Haiku Review of 2011, Part 2: The Readers Have a Haiku Orgy:
The Rude Pundit asked you to contribute year-end haiku, and, sweet Japanese Jesus, you responded, with over 100 little poems, with more flowing in. Keep 'em coming. Here's today's first dose of ten rude reader takes on what 2011 events got their juices flowing:

From BAB in Los Angeles:
Maybe Newt Is Onto Something!

A recall would work,
But Scott Walker should also
Wipe down school toilets.

From Rabbitearz in the San Fernando Valley:
Coach Sandusky asked
Santa for soap-on-a-rope.
Lives swirl down the drain.

From John P.:
The Job Creators
Rugged, creative
pillars of capitalism
whine when uncertain!

From Vixen Strangely:
The 99%
Millions fill the streets,
while billions fill their coffers,
still we will be heard.

From Hector R. :
Geithner and cronies
Gambling With Peoples' Money
Piggies In A Trough

From Shelley M.:
Fat, angry white men
make Rush Limbaugh a hero
yet mock gay soldiers

From Mark D.:
Traveling now blows
Chertoff hawks porno scanners
Theater for the dumb

From Carl S.:
Postponing the Inevitable
The debates go on.
Each candidate has his day.
Howdy Doody waits.

From Jim L:
Mission Accomplished!
Osama sleeps with fishes
Somewhere Dubya cries

From Deanna F.:
Rick Perry's jacket,
Fleecy, rough and deeply queer.
Go repression, go.

From Sue M.:
Eleven is done
Twelve can’t get here soon enough
Bye, motherfuckers!


A Haiku Review of 2011, Part 1: The Candidates:

One Slimy Beast Too Many
More ethics can be
Found in the eye of a newt
Than in all of Newt

A Very Bachmann Moment

Michele ate a fair
Corn dog wide-mouthed. Envious
Marcus wept loudly.

Don't Work Yourself Into a Froth
Santorum rising
Is just inevitable.
Physics works that way.

Do not tell Romney
That he’s changed his mind. He has
A dog cage for you.

The Third Person
Herman Cain said that
Herman Cain was different.
Cain’s penis was not.

If Rick Perry was
Lawrence Welk, the poor band would
Never have started.

Front Runner

Oh, woe to Ron Paul,
Crazy as a shithouse rat,
But, man, I love pot.

(Submit your own 2011-lovin' haiku to "rudepundit@yahoo.com". Best to be published starting tomorrow.)
Later Today: The Rude Pundit Will Haiku You:
And, holy shit, you're a bunch of haiku writing motherfuckers. Over fifty received so far. Keep 'em coming.


An Invitation to Haiku Yourself and a Bit o' Joy:
Oh, it's that time, it's that time, it's that time again. The Rude Pundit rings out the old on a few words. Starting tomorrow, he'll be posting his annual end o' the year haiku retrospective. And he invites readers to send in their own trio of lines (5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables - the Rude Pundit likes his forms, motherfuckers). For instance, longtime rude reader and haiku contributor Mona P. got a jump on the festivities by sending in this one (even if she cheated on the last line):

2011 Countdown To Oblivion
Blackbirds plummeting
Arab spring when tyrants fell
Occupators fill streets

Send your own to "rudepundit@yahoo.com." Titles are not required. Neither are pants. The Rude Pundit will publish the best ones or the ones that tickle him in bad places on Friday and, if there's a-plenty, Monday.

And because life is not politics alone...

A Few Things That Brought the Rude Pundit Joy in This Wearying Year in This Ragged Nation
1. Two musical moments: Elvis Costello tearing the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, New Jersey apart with a savage version of "I Want You." Over ten minutes of snarling singing and face-melting guitar work that was exhausting and exhilarating. And, at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee in the intense heat of Sunday at noon, hearing The Head and the Heart perform their song "Rivers and Roads" was pure, unbathed hippie bliss.

2. Two museum moments: The Experience Music Project in Seattle is the museum that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame would be if it stopped trying to be a grown-up. And the Nirvana exhibit was actually, really interesting. At the Brooklyn Museum, the Norman Rockwell show was revelatory in an unexpected way: it showed how artificial his works were, in a way that you always knew, but really wanted them not to be. Just like America.

3. Two movies: Martin Scorsese's Hugo, which the Rude Pundit despised until, about two-thirds of the way through, during the George Melies sequence he realized he loved it. And the animated flick Rango, which was a deeply-weird, subversive drug dream masked as a kid's movie.

4. Two theatre moments (both on Broadway): The mythic end of the viscerally exciting play Jerusalem, where you realize that, sometimes, even liars are telling the truth. And, even though you're sick of hearing about it, The Book of Mormon, which was so funny and so twisted and so stupefyingly sweet (even with jokes about baby-fucking and having AIDS) that it actually helped the Rude Pundit feel better in the wake of a personal tragedy.

5. One TV moment: Yeah, yeah, The Walking Dead was too fucking talky and not enough zombie-killy this season so far. But when zombie Sophie walked out of that barn, it was a nut-kick that you rarely get on television. Hope, it seems, was for suckers.


In Brief: A Few Lazy Observations on Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Barack Obama:
1. In a quote that got a bit lost last week in the orgy of various and sundry holiday celebrations, Barack Obama said, when asked by Barbara Walters about mistakes he's made as president, "When it comes to dealing with Congress, you know, of late, I've said, I'm not going to wait for Congress. I'm going to go ahead and just do whatever I have in my executive power. I think that there were times in my first couple a years where I kept on sitting there trying to see if we can negotiate some sort of compromise, and there just was a lot of refusal on the other side's part to compromise. And, I'd just stay at it...but as a consequence, I think a lot of time was lost that frustrated a lot of people around the country. They want to see action on behalf of some of these issues."

