply didn't have the power and votes to stop them.

So, we imagined Pelosi or Reid coming out, saying something like, "We've been studying this problem for the last 20 years. Here are the pros and cons of our system. These are the things we'll be cherry-picking from those countries with universal coverage. And we're going with _________________." Thereby ending one of the many grievous matters that is crippling this country and its citizenry.

Sure, we knew that no American president had ever been able to pull this off before. But what we didn't realize that, as I stated before, no piece of progressive legislation has become law since the friggin' Nixon administration.

Yes, Reagan happened in the interim. But so had Bill Clinton. His liberal-conservative-Democrat "triangulation," where he talked about lending a helping hand to "the people" while really constantly having his hand out to take corporations' money and constantly scratching their backs, has been the prevailing model for most of these Dem pols for almost 20 years now. You might as well call him the Patron Saint of the Blue Dog.

But, more importantly, the nature and expense of political campaigns has changed dramatically. Presidential campaigns run into the hundreds of millions; Senate and House races run in the tens of millions; and even local contests around the country cost seven figures.

And it seems, in order to raise millions, you've got to already have millions. We simply don't have too many working- and/or middle-class politicians in either house in either party fighting the good fight for the "little man." Oh, they give good lip service. They certainly "feel your pain." But they are so far removed from any of the suffering. These "pains" they speak of are no more than abstract concepts--you know, like Calculus 2--in their minds.

Even if this weren't the case and Archie Bunker, Fred Sanford, Chico and the Man were running things alongside Maud, we'd still have to look at the money flooding into their campaigns and who's providing those funds. We know you can't raise all that dough at a couple of bake sales. We know that our nation's political leaders have to constantly spoon our nation's business leaders for all them cookies.

After all, people get you votes, but money gets you elected. These two camps don't necessarily have to be at odds with each other, but they almost always are. This can only lead to conflict. And in almost every conflict, those with the biggest guns constantly win the war.

This is especially true with the health care debate and its apparent demise. No, the Republicans didn't have the Dems cowering in the Senate with their impotent 40 votes. No, the Teabaggers didn't have them quaking in their boots. Glenn Beck's insane ass wasn't riding roughshod over Congress. The American people weren't storming the barricades demanding anyone's head.

In fact, even through all the madness, the American people showed unwavering support for health care reform through most of '09. It wasn't until recent months that people had finally become disgusted with the process. Senator-Elect Brown claims that voters were turned off by the "sausage-making" of legislation.

I disagree. It wasn't the sausage-making at all. I'm a fan of Italian sausage and German bratwurst. If we would've gotten something like that--a perfect piece of spicy pork perfection--we would've been satisfied. Instead, the Dems were trying to cram a tasteless lump of lard in intestinal casings that promised to leave us fat, bloated, broke, and still in need of serious health care.

No, it was the obvious buckling the Dems did in the face of their corporate donors. It was Obama's meeting with the insurance companies, and saying, "Single-payer's off the table," before serious debate had even begun. How Big Pharma left the White House bragging that they were still going to be able to charge us whatever they wanted for their drugs. It was Max Baucus dismissing the public option because way too many private interests contribute to his campaign slush funds.

It was finding out that every delay, every compromise, every setback, every challenge the Dems faced was being thrown up by fellow Dems who were somehow on the health care industry's payroll.

(And don't even get me started on how the Democrats were leading the charge to roll back reproductive rights!!!)

It was becoming all-too-clear that the Democrats now serve two masters--corporate donors and real, live people--and that we people were clearly losing the battle. We expect that shit from Republicans. That's why we voted them out of office. We weren't expecting it from the Democrats. They're liberal! They're progressive! They serve the people! The common man!

But how long has that not been the case. Remember, no progressive legislation since Nixon. What have Democrats considered "progressive" since then? The Great Society? No. How about the Family and Medical Leave Act?

Sure, you can leave your job and return to it if you happen to have a six-week emergency. But you won't get paid in the interim (perhaps causing a minor financial emergency in one's family). And what happens when your emergency runs into the seventh week?

How about COBRA? Sure, if you lose your job, you can keep your medical insurance ... and pay 10 times more than your employer ever paid for the same benefits. And how are you supposed to pay for it when you're un ... em ... ployed?!!!

The Democrats' brand of Progressivism never really seems to address the problem, seems to oddly benefit the employer, and, if used, ends up costing us commoners more than if the law had never been passed in the first place.

