Friday, March 8, 2019

Great Moments in Democratic Rhetorical History

(Cross-posted at Ricochet)

In the matter of Rep. Ilhan Omar, the House Democrats have been criticized for watering down their resolution about her anti-Semitic remarks into a more general condemnation of bigotry, but as you’ll see, that tactic has quite a long history…

Luke 15, House Democratic Standard Version

13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with…well, “riotous” is probably too strong a word, but it wasn’t good.
14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
17 And when he came to himself, he said, “How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, for he hath #FoughtFor15, and I perish with hunger!
18 “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, ‘Father, there has been a lot of sinning against heaven, and before thee, what with the homophobia and the Islamophobia and the transphobia and the anti-Korean sentiment, and I don’t think it would be productive to single anyone out, but there has also been some, shall we say, prodigal spending of your money lately…

July 4, 1776

Let’s be blunt, the world’s kings haven’t exactly been on a winning streak with the inalienable rights lately. Louis XIV was a megalomaniac, and whichever Louis we’re up to this week isn’t much better. The king of Spain has been absolutely brutal in South America. Europe is full of minor kingdoms and duchies, from Lithuania to Tuscany to Frangelico-on-Wienerschnitzel, and if they’re not burning witches, they’re throwing pamphleteers in prison or putting Anabaptists in the stocks. Don’t even get us started on the Czar.
Oh, and we have some problems with King George III. Now, “declaration” is a strong word…

June 4, 1940

At any rate, a lot of different countries- no need to get into specifics just yet- would defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades, if the Nazis decided to invade. We doubt they’d get too far if they decided to invade the United States, for instance. Sure, Hitler’s all buddy-buddy with Stalin now, but if he turns on him and invades Russia, I’m sure he’d have a fight on his hands.* Heck, even some of the South American republics would be a lot for him to handle, what with the jungles and the malaria and whatnot. Which brings me to England. As I said, I don’t want to get into details or pigeonhole myself, but I’m thinking something along the lines of blood, toil, and tears, maybe sweat too.
*Spoiler alert!

July 20, 1969: In Event of Moon Disaster

Isn’t it remarkable how many celestial bodies don’t have living human beings on them? Mercury is about eight hundred degrees on a good day, and Venus is covered in boiling sulfuric acid, so they’re ruled out. Other than Mars, the other planets are just gas, so there’s not even a place to land. There might be planets around other stars, but some of them might be transphobic. There are thousands of asteroids and comets, but they’re all too small for life.
So, while we’re on the subject of lifeless bodies in space…

Friday, February 8, 2019

Il Triunfo de Bezos: An Opera in Three Acts

ACT I: Il Donatio de Bezos

Goffredo Bezos, a book merchant who has gotten rich through trade, is in Nuovo Iorco to announce a great gift to benefit its people.  Don Chucco, doge of Nuovo Iorco, sings of Bezos’s generosity toward the city, and notes that he has, at least temporarily, calmed the tension between the Cuomi, Deblasii, and Ghillibrandi over which faction will lead the planned invasion of Nuovo Ampscheria to oust Il Donaldo from the imperial throne. 
A messenger arrives with news that Alessandria, a onetime barmaid of Spanish origin, has overthrown Giuseppe Crolio in the outlying region of Broncsia.  Don Chucco begins rebuking him for his impertinence, until Alessandria shows up and denounces the festivities surrounding Bezos, alleging that the noble families of Nuovo Iorco bribed Bezos to make his donation and that he will bring ruin to the city (“Gentrificazione!  Ipstertopia!  Rento thru il rufo!  Mondo trafico!  Wipipo!”).  Enraged, Lady Nancia, wife of Don Chucco, orders Alessandria exiled to the island of Verde-Nuovo-Deale (“Che proposale vamo nowhere prestissimo!”).  Don Chucco and Lady Nancia apologize profusely to Bezos, who forgives them, but says he must depart for the land of Nova.