Whoa, whoa, there. You mean that Obama is realizing that motherfuckers actually do fuck their mothers? And that from here on out he's going to behave accordingly? Well, dude, put up or shut up.

2. Hey, poor, deluded Ron Paul supporters, how does it feel now that your racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, paranoid candidate is getting all the attention you've felt he deserved? And to the Rude Pundit's friends who have tried to convince him since 2008 about the awesomeness that is Ron Paul, is drug legalization really worth that much of your self-esteem? And even if by some miracle he is nominated, remember what Paul himself said: he can't catch up to a running black man.

3. But, really, at the end of the day, fer fuck's sake, Republicans, just accept that Mitt Romney is your nominee. In a whiny-ass editorial in the Weekly Standard, William Kristol offers blow jobs and crystal meth to any savior candidate who jumps into the Republican race. "[I]t is no time for leaders to duck responsibility," he says before going into great detail about how he can't go another minute without getting Christie or Jeb or Rubio spooge on his face. It's kind of embarrassing to see what a shameless knob-gobbler Kristol admits to being.

It's Romney. It was always gonna be Romney. Just like it was always gonna be McCain. Just like it was always gonna be Dole. Sometimes things are just inevitable. Embrace it. Because any candidate that has any smarts at all ain't getting in this race just so that Michele Bachmann can get nasal and nasty on them or that they have to endure the degrading spectacle of being on a stage with Newt Gingrich. Ask Rick Perry how that savior gig worked out.

(Fun fact: In 1994, Kristol predicted in Campaigns and Election magazine that Bill Clinton would start and win "a large-scale land war" to shore up his popularity, that he'd have a primary challenger in 1996, and lose the election with less than 40% of the vote. Pay that man for advice.)


Buy the Book, Listen to the Podcast, End Your Christmas Rudely:
1. You know how you got that new Kindle and are wondering what book you should purchase for future reading? Well, for Chrissake, invest in the 2012 edition of The Rude Pundit's Alamanack because unless you (in combination with everyone else in the world) purchase 500 copies, for Kindle, Nook, iPad, other thingamajigs, or hands, it won't be published and the country will collapse.

2. The Rude Pundit is pretty sure he's gotten to the point where he's pissing spiked egg nog. So while he cleans vomit off the stockings and...aw, who left a condom in the manger? Right on Joseph? That's just cruel ...you can enjoy last week's episode of Cheater and the Rude. The Rude Pundit doesn't remember much of what he said because of a visit to a fine pub beforehand, but he think he said some nasty, mean things about Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and co-host Jeff Kreisler:

The book costs 10 bucks for the e-version. The podcast is always on the Rude Pundit.


Continuing a Christmas Tradition (Now with Rubber Duckies):
Like movies about Bedford Falls suicides and the first and last time most of us ever heard of Gimbels, some things are a tradition around the rude house. Reruns are good for the soul. Like this blast from 2004, updated with a new and horrifying photo:

Xmas - And, lo, a small teddy bear will lead them:
In the days before Christmas, the Rude Pundit roamed his neighborhood, looking at the displays in the charming stores and corner markets. There he saw the agony of so many dichotomous feelings about this holiday. One window had a kneeling, praying Santa next to a baby Jesus in the manger. Santa's hat was off. He was balding. Another display had the jolly old fat man landing his sleigh and reindeer on the roof of the manger. Surprisingly, neither Mary nor Joseph seemed rattled by the noise, although a camel was looking upward, as if asking, "What the fuck?" The Rude Pundit loved that camel.

Ah, sweet camel, what the fuck, indeed. Christ and commerce, Alleluia. The Savior has been born and he thanks you for your presents. Santa showing that he'll even honor the king of the Jews in the land of Islam. There's no telling what it means (and don't get all up in the Rude Pundit's face about St. Nicholas). Except this: we want to embrace both things, good deconstructionists that we are: Santa, who soothes our greed,and Jesus, who promises us peace. Either way, we want them both to tell us we're good people, nice people. And, of course, guilt-ridden Christians want to make sure that Santa toes the party line, you know.

For the holiday, here's a few of the Rude Pundit's favorite Nativity sets:

That right there is the Veggie Tales Nativity. In case you don't know, Veggie Tales are cute vegetables who love Christ and salad tossing. The newborn savior up there is a carrot. Get it? A baby carrot? What a delight.

Holy shit, that bear nativity is one of the creepiest fucking things the Rude Pundit's ever seen. Staring straight ahead with their dead eyes, it looks like a satanic cult sacrifice to some horrible bear-demon. Although, the three wise bears have provided snacks for the blood rite: salmon, honey, and berries. All go well with cub entrails.

The Boyds Bears Nativity is way better and cuter, even if, in that picture, they all seem to be looking at you and saying, "We can see you masturbate."

And who can take a bath without your rubber duckie nativity? You can use one of your nipples as the Star of Bethlehem.

This is not to mention the Chickentivity, the Moosetivity, the Barntivity, the Native American Nativity, and the various Beartivities, all available unironically for your Christmas consumption.

(Note: Previous editions of the nativity post have included the Dogtivity, but Mitt Romney put Dog Mary, Dog Joseph, and Puppy Jesus in a cage on top of his car and drove around until he killed them.)