The same was probably going to be true with their health care "reform" legislation. They were going to cram mandates down our throats, force us all to buy insurance, and never, ever cap what insurers could charge us. They were going to force insurers to take us if we had pre-existing conditions, but they were going to let those insurers still bankrupt us for those pre-existing conditions. And we were going to be legally bound to keep that insurance ... all the way to the poor house.

Who would that bit of "Progress" really have benefited? We commoners or the Democrats' corporate donors?

But that's what the Corporate Democratic Party offers in the form of relief these days. Their brand of Progressivism leaves their corporate donors relatively unscathed and sometimes even flush, while they dump bags of shit on our heads and call it sunshine. Then they charge us exorbitant rates for the privilege and expect us to praise them for their generosity. After all, it's not every day you get to go to bankruptcy court covered in shit.

That's why this health care debate was so long and convoluted and painful: they just hadn't figured out a way to turn shit to sunshine.

But what's even sadder about this charade is that it may just be the last time Dems even try to pull it off in the foreseeable future. With yesterday's Supreme Court decision to destroy the caps on corporate campaign spending, one can only assume that corporations and their bottomless coffers will be the deciding factor in any election in which they choose to participate (read: "every election").

They will simply have the power to contribute as much as they want to the candidate of their choosing, flood any local market with favorable ads for that candidate and attack ads against their opponent. They'll be able to reward politicians with untold campaign riches if they vote their way and rain down fire and brimstone on any heretic who dares to oppose their will.

Last year, the health care industry spent tens of millions of dollars lobbying against reform. Just imagine what they'll spend if the issue's brought up again. If a bill promising them 30 million new, captive customers was too "radical," one can only scream in horror at the health care "reform" they'd actually approve.

And what about other issues? Climate change? Any kind of environmental legislation? Transportation bills? What about ending the wars? Will Halliburton protect its billions it's making by spending millions saying, "The terrorists will win!!!" if we pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan?

Bank re-regulation? Obama finally FINALLY!!! came out yesterday talking about re-regulating the banks, breaking them up, separating commercial banking from investment banking, in order to protect the American public and our tax dollars from another financial meltdown. Yet, we've already heard the pundits saying that those reforms are already dead in the water in Congress.

In light of this sweeping Supreme Court decision, you've gotta think they're right. If anybody has the money (our money, you sons-of-bitches!!!) to influence the way Congress votes, it's most definitely the banks. What politicians will have the moxie to stand in the face of the billions of dollars of wrath the banks can rain down on them?

So, you best be ready to kiss bank re-regulation good-bye.

Kiss health care reform good-bye.

Kiss any progressive legislation in the near future good-bye.

Oh yeah, and Roberts, Thomas, "Scalito," and Kennedy ...



Thursday, January 21, 2010

Electronic Booty for Valentine's Day!!!

That's right! My Booty Novel is now available in PDF form for you bashful readers (afraid to read something called "My Booty Novel" on the train) with a little kink hiding in your closet.

Available now at Lulu, you can download your copy of My Booty Novel for $5 and read all the wickedness and twisted humor in the privacy of your own iPhone, Sony Reader, Mac, or PC.

It's the perfect gift for yourself, for the ones you love, or just that special someone you want to say, "Hey! I was thinking about you today. Read this."

So, download your copy of My Booty Novel today:

And for you Old School readers out there with no shame in your game, the hard copy is still available at Amazon:

And for those of you who have absolutely no clue what My Booty Novel is all about, read below:

Thirty-two-year-old writer Damian Cross has just returned from a disastrous first book tour only to be dumped by his fiancée. Now, newly-single for the first time in seven years, he has to pick up the pieces, start his life all over again, and write a second novel.

Damian blogs his way through today's dating scene and all its hazards-online dating, biological clocks, single mothers and their children, well-meaning friends, ex-girlfriends, and his meddling, matchmaking cousin-to find that the only thing that stands between him and success may actually be himself. Can Damian stop his world from crumbling around him and get it together in time to gain a chance at true happiness and write the "booty novel" everyone's telling him to write?


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Introducing ... The 40Madnizz Crew!!!

OK, I've never been much of an artist--and this being the first time I've drawn in eight years didn't help matters much--but here they are ...


Comic strip soon to follow!!!