ACT II: I Virgini

            Bezos arrives at La Cittia del Cristal in the land of Nova to make another donation.  He is met by Ralfo, a noble Moor who has become king of the Virgini.  Ralfo sings of the previous billionari who have ravaged his land: Il Donaldo, who recently closed the entire land of Nova for three weeks as part of a campaign against the Messicani, and Il Snidero, the worst of all, who destroyed the Redschini.  After Ralfo’s lament, a messenger arrives alleging that Ralfo is not in fact Moorish, but a member of the tribe of Mediscuoli, who, as part of a barbaric ritual from the distant past, often falsely pose as Moors. 
A chorus of Virgini lament the fall of Ralfo (“E buon, tu es un pediatrizione e non dermatologio!”), but express hope that Don Fairfacco, next in line for the throne, will unite the people.  Don Fairfacco is about to take the throne when the Lady Vanessa alleges he has ravished her (“Mitu!  Mitu!  Mitu!”).  Flummoxed, the Virgini offer the throne to Don Marco, only to find out that he has also posed as a Moor.  Ralfo, Fairfacco, and Marco all fall on their swords.  The Virgini attempt to summon their ancient ruler, Giefferzone de Monticello, but even he declines to take the throne (“E super razialle problematico”). 
With no other options, the Virgini offer their kingdom to Bezos, who is about to accept when a messenger arrives saying that the Dicopico, a forgotten but extremely powerful relic, is in the hands of the Enquiereri, a barbarian tribe threatening to use it to overthrow Bezos.

ACT III: La Battalle del Dicopico

The nobles of the empire are gathered at a great feast, where the Patrioti are about to devour the flesh of rams.  Bezos arrives accompanied by the troubadour Tomancso and begins singing an aria about the importance of his work in the land of Nova and the neighboring land of Distritto (“Democracia morte in noche”), before denouncing the scoundrel Peccherio, leader of the Enquiereri, for seeking to destroy him with the stolen Dicopico.  The assembled nobles begin laughing as one at Peccherio’s name, breaking the power of the Dicopico. 
             At the moment of Bezos’s triumph, a messenger from Nuovo Iorco arrives with the news that Alessandria’s power has grown to the point where most of the Presidentabile have made trips to the island of Verde-Nuovo-Deale, and she is once again threatening his interests in the city.  Bezos, now king of the Virgini, determines that he will move his donation from Nuovo Iorco to his new realm.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Looking Back on 2019

DISCLAIMER: I am not aware of any scientific evidence that multicultural holiday coincidences can cause heads to explode, and I completely condemn any violence or threats of violence against the President.   Also, all speculation about the gender or sexuality of actual or potential Presidential candidates is purely satirical.

I do, however, stand by the assertion that Notre Dame football fans are annoying.

The White House, May 5, 2019 (colorized)
(Cross-posted on Ricochet)