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Down a Handful of Thorazine With a Bottle of Jack Daniels:

A dozen coordinated car bombings, including at a hospital, 70 dead, a couple of hundred wounded, a Vice President accused of running death squads on the run in Kurdistan, a government about to collapse, the security forces already seen as failures. That was a trillion dollars well-spent. The Rude Pundit wonders if the wounded and the families of the dead in Iraq wish that the United States was still there or if they had never come at all.

The final withdrawal of (nearly all) troops from Iraq is simply the movement to the next phase of inevitable violence in that nation. You know what the most awful, pathetic thing is? That the Arab Spring might have spread to Iraq. That the people there would have overthrown Saddam Hussein, as Libyans did Qaddhafi (with some NATO assistance). That they would have decided their fate by rising up in messy, contentious unity and then had to work it out for themselves.

When we in this nation think about the cost of the war, when we think about what we actually did to that country, when we think about what we've done to ourselves, when we think of all the people who got away with this crime, when we hear politicians who supported the thing in the first place now say, "If we knew then what we know now," we should curl into a fetal ball and ask for this to be lobotomized from our national conscience. But we should be told that it can't be cut out or erased. And the other worst part is that not only are we damned to remember, we are damned to arrogantly ignore it and move on.


One Man in Iowa Speaks for a Tired Nation Regarding Newt Gingrich:

The Rude Pundit knows nothing about Tom Sorensen, that white-goateed, bespectacled man up there in hunting drag. For all we know, he might be someone who keeps small children in a pit in his backyard or someone who fucks mounted deer heads. He might be a crazed evangelical who forces his frightened wife to recite the Book of Revelations while he whips her and jacks off in her hair. He might be a gun-loving murderer of hitchhikers who thinks 9/11 was an inside job and supports Ron Paul. He might actually be Satan. None of that matters for just this instance. In one moment, that man actually looked into the corrupt, vile, evil eyes of presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and said, "You're a fucking asshole."

And for that brief moment, Tom Sorensen is America's greatest hero.

The rest of this post could list the myriad reasons why Newt Gingrich is, in fact, a fucking asshole. That'd be easy. It's pretty much self-evident. But let's not bother.

Instead, in the midst of Hanukkah, with Christmas rolling at us like a Santa-driven steamroller in the weary end of this exhausting year, let us allow the wassail-like warmth of Sorensen's simple, astute observation wash over us with holiday cheer and just a bit of joy for the common man. Let us merely say, "Yes, yes, Newt Gingrich is a fucking asshole. Nothing more. Nothing less. And God bless you, Tom Sorensen, for saying that right in his fat face."


PolitiFact and the Lie of the Lie:
We all know how it goes. We've seen it in a million movies, TV shows, books. We've experienced it again and again. You can be a major cocksman, someone who can walk into a place like the Tampa Mens Club, ripped and hung, and, great glory hole, find a willing mouth in no time flat. But there's that one dude, that one buff, spiky blonde who just rejects you outright. He shuts down your game, he ignores your jokes, he doesn't glance at your pecs while you do some awesome lifts. Nothing. In fact, he tells you flat out in the locker room that he thinks you're full of shit, that you don't turn him on, and "Can you get those shaved balls out of my face?" Now, of course, you could just tell him and his friends, who laugh at his rejection of you, to fuck off, that you don't need 'em, and just ride another pony, but, goddamnit, how dare he not want you? And then you start doing stupid shit to try to get him to see that you are suck-worthy. You tell others how hot you think he is. You try to let him see how much you're checking him out. You laugh at jokes he tells across the room. In other words, you become a pathetic ass. And however cool or hot you may have been, you're just blowing it all away on someone who just doesn't want to fuck you.

This game plays out all the time in Washington, DC. What has a significant part of Obama's first term been other than a sad attempt to get Republicans to see him as worthy of their votes? How has that shaken out? And you remember when National Public Radio decided to start "balancing" its news broadcasts with more conservative viewpoints (which meant really just offering someone to spin the facts All Things Considered was reporting) because Republicans were threatening to defund it? That was actually back in the mid-1990s. Did that end all the "controversy" over its funding?

Back in February of this year, the blog Smart Politics, of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, released a study that said that PolitiFact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning effort of the St. Petersburg Times to rate the truth of the words of politicians' and others, had assigned "'Pants on Fire' or 'False' ratings to 39 percent of Republican statements compared to just 12 percent of Democrats since January 2010." Another way to put that is that, of all the statements rated so low, Republicans made 76% of them, compared to just 22% of Democrats. You can flounder around for excuses if you want, but the study showed that the nearly the same number of statements from each side was analyzed. So, in order to attack PolitiFact, you can only say that its editors are biased and deliberately choose statements by Republicans that they know will be proven false. It's either that or it's just that Republicans are generally lying motherfuckers, which would be the easy answer.

Of course, like so many who are afraid of being perceived as too liberal and need desperately to be loved by Republicans, PolitiFact has now overcompensated with a completely fucktarded choice for its "Lie of the Year" for 2011: that Democrats lied when they said that "Republicans voted to end Medicare," despite the fact that Republicans voted to make a government-run health insurance program into a private insurance voucher system and just call it "Medicare," when "Medicare," as we know it, would cease to exist. In other words, they voted to end Medicare.

Others have dissected how this supposed "lie" is actually true, and it's been roundly mocked in Left Blogsylvania and Twitterburg.