Jellybean Benitez

DJ Scratch N Sniff

Axeman Rhoads

Skin & Bonez


Friday, January 15, 2010

R.I.P. Teddy Pendergrass

Yeah, I know I'm a little late with this, but "Love T.K.O." deserves as many airings as possible. 'Sides, you gotta really dig all the disco slow dancing and '70s ass in this old Soul Train clip, you jive turkeys.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pat Robertson: "Haiti Made a Deal with the Devil"

Yes, that same "man of God" who said that 9/11 happened because:

"We have sinned against Almighty God, at the highest level of our government, we've stuck our finger in your eye. The Supreme Court has insulted you over and over again, Lord. They've taken your Bible away from the schools. They've forbidden little children to pray. They've taken the knowledge of God as best they can, and organizations have come into court to take the knowledge of God out of the public square of America."

while his boy, Jerry Falwell, pointed the finger at all "the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America" has now declared that the wrath of God has struck Haiti because they "made a deal with the Devil" back during their revolution in the early 1800s.

Here, watch for yourself:

Of course, this "keeper of the faith" has failed to tell his teleparishioners about how he has taken their divinely-inspired contributions to make very earthly, very real deals with more than one devil himself.

Why don't you tell them about your Freedom Gold Limited and how you cut deals with Liberia's Charles Taylor while he was conducting his genocidal war in Liberia?

Or how about the deals you cut with one of Africa's bloodiest dictators, then-Zaire's Mobutu Sese Seko, to mine diamonds from that poverty- and terror-struck nation?

Tell them how you took their donations they gave you to use in the service of God and used your tax-exempt Operation Blessing planes to send "relief aid" to those Zairian diamond mines?

Will you confess to them how you abandoned your Mobutu-Devil after decades of "friendship" for the new Kabila-Devil when it looked like the latter was going to win Zaire's civil war and you might lose your diamond mines?

I know that confession is a Catholic thing, and your brand of Religious Righteousness is some sort of bastardized version of ... of ...?

But you oughtta try it, Pat. Have that Jimmy Swaggart moment. Go before your "church." Tell them how you've sinned. How you've slept with so many devils so many times that they've named an STD after you in Hell.

Actually, skip all that. Just rot in hell, you hypocritical, debased, bigoted bastard!


Oh, Ayiti ...

For the past few days I've been trying to think about what I'd write about the recent earthquake in Haiti. But, in all honesty, I just can't find the words. The situation is just too depressing.

Though I've never been there, Haiti holds a special place in my heart. My "bestest friend in the whole world" is Haitian. I consider it the second coolest island in the Caribbean (Daddy's Jamaica is first, of course). Their heroes--L'Ouverture, Dessalines, Boukman--are my heroes. The religion that may or may not (wink, wink, nod, nod) inhabit the island was a monumental influence on the writing of my first novel, Sunshine Patriots. And they (and yellow fever) did something thought utterly impossible at the time: defeated Napoleon. And that revolution served as a specter that haunted the American South all the way up until ... the signing at Appomattox? ... the 1965 Voting Rights Act? ... Obama's election?

I know that Haiti has been bathed in tragedy ever since that revolution 200 years ago and that this weekend's earthquake is just the latest deluge that island has been made to suffer. Still, amongst the tragedy, any blog post I could come up with would just be different, more articulate iterations of "This sucks."

However, wherever words fail, music can often step in and fill the void. So, I've decided to share these two Haitian classics (Rara Machine and Boukman Eksperyans) with yall. After all, even clouded in misery, people should never forget to dance.

PS. Special shout out goes to Serge Declama. You taught me a lot during our brief association. I hope all is as well as could be expected in this situation.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Law & Order: Leno Victims Unit

All right, these late night hosts are having waaaayyyyy too much fun ripping into NBC and Leno--including Leno himself. You gotta check this out. Craig Ferguson calling NBC execs "lying rat bastards." Conan O'Brien and Howie Mandel doing a Deal or No Deal skit pertaining to O'Brien's future career choices. Jimmy Kimmel doing his entire show as Jay Leno. I usually don't watch too much late night 'cause even an unknown writer needs his "beauty sleep," but this stuff is well-worth watching. Meanwhile, check out Letterman's idea for a new show to fill NBC's gaping chasm at 10 o'clock.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Am Shocked! Shocked!!! I Say

I tell ya, there must be a phrase out there for all the totally unexpected bombshells that have hit the news, things we never saw coming that have rocked our world recently. I guess the only phrase I can come up with is "Shock and Awe." And, I must confess, I am shocked! Shocked!!! I say ...

I mean, who woulda ever thunk that the Mark McGwire would actually confess to using steroids during his baseball career? I mean, just because he was photographed during his home-run record run with a bottle of steroids--just because when he testified before Congress about steroid use, he said, "I'm not here to discuss the past. I'm here to be positive" [emphasis added]--just because he "gained" like 100 lbs. of "muscle" from the minor leagues to the majors didn't mean he was juicing. Right? Right? No, this came as a total surprise to all us baseball fans. Completely out of left field. Oh, I guess I mean first base.