            The year 2019 will be remembered for the tragic demise of President Donald Trump, whose head exploded in May when the first day of Ramadan fell on Cinco de Mayo.  At the time, Washington was anticipating the rollout of the Mueller investigation findings, which were scheduled to be announced on the Jimmy Kimmel show during sweeps week, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi was attempting to keep talk of impeachment under control by grimacing whenever the subject was brought up in her presence. 
            President Mike Pence took office benefitting from public sympathy due to the tragic circumstances of his rise, but inherited an economy that seemed about to head into a recession.  It didn’t help matters when, during what the papers took to calling “Ramagone” or “Cinco de Bye-O”, President Trump’s hair landed in the Potomac, flooding the new Amazon site in Crystal City, Virginia, and forcing Amazon to revise its earnings estimate downward.  By the end of June, the Dow Jones was down three percent for the year.  This inspired Pence, the first Hoosier President since 1893, to give a rousing halftime speech to the markets in the Wall Street locker room and order his economic team to switch from a 2-3 zone to a man-to-man defense, sparking a rally that has brought the Dow close to the 28,000 mark.  At year’s end, Pence and Vice President Nikki Haley (Pence’s initial choice was Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, but he backed down after realizing nobody could pronounce “Mnuchin”) have a modest but steady lead in the polls to win a term in their own right next year.
            The race for the Democratic nomination seemed hopelessly muddled after the initial frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, had to drop out after a #MeToo scandal with then-Sen. Amy Klobuchar (surprisingly, Klobuchar was the instigator).  During the early part of the year, Robert Mueller, Colin Kaepernick, Kathy Griffin, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, “Whatsername”,  and Gritty (the Philadelphia Flyers mascot) all led in polls at some point.  In September, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker came out of the closet and jumped to the lead in every poll.  He seemed set to sweep the primaries until Beto (as she was then known) O’Rourke announced the first week of November that she was transitioning to live as a woman and wished to be called “Beta”.  Then, resolving a feud that had dogged the Democrats since the beginning of the year, Beta O’Rourke and Bernie Sanders announced they were engaged and seeking to have a co-presidency.  The press inevitably called the new power couple “Berta”.  The race is now largely between Booker and Berta, although some pollsters believe Gritty is in a good position in the Super Tuesday states.
            Internationally, the year will be remembered for the partial resolution of crises rocking the Middle East and Europe.  By the spring, the antics of then-Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman were even alienating supporters such as President Trump, who (shortly before passing to the Great Trump Tower in the Sky) tweeted that the United States was ready to pivot to Jordan as its closest Arab ally, adding that he was impressed with Jordan’s adroit diplomacy in handling Dennis Rodman.  MBS was pushed out in August using allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a scorpion as a pretext and replaced with his cousin, Salman bin Muhammad.  SBM then announced a plan to transition Saudi Arabia to democracy by incorporating every Saudi citizen into the royal family by 2035.  The American pullout from the former nation of Syria did not destabilize the region as much as feared, although concerns that Turkey was gaining too much influence in the country only increased when it was renamed “Stuffing” the week before Thanksgiving.  An Israeli offensive against Lebanese Hezbollah stalled after the Israelis invaded Lebanon, New Hampshire, by mistake and began leading in New Hampshire primary polls.
            In Europe, negotiations over Brexit stalled after the governments of both Angela Merkel and Theresa May lost votes of confidence and collapsed.  Germany is now under an interim caretaker government consisting entirely of middle-aged blond men in large glasses and mustaches named “Gunther”, which agreed to give Queen Elizabeth the right to veto any EU regulations in Britain by declaring them to be “bollocks on stilts” until a permanent Brexit agreement can be reached.  Britain also agreed to the free movement of people and goods across its border with the Republic of Ireland in exchange for the Irish admitting in writing that Notre Dame football fans are annoying.  The replacement of May with Prime Minister Boris Johnson fueled speculation that the  worldwide populist movement was really about elevating leaders with unkempt blond hair, which only grew after Angela Merkel purchased a Van de Graaff generator, sparking talk she is plotting a comeback.
            China was unusually quiet, but by the end of the year, elements within the Chinese government were suggesting that it could claim any land within 500 feet of a Chinese restaurant as sovereign territory.
            2019 was an eventful year for sports and entertainment, beginning with Super Bowl LIII, which the Los Angeles Rams won over the Kansas City Chiefs after Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, while attempting to pass in midair, sprouted wings and flew away.  In movies, Christian Bale won the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Dick Cheney in Vice, leading to Cheney briefly leading in Democratic primary polls, which in turn led to speculation that polls are being answered sarcastically.  Avengers: Endgame came out, revealing (SPOILER ALERT!) that the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe was the fever dream of a deaf-mute Belgian art student who, while attempting to hitchhike to Los Angeles, had eaten gas-station sushi in Kentucky.  The Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship again, after which Steph Curry announced he was retiring from basketball to run for President.  He led in the polls until Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, in a debate, asked him why he doesn’t call himself “Steve” like a normal Stephen.
          The media event of the year may be the surprising emergence of former House Speaker Paul Ryan as one of the nation’s most beloved TV personalities.  It began after Sean Hannity entered a monastery after President Trump's memorial service, leading Fox News to reshuffle its lineup, which ended with Ryan hosing “Fox and Friends”.  The other highlight is the revival of The Weekly Standard, which went out of business in late 2018 and seemed permanently doomed after its founder, Bill Kristol, turned out to be three marmosets stacked on top of each other wearing a suit.  However, at year’s end, former first lady Melania Trump had bought the rights to relaunch the magazine, which she is expected to use as a springboard to run for governor of New York in 2022.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Case for a Cage Match in 2019