But PolitiFact's own defense of its decision is obscenely absurd: Democrats are lying because current old people will still have Medicare? But that's called a "phase-out," which you do when you are, you know, ending something. And that it was an "overreach" for Democrats to use the words "kill" or "end" because the program would still exist? Except that it wouldn't exist. It's like PolitiFact used logic out of a Family Guy episode: just because actor James Woods stole Peter Griffin's wallet, he could claim he was Peter Griffin, and everyone is forced to believe it or be accused of lying. (Yeah, yeah, but the Rude Pundit was trying to find an analogy that everyone else hadn't used.)

In fact, one could make the case that in order to call this a "lie," PolitiFact itself has to, for lack of a better word, lie about how Paul Ryan's newfangled Medicare is the same as current Medicare.

Mostly, though, it's pathetic because the whole thing is such pandering to Republicans. And, sorry, dear newspapers concerned about things like "facts" and "reality" and "truth," but they're not gonna fuck you. They tend to only want to fuck themselves.


Mitt Romney: The Invisible Man:
Now that we're in the inevitable Newt Gingrich death spiral (wherein Republican voters remember that in order to vote for Newt Gingrich, they'd have to actually vote for Newt Gingrich), and we're in what will also inevitably be a quick flirtation with Ron Paulism (whose continued, crazed personal vendetta against Gingrich is one of the great spectator sports of the dying days of this awful year, like watching a hyena feast on a fat hippo corpse), we are on the verge of conservatives accepting their awful Mitt Romney-led fate.

It would simple enough to dismiss the GOP base's refusal to accept Mitt Romney as being because of the candidate's Mormonism (which, let's be fair, is no more or less insane than most other religions in its devotion to lies), but it's something more primal: they just don't like him. They understand that Romney is nothing but a suit, a very nice designer suit, but a suit without a body, a hair style without a head. Not only a robot, as he's often described (by, for instance, some stupid bloggers), he's a void, an invisible man whose attempts to make himself into a flesh and blood being only succeed in demonstrating just how hollow he is.

For instance, yesterday, on Fox "news" Sunday with Mike Wallace's unsuccessfully aborted child, Chris, Romney just came across as someone desperate not to take a real stand on anything because he's afraid a belief would inconvenience him. Look at this:

Regarding President Obama and the economy: "First of all, he was not the reason that the economy hit bottom and then begins to recover. We have gone through recessions before. He made this one worse. And he made the recovery more tepid." So, in those two sentences, Romney said that Obama didn't make the economy "hit bottom," but he made it worse, which means that he made it hit below bottom, one can presume. And Obama's not responsible for the recovery, but he's responsible for the recovery?

On Obama and the death of Osama bin Laden: "With regards to Osama bin Laden, we're delighted that he gave the order to take out Osama bin Laden, any president would have done that. But this one did and that's a good thing." He doesn't deserve credit for killing bin Laden, but let's give him credit for killing bin Laden?

And then sometimes Romney wants it all ways, like a particularly horny twink who stumbled into a leather bar. Like with regards to the war in Iraq, in which he gives the wimpiest history lesson ever: "[W]e didn't have the knowledge that we have now...And in the light of that -- that belief, we took action which was appropriate at the time. Lessons learned along the way, you know, I think our military would say a lot of lessons learned. We probably should have gone in, going in with a heavier footprint. I think there was a sense that when -- when on the ship it said 'Mission Accomplished,' that the mission had been accomplished. It turns out it was just getting started and we had to pursue a surge very late in the process. The surge was successful. And fortunately, we've now been able to pull our troops out. We're, of course, very happy to see our troops come out." But he wishes we had left behind 30,000 of them. In other words, everyone gets a pass and, hey, it's over, so a Romney administration won't have to deal with it. Next question?

Let's not even get into the brain damage or skeevy political worthlessness required to make the logical leap that Romney makes about the Massachusetts health care plan, when he says, "I like what we did. I'm proud of what we did. I'm not going to tell Texas what Texas has to do or California or New York. I think the ideas that we put forward work." You got that? The Massachusetts plan actually works (for many people). But, Texas, you come up with whatever shit plan you want so that the level of care around the country is so different that it's actually a human rights issue. All because we don't want to tell states how to treat the citizens of the country.

Of course GOP voters are desperate for whatever bits of substantial beings they can cling to so as to avoid the weightlessness of Romney. It's not just the endless parade of policy reversals throughout Romney's life (and throughout this campaign and throughout this day, more than likely). It's not that he's running with less experience as an elected official than Barack Obama or anyone else left in the Republican race (Romney was a one-term governor who announced two years into his term that he wasn't gonna run for re-election, so look for Sarah Palin's endorsement). It's not even his creepy business investment background, which just means he never got his hands dirty in real work.

It's that there's nothing there. He puts out plans that sound like every conservative ingredient tossed into a blender and then the flavor is taken out. It's like that goo that's used to make chicken nuggets. Why, sure, you can shape those into tasty square bits. You can get a box of 20 of 'em. But that doesn't mean there's anything nutritional in there.

But the invisible man is the last one standing, GOP. Or is there another?


Announcing the 2012 Edition of The Rude Pundit's Almanack:
(Update: Bumped up to the top for your weekend sales pitch.)

You know the cool thing about e-books and print-on-demand books? You can change things up. So unlike, say, just about every other book about the current state of politics, which become history as quickly as they're put out, The Rude Pundit's Almanack will kick your ass with new, never-blogged material.