And isn't it absolutely, completely, and utterly surprising that Commissioner Bud Selig took this opportunity to say that they've done a really good job in cleaning up steroids from baseball? {cough} Albert Pujols {cough}.

And wasn't it just mind-blowing how Tony LaRussa, the man who has coached both McGwire and Jose Conseco--and oh yeah, Albert Pujols--had the temerity, the duplicity, the ... the ... the Scritti Politti to say that he knew absolutely nothing about the juicing and that he runs "a clean program"?

And what? What could've been more shocking than hearing the news that former Alaskan governor and Republican VP candidate, Sarah Palin, has given up all political aspirations to become a political commentator on Fox News? I mean, the real surprise is that she had any political aspirations left after leaving the governorship to go on a book tour. Oh, Sarah. Why? Why?

And all this just before a new tell-all book, Game Change, is coming out talking about how mentally unstable you were on the campaign trail. Oh, to fall so far, so fast. I mean, QVC wasn't hiring?

And who was not absolutely floored when the Grand Douchess of Football, Danielle Snyder, fired yet another coach, Jim Zorn, to hire his seventh coach in 10 years, Mike Shanahan. I mean, this model of consistency within an organization (unlike those mercurial Steelers who have had fewer head coaches in my lifetime than the Vatican has had Popes) has yet again surprised us all with its own form of mavericky politicking.

And the sagacious Snyder has once again shown that he consults the legendary John Madden (the video game--not the actual coach) when making these important football decisions. The players he picks up are always ranked 90 or better on the game (Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, Antwan Randle El, Brandon Lloyd, Jeff George, Albert Haynesworth, Jason Taylor, etc.) and always seem close to their 90th birthdays when he signs them to $90-million contracts.

But, to be consistent, he referred back to his Madden '98 to pick his new coach. Back when Shanahan was considered a genius. Of course, if he looks back at that '98 Broncos roster, he may be shocked to see that Shanahan was then coaching John Elway and Terrell Davis. I don't see either of those guys on the Redskins '10 roster. Hm....

OK, I wasn't so shocked and not really all that surprised that the Ravens beat the Patriots on Sunday. With their revamped, rookie defense, I felt that Pats' 10-6 record was all smoke-and-mirrors, anyway. But the way the Ravens utterly cleared that smoke away and smashed those mirrors to smithereens to hand the Pats their asses to them was shocking.

However, I was shocked at that 51-45 Cardinals/Packers game. I mean, has no one heard of defense? Man, I thought somewhere along the way I had stopped watching an NFL playoff game and was somehow kicking Dabalou's ass yet again in Madden. I mean, Kurt Warner threw more touchdown passes than incomplete passes! What the hell kind of madness is that?!!!

I was utterly shocked to find that Congressional Quarterly just released a report, stating that 2009 was "the most partisan year ever" in Congress. So, all those videos I've been watching of Congress getting together, holding hands, and singing, "Kumbayah!" together were what? Fox News propaganda?!

I mean, I know Joe Wilson yelled at the President while he was addressing Congress. Something about, "You lie," or something. And I know John Boehner said that the new health care bill was something like the most egregious "attack on our freedom that I've ever seen in my 19 years in Congress." But I figured he just misspoke, right? I mean, he had heard of the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act, hadn't he? And sure, Michelle Bachmann has ... well ... lost her gotdamned mind. But I just assumed that these were rare discordant notes in the harmony which is Congress. To hear that 72 percent of last year's Senate's votes are considered partisan and that it is the highest percentage in the history of the Senate ... well, that just doesn't add up.

And I simply can't believe the diminution of math skills that has hit the Right. Now, apparently, such Conservative luminaries as Rudy Giuliani, Monica Crowley, and Bill O'Reilly, pillars of integrity all!, are claiming that there were absolutely no domestic terrorist attacks under W. and three under Obama. And what they consider "terrorist attacks" is just astounding. Apparently, "America's Mayor" was on an elevator the other day with a young Libyan named Muhammad when the offending Muslim farted. Little did we know that methane is a "weapon of mass destruction" (or a "by-product of food consumption," one can never be sure). But, according to Giuliani, that counts as a domestic terror attack.

I guess what they say is true: 2 + 2 &ne 9/11.


The Hannity-to-Palin Song of the Day

The way that fool, Sean Hannity, has been masturbating gushing over ... No, wait. That works. Let me start over.