(Cross-posted at Ricochet)

This past weekend, I had an idea that is harebrained even by my standards, and now I'm going to subject you to it.  Here's why, and how, a Nicolas Cage for President boomlet should happen in 2019.  

Like this, but in Iowa.

Before you think I've gone completely off the deep end, I don't mean that Cage should actually be elected President, or even run.  I mean that he should publicly toy with the idea to the extent that Nicolas Cage presidential chatter dominates the news cycle for a few days, some pollster starts asking people if they would vote for him, and one of the actual candidates rants at him online or at a rally (obviously, this would most likely be a series of enraged Trump tweets, but I wouldn't count out Joe Biden).

It would be highly entertaining.  It would be the most on-brand thing possible for Nicolas Cage, for Presidential politics, and for the year 2019*.

He wouldn't have to do much to gin up media speculation- just schedule a couple trips to Iowa and New Hampshire, comment publicly about a couple political issues, do some charity work, and most importantly, have a bunch of people ask him to run on Twitter and reply coyly to them.  I'm sure Gary Sinise could use a hand with his next project for veterans, and you could probably hire a consultant and a few dozen Twitter bots for less than the cost of a castle in England, "the most haunted house in America" in New Orleans, or a dinosaur skull, all of which Cage has actually bought (spending habits which would fit in quite well in the federal government).

He'd probably run as a Democrat, since they're the ones with an open primary and I assume that any actor leans left until proven otherwise.  The most entertaining scenario would be for Cage to consider running as a Democrat but threaten to go third-party if he doesn't get his way, like Donald Trump with the GOP in 2015, but the idea of a primary challenge to Trump is growing on me.  If John Kasich runs, the combination of Cage's facial expressions and Kasich's fruit ninja abilities could prove formidable.

It's time, America.  It's time to turn to a man who is not at all qualified to be President, but eminently qualified to be the subject of presidential speculation.  It's time to go from draining the swamp to stealing the Declaration of Independence.  It's time to Make America Cagey Again.

*Admittedly, the year 2019 hasn't happened yet, but I'm assuming that it will be even more 2018-like than 2018, which seems pretty safe.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

With Deepest Apologies to Elton John

Generals packed my bags last night, pre-flight
Zero hour, nine A.M.
And I'm gonna be all over the news by then
I miss the earth so much, and caviar
It's lonely out in space
On such a timeless flight
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till Donald brings me round again to find
I'm not the god they think I am at home
Oh no no no, I'm a rocket man
Rocket man, only fat guy in his whole country

And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till Donald brings me round again to find
I'm not the god they think I am at home
Oh no no no, I'm a rocket man
Rocket man, only fat guy in his whole country

Guam ain't the kind of place to raise your kids
In fact, it's wet as hell
Rodman isn't there to raise them if you did
And all this science I don't understand
I just kill them if they screw up
A rocket man, a rocket man

And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till Donald brings me round again to find
I'm not the god they think I am at home
Oh no no no, I'm a rocket man
Rocket man, only fat guy in his whole country

And I think it's gonna be a long long time...