You wanna read the story of the Herman Cain campaign told in dirty limericks?

You wanna read alternate stories of the upcoming presidential campaign (depending on Newt or Romney winning the nomination)?

You wanna play "Who Wants to be a GOP Running Mate?"

Then you want the 2012 Rude Pundit's Almanack.

Oh, but there's a catch, Yossarian. Yes, there's always a catch.

See, OR Books, they're a bunch of crafty bastards over there, with their attempt to come up with new ways to publish things that people will actually pay to read.

They said, "You know, the first edition sold for shit compared with, say, James Patterson. We don't think people want to buy any book from someone they can read every day for free. Milk, meet Cow."

The Rude Pundit responded, "Fuck you, editors. I've given the readers over 8 years, over 2 million words of free shit. They'll buy the book. We just have to sell it right."

And OR Books said, "Prove it, bitch," and pretty much held a gun to the head of The Rude Pundit's Almanack. "Set this little bastard free."

And the Rude Pundit said, "Okay, motherfuckers. Let's dance."

So here's the deal: OR Books will release the 2012 edition of The Rude Pundit's Almanack if, and only if, there's at least 500 pre-sales.

500. That's it. And it can be in cheap e-book form ($10) or less cheap softcover book form ($17).

We don't get to 500, OR Books wins. They will pull the trigger. And the book will bleed e-ink.

Now, you may be asking, "These fucking guys, what'll they do with my money if we don't make 500?" And the answer is that there's honor among editors (hard to believe, but still). They'll refund your money. In full. No bullshit.

You may also ask, "So can I get it for my annoying uncle for Christmas?" The answer is that you can get the 2011 edition any time you want. But the 2012 edition won't be out until, well, shit, 2012. Like closer to spring. If you do order it for a Christmas (or Hanukkah or what the fuck ever) gift, OR Books has said they'll send a nice e-card (huzzah!).

Frankly, the Rude Pundit's excited about this. It's a challenge, a goal, a throwdown. Can we do it? Will those new pieces ever see the light of day?

Oh, and let's advertise this a bit better:
Emmy-award winning Daily Show writer Jo Miller says that The Rude Pundit's Almanack is "a joy — deeply intelligent, pants-wettingly funny and impossible to put down."

The 2012 edition may actually make you shit yourself. In a good way.
Why Does Newt Gingrich Hate Janitors (and Their Union) So Much?:
Now that Newt Gingrich's idea to break the mighty hold that the janitors' unions have on our precious school systems by making poor children clean their fellow students' piss and shit off the toilets, why not look back on his bizarre 1990s fixation on the people who mop up vomit and empty trash cans.

From a 1991 speech to Citizens for a Sound Economy: "[F]or example, what if we simply allowed parents to help repair their children's schools -- obviously a heretical thought in New York City. And yet, that kind of participation which would automatically lead to chaos, because the custodian's union would go nuts."

From his 1992 CPAC speech: "The [Reader's Digest] article begins with an anecdote about a $57,000 a year public school janitor whose contract requires him to mop the floor of the school three time a year. Not three times a week, not three times a month, not three times a quarter: three times a year. Fifty-seven thousand dollars a year. Furthermore, he is required to sweep every other day, and he has to mop the cafeteria once a week, even though they serve food in it five meals a day. So every twenty-fifth meal, he has to mop the cafeteria. And the Custodians' Union is opposed to allowing parents and volunteers to come in and clean up the filth." By the way, he repeated that anecdote many times over, including in his speech to the Republican National Convention.

In 1994, when he became Speaker of the House, he fired a bunch of janitors who had worked at the Capitol for years. They were told they could re-apply for their jobs under the Republican regime. He also said that collective bargaining rights did not apply to them.

In 1995, janitors who were protesting budget cuts in Washington, DC, were arrested when they "barged into" Gingrich's office.

Seriously, what's with the hating on janitors?

As ever, now, more than ever in this century, the Rude Pundit says, "Fuck You, Newt Gingrich":


What Barack Obama Should Have Said While Announcing the End of the Iraq War (Rude Version):
President Obama gave a speech at Fort Bragg yesterday to declare the end of the 8.75 year war in Iraq. It was measured and vague. Here's what he should have said:

"More than 1.5 million Americans have served in Iraq. 1.5 million. Over 30,000 Americans have been wounded, and those are only the wounds that show. Nearly 4,500 Americans made the ultimate sacrifice. To all of them, to all of you, and to your families, I just want to say, 'We're sorry.' I mean, holy shit are we sorry. We can't say how sorry we are. I could have a couple of hundred thousand prostitutes ready to fuck each and every one of you, and that wouldn't scratch the surface of how sorry we are. By the way, we do not have those prostitutes because John Boehner refused to fund them.

"I look out there on all of your tired, confused, if relieved faces. Some of you have fond memories of building schools or playgrounds, of happy Iraqi children smiling at you, of people thanking you for ridding the nation of Saddam Hussein. But you're all wondering, 'What the fuck was that for?' And, to be honest, I cannot tell you. I can tell you that it was all a colossal clusterfuck and a waste of time and lives and money, for several reasons.

"First, within the next few years, Iraq is going to descend into chaos, and there is not a goddamned thing we can do about it unless we want to overthrow the government and install someone who is totally our puppet and stay there in large numbers forever. But, c'mon, if these fuckers wanna kill each other, it's gonna happen, whether it's Shi'ites from Iran or Sunnis from Syria making the violence roll. People gotta start this shit from within. That's what we learned this year in places like Tunisia and Libya. And it could still end up with fucking chaos.