The way that fool, Sean Hannity, has been masturgushing over the former Alaskan governor for the past 18 months, who would be surprised if Sean Sean suddenly loses his mind and serenades Malibu Barbie, now that she is officially part of the Fox News team, with this timeless classic right there on the set ... yellow earrings, shoulder pads, and all?


Monday, January 11, 2010

The Housing Crisis, Writ Miniscule

[AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'd wanted to rant about this while it was actually happening, but my paranoia knows no bounds. I wanted to make sure we got that mortgage first.]

As most of you know, my wife and I recently purchased our first home. In the 'burbs. I wanted to move back into the city. Desperately. Though where we lived is considered an incredibly "well-serviced" area--of the 'burbs--there is absolutely nothing within a two-mile radius of our old apartment. I had to drive, drive, drive everywhere--to the store, to any restaurant, to the bathroom. My morning commute of driving Mrs. Unknown to the train, dropping Pooh off at daycare, and going to work--all pretty much in the same town--took me over an hour every day.

I know most Americans live this life, but I wanted to leave it all behind. Most of my adult life has been spent in cities. I just feel more comfortable in them. And I really loved living in DC proper. With the city's lack of voting rights and Congress' continuously running roughshod over the District, it's the perfect place for a Lefty with a chip on his shoulder. I consider it Nirvana.

So, moving back within city limits was my main priority when we Unknowns started looking for our first home.

But DC's a tricky proposition. Like most US cities, it is rapidly regentrifying and has probably already lost its "Chocolate City" status. Even so, DC is split between the professional class and those who serve them. There is no real middle class (though households pulling in over six figures and living in million-dollar homes constantly lie to themselves, considering themselves middle class when they're really in the Top 10 Percent). Those who are actually middle class--administrative position-holders, teachers, police, etc.--have mostly been relegated to the 'burbs. What you have left is a disturbing dichotomy between rich and poor. You have some of the most educated and least educated living in the District. Some of the nation's best and worst schools. Some of the safest neighborhoods and the most dangerous. It's no surprise, then, that housing reflects this stark dichotomy.

For example, the average house in the neighborhood (where hardly any crime exists) we used to rent in costs about $1.4 million. It's not, by any means, the most expensive neighborhood in the city, but the cheaper, equally safe neighborhoods don't lag too far behind. But even the gentrifying spots are more expensive ($400K+) and still a bit dangerous (one place I was coveting had a kid shot in the head in the middle of the day in front of a grocery store while we were still searching). So, you can just imagine what the really affordable neighborhoods are like. It wouldn't have mattered as much before Pooh, but now, I don't want one of my daughter's childhood skills to be ducking bullets. How would that look on a resume?

So yeah, it was a long and arduous search, and I was just about to give up when I found the perfect place. It was an attached, foreclosed rowhouse in an actual middle class neighborhood yet to be gentrified. It had two floors, four bedrooms, a basement, and a weird deck two feet off the ground. It had a surprising amount of space for a DC rowhouse and even had a little backyard for Pooh to run around in.

But there were also some serious problems. The roof was shot to all hell. You could see all the water damage along the ceiling and down the top-floor walls. Also, the plumbing was shot, yes, to shit. There was more than one sink in the place clogged to the brim with a muck I prayed wasn't fecal. And the water damage on the first-floor walls was tremendous.

Still, it wasn't the worst foreclosed property we'd looked at during our search. And, the contractor informed us, these problems were nothing $40-60,000 couldn't fix. The only major problem left was the bank. And it was a major problem. They were asking $299,000.

Now, in a posh or "up-and-coming" neighborhood, this amount would've kept my eyes in their sockets. After all, who wouldn't gladly spend $350K, knowing their house would automatically be valued at $400-500K after repairs? But we looked. The houses in that hood (with only two exceptions) were going for $230K.

So, I offered $210K. I thought it was reasonable enough. Without those fixes, the house was unlivable. And, with surrounding prices, the house's worth post-fix would basically be what we would've put into it. Fair enough. My realtor thought so. The bank's realtor was on our offer like white on rice. That house had been sitting unsold for quite awhile, and he knew he probably wouldn't be selling it anytime soon. He'd basically take whatever he could get. But ... well, you can guess what happened...

Yep. The bank rejected our offer. In fact, they were soooooooo offended, they didn't even make a counter-offer. They wanted their $299K (with all the other houses going at $230K, with that $50K worth of damage) or they wanted nothing at all!