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Duke Replaces Lee Statue With Paterno Statue

DURHAM, N.C.- Just days after taking down a controversial statue of Robert E. Lee from the entrance to its chapel, Duke University has found and installed a replacement: the statue of Joe Paterno that was removed from Penn State University after the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
The move surprised observers in the higher education community, who expected the replacement to be a statue of either Julian Abele, the African-American architect who designed much of Duke’s campus, or whichever NCAA official gives UNC the death penalty for its academic scandal. According to Duke University spokesman Dick Vitale, the institution became aware that the state of Pennsylvania was looking to sell the statue to raise money to help solve its annual budget crisis and made an offer early Saturday morning, outbidding a group of Japanese investors who are believed to have been planning to use the statue in a game show. When asked how much Duke had paid for the statue, Vitale spent ten minutes describing an irrelevant anecdote involving Syracuse University men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim before declaring that Indiana University needs to rename its basketball arena after former head coach Bobby Knight. Other sources confirmed that the deal included Duke agreeing, as a favor to Penn State, to invoke the “no backsies” clause in case the University of Maryland sought to leave the Big Ten and rejoin the ACC. 
Reaction to the move on Duke’s campus and in the wider Durham community was mixed. When asked how a depiction of Paterno fit onto Duke’s campus, Dean of Students Barry Bigbird explained, “Although Joe Paterno didn’t have any direct connections to Duke, his journey from New York City to a university campus in the middle of the woods mirrors that of most of our students. Also, although he was a devout Catholic, Paterno also had the foresight to get the heck over himself, give up the ‘independent’ shtick, and join a conference already, unlike a certain football program in South Bend, Indiana, that couldn’t even beat our football team last year.” Bigbird went on to say that since he doesn’t expect Duke to beat Notre Dame in football very often, he intends to milk this one for all it’s worth. Most of Duke’s faculty was unavailable for comment due to being too busy smacking themselves in the forehead for obsessing over a false rape allegation against the university’s lacrosse team while ignoring a real live Confederate statue, but one history professor pointed out that this wasn’t the worst thing to happen to Robert E. Lee involving the state of Pennsylvania. Local factions of the Antifa movement cancelled a planned protest of the Lee statue; sources within the movement confirmed that the groups will protest the nearby B. Everett Jordan Lake as soon as they figure out who B. Everett Jordan was and how they can accuse him of racism.
In a move to placate conservative Southern alumni, Duke’s anthropology department announced it is conducting research to find remote tribes in the South Pacific that would be willing to worship the Lee statue as a god. 
(Cross-posted at Ricochet.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

In Alternative Universe, Wagner Plans Challenge to Wolf

YORK*, Pa.*, Alternative Earth #244- In an alternative dimension, Scott Wagner confirmed that he is seeking to challenge incumbent Tom Wolf for the chairmanship of the York County Chamber of Commerce.  

Wagner, who owns a waste-disposal firm, has emerged as a strong critic of Wolf's policies in running the chamber, such as a controversial proposed hike in member dues and what he described as excessive regulations regarding borrowing the chamber's laminating machine for personal use.  He also pointed out ways he believes nearby chambers have outpaced York's, such as the Greater Lancaster Chamber having more participants in its charity golf tournament and the Harrisburg Regional Chamber getting more submissions to its student essay contest.  

Interestingly, both Wagner and Wolf have some political experience: Wagner toyed with running for county commissioner in 2011, while Wolf did some consulting for former Gov. Bob Casey Jr. and is rumored to have turned down a cabinet appointment.

Those Wagner is seeking to represent had a mixed reaction to his plan.  "Tom [Wolf] seems like an okay guy, but I'm just not sure how effective he is," said Sarah Robles, an accountant from Red Lion, pointing out that Wolf has yet to be on time in bringing donuts to the steering committee meetings.  Travis Cooper, who owns an auto-body shop in Dover, said he didn't like that Wolf keeps butting heads with the executive committee, but doubted the opinionated Wagner could do better.

The small business owners then began speculating on whether President Rubio's mediocre approval ratings would affect Republican efforts to unseat Gov. Allyson Schwarz.