"Second, you're returning to an America that this war, among other things, has serious fucked up. You're not gonna get jobs. You're not gonna get the help you need. If you're on unemployment, we can't even guarantee that that'll last. Sure, sure, I can say that we passed the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, so that you and your families can get the education that allows you to live out your dreams. That includes a national effort to put our veterans to work. We’ve worked with Congress to pass a tax credit so that companies have the incentive to hire vets. And Michelle has worked with the private sector to get commitments to create 100,000 jobs for those who’ve served. But, c'mon. We've fucked ourselves with our own dicks. And when push comes to shove, you know those Republican cocksuckers in Congress will cut your benefits so that Johnny Billionaire can afford more cocaine and bigger tits for his wife and daughter.

"Now, I wanna be honest with you. I wanted to leave about 3000 of you there, along with the thousands of mercenaries we've hired, to keep the peace and so that these fuckers back here in DC wouldn't say that I'm wimping out or that I failed. Yeah, I'm talkin' to you, John McCain. Shut your whore mouth, or you'll see the backside of my pimp hand. It's sad but true that the filthy game of politics infected this sore. The RNC probably already has an ad online about what a pussy I am, even if we are leaving an embassy and 15,000 Americans, including a couple of hundred soldiers.

"Some of you may be wondering why we're not declaring 'Victory' today. That's because there hasn't been victory. There was never gonna be a victory because there was never a real goal. There has only been shame brought upon the nation and death and destruction brought to the Iraqis. Oh, and purple ink for voting. There was that. When he started the war, President Bush said, clearly, 'Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly, yet our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.' That was a miserable lie made by a motherfucker who was trying to act tough. This war was the indulgence of a United States that the previous administration wrecked.

"So I apologize for this war. Yes, I have blood on my hands from my own violence against the world. But not this anymore. We're exiting Iraq because we never should have been there in the first place. I apologize for this war that was forced on you by George W. Bush and his advisers. The only proper punishment would be to have them all on stage here, all of 'em, Bush, Cheney, Condi, Colin Powell, Rumsfeld, Doug Feith, everyone who ever lied to you about WMDs and Saddam Hussein's connection to 9/11, everyone who worked to frighten the American public into a savage froth, each and every one of these cunts, Tony Blair, all the leaders in the coerced coalition of the willing, all of the war profiteers who made millions of dollars.

"And then we'd make them drop their pants. And we'd let all of you line up to fuck them in the ass. The women soldiers can use strap-ons or their fists. That's right: fuck them until they collapse. Fuck them until they can't breathe. Fuck the mechanical heart right out of Cheney's despicable mouth. Fuck them for everyone who died, for everyone who's fucked up, for everyone who can't sleep without having nightmares. Fuck them for the Jessica Lynch lie and for Pat Tillman. Fuck them with a spider hole and Saddam's statue and a 'Mission Accomplished' banner and yellow cake uranium. Fuck them with IEDs and Abu Ghraib leashes. Fuck them for Halliburton and Blackwater. Fuck them in Fallujah and Mosul and Baghdad. Fuck them with shock. Fuck them with awe. And when they're done being fucked and their asses are ripped up and they're on the ground, contemplating what just happened to them, we'll dump vats of blood on them, the blood of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who were killed because of the madness inflicted on two nations, on the world. And then we'll give 'em to the Hague.

"That's what we should do. But we won't. Because that'd be divisive. And Lord knows I wouldn't want to be divisive."


Book Buying Is Fun (and Here's This Week's Stephanie Miller Show Appearance):
Remember: it's up to you whether or not there's a 2012 Rude Pundit's Almanack. You want to buy the book. You need to buy the book. Is the hypnotism working? Boost the presales and show those bastard alternative publishers at OR Books what for.

Now, here's the Rude Pundit on Monday's Stephanie Miller Show:

(Subscribing to the Rude Pundit's podcast is free. The book is not, but it's cheap.)
The Mean, Mean Post Office That Ate the Heart of Christmas:
Ahh, there's nothing like the quality stupid that occurs annually with the various War on Christmas bullshit flogged by Fox "news" and various groups that need to make money scaring the yokels somehow, despite the fact that for two months, you can't go anywhere without seeing wreaths, ornaments, trees, strings of lights, and motherfucking mangers with creepy-ass dolls staring dead-eyed at you. And every year, it seems, there's some new outrage to make Team Baby Jesus rage out.

Like this one: seems that at a Silver Springs, Maryland, post office this past Saturday, a trio of Christmas carolers came in to sing to the people in line to buy stamps, send off, you know, Christmas gifts, and do other post office-y stuff. The postal workers didn't want them to sing. They said asked the makers of merry to leave. They did and caroled elsewhere. End of story, no?

Oh, fucking no. Because, see, J.P. Duffy was there. And J.P. Duffy is the douchey-looking bastard who is the Vice President of Communications for the evangelical Family Research Council. And the motto of the FRC is "Your War on Christmas is our cash bonanza." For an organization that exists to instill fear in the hearts of Christians everywhere that black Muslims want to rape your ass with a crucifix, this was like a gift of gold, frankincense, and myrrh rolled into one awesome Jesus doobie.