Crazy, I know. but not in the least bit surprising. Like the rest of the country, the DC area also has a skyrocketing amount of foreclosures and short sales (where the homeowner offers their house up at a loss and serious hit to their credit just to get out of a mortgage they can't afford). There should be a plethora of houses up for sale at a drastic discount right now. but there aren't. In fact, the housing market is quite tight here--despite the tons of abandoned properties the banks are holding. And they are holding them--simply refusing to sell.

Now, under normal circumstances, an industry hit as hard as the banks have been would've been forced to sell off whatever ("toxic") assets they had with a Crazy Eddie fervor ("Everything must go! Go! GOOOOO!!!"), clear the books at whatever cost, whatever loss, and gather as much capital as possible in order to stay in business and, hopefully, get healthy again.

However, as we all know, the Bush administration gave the bank away to the banks in what has to have been the largest transfer of wealth in human history. In the service of brevity, we call it "the bank bailout." True to Republican form, the bailout came with virtually no strings attached, and Obama, "Eraserhead" Geithner, and the Democratic Congress have felt it "too damaging" to put any strings in place.

There was a serious reckoning--or rather, "market correction"--that should've hit the housing market. It was a bubble, after all. Houses were overvalued. Prices should've plummeted as the banks sold off everything they could.

Now, those prices have actually fallen. There are bargains out there (our new house having been one of them), but nothing like the amount one would've expected from the devastation that has befallen housing and the banks.

If you ask me, the banks should've been forced to right the ship they were mainly responsible for running aground. That means clearing away all those toxic assets on their books, taking the cash they could get for them, and pay us taxpayers back ASAP. They should still be dumping those houses as I type this.

Yeah, they would've lost serious money, housing prices would've splatted against the cold, hard concrete of their true value, and many homeowners would've found that they were losing money on their houses. But guess what. We still are losing money on our houses. And we will continue to. November reports show that home purchasing has dipped since the original $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers expired, and now some economists are talking about housing values possibly going through a "double dip." In fact, I heard one economist say that folks who bought their homes in '08 and '09 will probably be underwater themselves.

If the banks had dumped all those houses in the first place, it more than likely would've provided a pricing floor. Those values could've risen as the economy (hopefully) improved. Everybody would've had a better idea of the true value of their homes and could've acted accordingly. Maybe some mortgages could've been renegotiated (that was supposed to happen, wasn't it? I wonder what happened to that idea). And folks who were in a position to take advantage of the tax credit could've found more affordable housing. Basically, it could've given the housing market--and the economy itself--a fundamentally sounder base from which to rebound.

But the banks were not forced to do any of that. they were deemed "too big to fail" and have basically been given a blank check. They still have all those toxic assets on their books, but there's no rush, no need, to sell those off because they know, if they cause any trouble, Uncle Sam will simply give them more money.

Sure, the banks are paying Uncle back for fear of having their executive compensations curbed. But at what cost? Their institutions are still rotten at the core. All those foreclosed properties are still a cancer threatening to eat away at the veneer of health they're projecting to the world.

They are still artificially inflating the market. And now FHA is stepping in as the country's primary mortgage lender--allowing the government to, yet again, assume all the risks while the banks rake in all the profit. And what happens if there's another, even greater wave of foreclosures? Uncle will, of course, be on the hook for yet another financial catastrophe.

And while the banks are artificially inflating the market for their own gain, they are also depressing the market to our detriment. If they'd simply ripped off the Band Aid and taken the pain, who knows? Maybe we'd be on the "road to recovery" in a few years? Instead, we are wading in the mire of uncertain housing values with foreclosures still happening at an alarming pace. We are probably facing double, triple, ad infinitum dips in housing prices with folks still taking on mortgages they can only nominally afford in a very unstable job market. Meanwhile, a lot of good, foreclosed homes remain empty, further depressing the values of neighboring homes. A good market for squatters but definitely bad for home owners. And by the time a lot of these foreclosed properties find buyers, the homes themselves will be so deteriorated (like so many properties we saw), they'll have to be totally torn down and new houses put in their place. Good for speculators. Bad for you and me.

Besides, when bankers, economists, and politicians speak of "recovery," shouldn't we continue to look at them with a jaundiced eye? Not just because of the unemployment numbers. But also because this very fundamental problem has not been addressed. Any "recovery" we see in the immediate future will still have this toxicity rotting in its middle. Until this is fully resolved, can we really expect to truly prosper?

Now don't get me wrong. Personally, I had no right to complain about what happened. To be looking for a home when so many people were losing theirs was no "crisis" by any means. As I often told myself, it was a "good problem." I just felt that our experience with the $299K money pit was indicative of a much larger problem that's been plaguing our country for far too long: our government's propensity to open up the public coffers to "help" the rich. It has got to stop. It has literally bankrupted this nation.