Duffy cranked up the old echo chamber of misplaced priorities and Fox "news" answered back, interviewing Duffy on a couple of its programs. Duffy, raising the drama queen factor to screechy, offered this: "Over the last several years, we have watched militant secularists team up with federal bureaucrats in the effort to sterilize the public square of anything remotely connected to anything religious...This postal manager has clearly received the memo which has led him to stamp out Christmas caroling. But I have my own memo to all the Christmas carolers out there. Let’s not surrender to the secularist version of Christmas future."

That's some impressive button-pushing. "Militant secularists" who "sterilize"? You mean like Hitler or a particularly atheistic veterinarian? And a conspiracy to deny carolers the right to sing about the birth of the Lord, one that comes straight from Obama's filthy Kenyan mouth? Oh, shit, Steve Doocy practically ejaculated all over that ugly couch on Fox and Friends.

How about a little sympathy for the manager of the P.O., who was booed by the patrons, according to Duffy (we haven't heard from anyone else who was there)? Look, it's a shitty time to be a postal worker since it's one of only two or three times of year that people remember, "Oh, yeah, that's right, we actually need a postal service." And Saturdays during the holiday season are a shitty time to go to the post office. How do the Glee-wannabes in Dickens drag singing "Jingle Bells" make it better for anyone? Oh, except for Duffy's daughter, who was apparently traumatized by Obama's jackbooted thugs strangling Santa right in front of her.

The point here ain't whether or not musical trios can entertain the masses who are imprisoned in long lines. The point is that the outrage machine didn't have to get going.

Except, you know, it always does. Right now, there's a bill working its way through the House of Representatives. H.R. 489 expresses "the sense of the House of Representatives that the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected for use by those who celebrate Christmas." Because it needs so much protecting. Of course, the new National Defense Authorization Act, passed by the House, would probably result in Jesus being indefinitely detained.


Ron Paul Ain't Nothin' to Fuck With:
Batshit insane Ron Paul, who, it should be noted, voted against the Martin Luther King holiday, voted for Bill Clinton's impeachment, and was the sole member of the House of Representatives to vote against giving the Congressional Gold Medal to Charles Schulz, is a man who can hold a motherfuckin' grudge. The one he's been nursing with his man-nipples against Newt Gingrich goes back to at least 1996. And that's the reason why he has decided to use the waning days of his ongoing quixotic campaign for president to savage Gingrich with an online and TV ad that paints the former Speaker of the House as a pathetic hypocrite who profited off his position in government.

See, back in 1996, when the Republican-turned-Libertarian-turned-Republican Dr. Paul ran for the House seat from the 14th District in Texas he had given up in 1984, he was in a primary against three other Republicans. One of them was incumbent Congressman Greg Laughlin, who had switched from Democrat to Republican in 1995. Laughlin had been enticed by Speaker Gingrich, who was trying to get a bunch of Democrats to jump ship. He promised Laughlin a seat on the House Ways and Means Committee, which was deliciously tempting.

Newtie was the top of his hubristic, mad power in 1996, spinning out visions of Republican dominance that usually involved him. He punished Republican representatives who hadn't supported his government shutdown by refusing to campaign for them and holding back on NRCC funds. Laughlin had voted with Gingrich, so El Newter decided to double down on Laughlin as a way to show Democrats that they would be safe in their seats if they became turncoats. He campaigned for Laughlin in person, and he got GOP bigwigs like Phil Gramm and various Bushes to do the same. The NRCC, fearing an embarrassing loss for Gingrich, conducted push polls that attacked Paul.

Paul still got into a run-off with Laughlin. And because people in Paul's district are Texans, they were suspicious of Laughlin's party switch (yet, again, being Texans, not Paul's) and all the support from outsiders. Paul won despite more campaigning against him and for Laughlin by Gingrich. Usually, the leadership of a party remains neutral in primaries. Instead, Gingrich stuck his big head in and Paul shoved it up his ass. He used Newt's own words against Laughlin. See, Newt had attacked Laughlin in 1994 for being Bill Clinton's lackey.

So it's payback time. And you can bet that Paul's been waiting a long damn time to throw "hypocrisy" in Gingrich's face again.

They're both nuts. They're just different flavors of nuts. For Paul, there's one guiding principle: "Don't spend any fucking money." That's why he opposes wars. That's why he opposes almost everything, including programs to get teenagers off drugs. For Newt, it's all about centering as much power as possible in himself because he is so right in his rightness. It's a shit fight in a monkey house. And all you can do is watch the feces fly.

(Note: An earlier version of this post said "Congressional Medal of Honor." It was corrected because, as several rude readers pointed out, it was wrong.)


Other Things We Learned From the Republican Debate on Saturday (Besides Mitt Romney's Poor Betting Choices):
So it was that the Republican candidates who are deemed worthy of attention (which somehow includes Rick Santorum but not John Huntsman or Buddy Roemer, both former governors) held another goddamn debate in goddamn Iowa last night. Goddamn Iowa, we might note, is one of the whitest goddamn states in America, which means it tells us approximately nothing about how nominations or elections are going to go, but its caucus is still honored like some bloated, louche lord of the manor who must be fed peeled grapes by the nude boy children of his subjects.

Yeah, you've all heard about Mitt Romney's stupid-ass offer to bet Rick Perry $10,000 dollars that he was right about something in some damn edition of some fucking book he wrote that he changed later because he's just that way. For the Rude Pundit, it wasn't so much the juvenile amount of the bet and the context of Romney's excessive wealth versus the poverty of the nation. It was that Romney was such a fucking bully about it. Not charming, not having-a-larf, just pushy and assholish. And, yeah, it was a low blow when Gingrich said to Romney, "The only reason you didn't become a career politician is you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994." But fuck Romney. The nomination was his to lose and that tool's blown it again and again. And he might have blown it for good on Saturday.