Banks are not the only monied interests who have benefited from Uncle's largesse. This goes from them to Walmart to billionaire team owners having tax dollars pay for their stadiums. Everywhere we turn, we middle- and working-class Americans are funding the rich's getting richer while all we get are falling wages and financial calamity in return.

Study after study show that cities actually lose money they never get back when they build stadiums. Yet they fall all over each other to build them for the Steinbrenners and Snyders of the world. Walmarts devastate town centers and local businesses and replace them with nothing but low-paying jobs. Yet there isn't a single municipality that won't offer them budget-crippling tax breaks for them to open one in their town.

GM and Chrysler were going bankrupt mainly because no one under the age of 50 wants to buy their frigging cars. But instead of rewarding their incompetence with closure, we taxpayers give them tens of billions to produce even more cars we don't want to buy.

These mortgage lenders speculated to their hearts' content, gambling on ever-skyrocketing housing values and lost. But they don't lose their businesses, their homes, they don't even have to skulk out of their self-made casino, shame-faced and banned from the establishment for good. No, they get hundreds of billions for their troubles and give themselves bonuses for a job well-done!

And why shouldn't they? The bailout came with no strings attached. There is no accountability, and they've spent millions of bailout money lobbying Congress to guarantee that there never will be.

Congress and Obama play at moral outrage, but they don't really do anything about it. No politician seems really willing to. Sen. Dodd realized that his voter constituent's interests ran directly counter to his hedge fund constituent's and retired. Barney Frank threatens to regulate the same bankers who are the main contributors to his political campaigns. But it's not as though he's alone. It's not as though there's a knight in shining armor in Congress or even the FCC who will put a stop to any of the madness that has put the US in the poor house. No, our politicians are all too willing to sell the rest of us down the Yangtze River in order to appease their rich donors.

Of course, the question isn't "Why?" That answer is simple: These bastards want to get re-elected. One of the more important questions is "What do we actually get out of this appeasement?" I know I didn't get an affordable house. The main question, though, has to be: "When the hell is this madness going to stop?"


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Some Quick Condom Questions

So, at work, I'm being forced to read Brenda Jackson's Some Like It Hot, another one of those post-Zane, ultra-bourgie g.e.t.o. porn love short story collections, where everything is overly explained and repetitive as hell (just in case you're too stupid to be reading a book in the first place). And in one short story, "Strictly Business," (oh yeah, everything in these books has to be named after an old song) the male love interest brings a condom to the sex table but then says, "I don't want to put it on until the very last minute."

Being the babe-in-the-woods that I am, with virgin ears and eyes, I was a bit baffled at first. I had to stop for a second. Then I realized, ole boy wanted to get a few strokes in and, just before he was going to release his Ole Faithful, he was going to stop everything and throw a rubber on his little duckie.

Now, I know the advantages and disadvantages of condom use. And I was wondering, if he really wanted the former, how would putting one on at the last minute really benefit him? And I was wondering, if he were really concerned about the latter, why the hell would you bring a condom in the first place?

Then I was wondering if this were even something an adult male would even try to pull on someone? Like, I could see some horny, little teenager trying to pop that shit--right after saying, "Oh no, you can't get pregnant if we do it standing up."

And what adult woman would fall for a line like that?

Is this something that actually happens in reality? Like, our these the people who always tell their disbelieving peers that "the condom broke"? Are these the fellas always pissed off when Maury tells them, "You are the father"? Or was this just bad writing on Brenda Jackson's part?

This inquiring mind wants to know.



Here's another one of those songs I can't get out of my head. It's a pretty decent album, too. I hope you enjoy.

Now ... back to work.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Oh No, 101!!!

Sorry, Taipei 101, but as of today, due to the opening of this Dubai monstrosity, you are now the second tallest building in the world. Burj Khalifa has beaten you out. So, I guess it's back to the drawing board, eh Taiwan? I guess you can take solace in the fact that, unlike Dubai, you aren't actually bankrupt and can afford to build another Icarian tower.

Of course, I have to admit, my sadness is a bit selfish. Five years ago, with my first trip to Asia, I got to brag that I'd been in the tallest, 101, and second tallest, Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers (god, walking across that skywalk had me almost losing my lunch), buildings in the world in less than one week. To say I've been in the second and third tallest buildings sounds kinda lame.

I guess it's off to Dubai!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Blame Al

I used to be an adamant believer in the calendar's starting with 1. So, I'd always be up there saying that any decade, century, millennium started with said 1 and that anyone saying, "0," was just a doofus. That belief of mine held strong, damn near impenetrable until Dec. 30, 2009. That was when I listened to NPR commentator, Daniel Shore, ruminate over the naming of the past 10 years.

I always called the decade the "Double Naughts" or the "2Gs," but Shore mentioned, "The Big Zero," and nothing had ever sounded so right. I mean, look at the laundry list of loss that Shore catalogued in defense of the new nomenclature:

Enron, Worldcom, 9/11, Ken Lay, al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Taliban, Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein, WMD, "greeted as liberators," mushroom clouds, extraordinary rendition, "enhanced interrogation techniques," Paul Wolfowitz, Fox News, Abu Ghraib, Katrina! Katrina! Motherfucking Katrina!!!, Mike "You're Doing a Good Job, Brownie" Brown, Halliburton, Blackwater, waterboarding, auto bailout, Wall Street bailout, Bernie Madoff, underwater mortgages, Fannie, Freddie, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, nuclear North Korea, record-breaking national debt, China's our biggest creditors and the makers of our smart bombs ...

Oh, and I could go on. It feels as though this shopping list of endless shit could indeed go on indefinitely (I haven't even included 2009's tragedies). And it was all caused, as one co-worker pointed out, by one man.

"Yeah," I agreed. "Al Gore."

I know. You were probably thinking that the chief meteorologist of this shit storm was Vice President Cheney, but he was only a heart attack-addled bar code on what was supposed to be a losing ticket. And yeah, of course, there was W. But, aside from the Machiavellian machinations of Jeb down in Florida and Justice Scalia's calling the election in the Bush Babee's favor, who really deserves blame for W's ever setting foot in the Oval Office?

You've got to put the blame on Al. Seriously. Think about it!

Clinton, after having survived Lewinsky and impeachment, was more popular than ever. The economy was good. The Dow was hitting all-time highs. Unemployment was at all-time lows. We were paying down the national debt and were actually looking at budget surpluses for the first time in decades. Sure, Clinton's laissez-faire attitude towards deregulation and al Qaeda helped sow the seeds for future 2G troubles. But we didn't know that then. For all we knew, we were riding high times.

And Al Gore should've been able to ride that wave all the way to the White House. All he had to do was run an "I Tup Tipper!" sub-campaign while screaming, "Yo! I'm just like Billy Boy!" every chance he got.

But nooooooo ...

Al was like Michael Johnson in some gold Nikes running as fast and as far away from Clinton's record as was steroidally possible. Al, the Vietnam vet, allowed his patriotism to be called into question by a draft dodger who, at the time, was flying high in the Texas sky in the National Guard. He allowed himself to be called an "elitist"--which he is--by a Connecticut "cowboy" whose family earned their wealth during the railroad boom of the 1860s! He was dumb enough to allow his own intelligence be considered a detriment by a guy who couldn't string two sentences together and said it didn't matter that he didn't know who the president of Pakistan was (yeah, I know, ironic, ain't it?). And don't even get me started on "lock box."

Nope. Al Gore had the 2000 election handed to him on a silver platter, and he threw that bitch away farther than you can throw a Bristol Palin condom. Yeah. A lot of liberals out there blame Jeb and Scalia for stealing Florida and, hence, the election. But it should never have gotten to Florida. It should never have been close. Only Automaton Al's incompetence and constant talking down to America made it the squeaker that it was.

So yeah. I blame Al for losing the 2000 election. Therefore, when I look at the crapfest that was served up to us these past 10 years, all I can see is Gore in chef's apron and hat, beaming, "Whattaya have?"

Sure, 9/11 would've probably happened and we would've invaded Afghanistan. But do you think the former Vietnam vet would've played at war like those chickenhawks in the Bush administration had? Do you think they would've let bin Laden off the hook in Torah Borah? Do you think we'd still be there?

We all know we never would've gone to Iraq. I'm pretty sure we never would've heard of such bullshit as "extraordinary rendition" and "enhanced interrogation techniques."

And we would've had an administration who actually believed in administrating. We may have been lucky enough to have regulators who would've regulated the financial sector. We might've had an FDA who could've stopped our broccoli and dog food from being contaminated. And we definitely would've had a motherfucking FEMA who would've actually saved all those poor people's lives down in New Orleans.

But we had none of that during the Big Zero. In fact, all we got was zilch! All because of W. And all because Al Gore was too friggin' incompetent to win an election that was basically handed to him.

Thanks, Al!!!!