Other horrors in this spectacle of the decline and fall of the Republican party:
1. Benjamin Netanyahu is the greatest living American. And Israel is the most important state in the union. It's the location that got mentioned more than any other (besides the United States), and Romney and Gingrich got into a fight over who's got the longest Bibi: "I've known Bibi since 1984," said Newt. Countered Mitt, "I've also known Bibi Netanyahu for a long time. We worked together at Boston Consulting Group," which was in 1976, so Romney's balling Bibi for nearly a decade longer than Newt.

2. Newt Gingrich can tell the most obvious lies without even blinking. "'Palestinian' did not become a common term until after 1977," he offered porcinely. The New York Times archive would like to disagree over 10,000 times. And for those who say that many of those references are to some people or other who aren't really what we think of now as "Palestinians" and that, as wise and wide Newt has said, they are an "invented people," the Rude Pundit offers this from a May 8, 1921 article titled "Palestine Natives Oppose Zionism," which says that Christians and Muslims from Palestine are seeking "justice for the Palestinians."

Oh, hell. What else do you want to talk about here? Bottom line: Santorum's a creepy idiot who has family values shoved up his ass like spiked beads. Ron Paul is Ron Paul is Ron Paul (even if he seemed like Don Knotts running for president in a kooky movie with a chimp as his running mate). Most frightening, Michele Bachmann actually came across as saner and more in control because, compared with the flailing Romney and the failing Perry, she was (or maybe it was just fun to see her go after Romney and Gingrich).

Mostly, though, there was Romney, who was having a non-stop hissy fit, and Gingrich, who can say the most batshit things, but say them with such calm and poise that he jowl, "Young people oughta learn how to work. Middle class kids do it routinely. We should give poor kids the same chance to pursue happiness," as a call to loosen child labor laws and people will actually applaud. He could say " if we do survive" about a potential battle with Iran and no one will think, "Umm, did you just say you think we're all gonna die?"

Republicans have lost this election before it started. All that matters now is seeing how long Mitt Romney goes before the barely contained rage inside him bursts out. And how long until someone actually listens to exactly what the hell Newt Gingrich believes.

Frankly, President Obama should just ignore these fools and merely campaign on giving him a Congress that wants to accomplish something.


Rick Perry's "Strong" Ad and Queer Desire:
Republican presidential candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry's latest online ad, titled "Strong," has been much-maligned by the Left without actually understanding it. For what the video actually reveals is deep, unfulfilled queer desire within Perry, a latency that is rendered explicit in Perry's words and actions throughout "Strong."

The first line Perry speaks is the crude giveaway of his true intention. "I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country," he says as Aaron Copland-esque music surges and falls under him. The pun here is clear. "I'm a Christian but/butt" is Perry offering us his complex, repressed identity. He is a Christian, but his "butt" is still a focal point of his manhood. And his admonition "you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday," with its play on the word "pew," is clearly a demonstration that he does not believe in promiscuity, but he does desire anal sex.

In the most misread line of the video, Perry says, "[T]here's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school." You'll notice that Perry does not actually say that gays should not be allowed to serve openly in the military (or, to continue a trope from above, at least in a military "butt"). Continuing with his self-identification as a homosexual Christian male, he merely believes that, in addition to the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, religion should be allowed in public schools.

Further indications are made through Perry's presence and actions in "Strong." As others have pointed out, the Governor is wearing the same jacket as Heath Ledger's character in Brokeback Mountain. Ledger's Ennis was the proverbial "top" in the relationship with Jake Gyllenhall's Jack, and Perry, cloaked in the garments of a fictional gay cowboy, indicates his status when he says, "Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again." He makes a fist and slightly thrusts it forward, offering himself for rough gay male sex. The camera stays coyly just above his crotch so that we may not see whether or not his own words are making him aroused.

Finally, the setting itself is rife with connotations. He is climbing a hill with a river running by it, placing himself in a cleft, a clearing in the forest. The forest is a common setting for gay pornography, so the association is clear: the Governor of Texas wishes to enjoy the pleasures of intercourse with another man in the middle of the woods.

Obviously, "Strong" is a campaign ad meant to appeal to conservatives. But the subtext is an appeal to another voter: the confused Republican who wants to reconcile his religious beliefs with his sexual desires. Perry should be applauded for, in a just-barely coded way, reaching out to this demographic and offering them his empathy and his eager fist. We should be glad that he has revealed this about himself.

For, indeed, perhaps, in response to how badly Rick Perry wants gay sex, one might answer, "He can blow me."


Plan B, the White House, and The X-Files:
If you think about it, of course HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA's decision to allow the Plan B emergency contraception to be sold over-the-counter with no age restrictions. Can you imagine the Republican ads in 2012? "President Obama thinks it's okay for 13-year old girls to abort their children without parental consent," they'd lie. "Mitt Romney is pretty sure that's wrong." There's an election in less than a year. And your precious science and "facts" and "rights" have no place here.

After the health care debate and its ensuing messaging debacle, where the President and Democrats seemed to forget how to explain anything to anyone without sounding like the keynote speaker at an actuary convention, the White House has avoided speaking out and pushing for anything that doesn't already have majority support or is impossible to turn against Obama. Some of the time, it works out, like raising taxes on the wealthy. Sometimes it doesn't, as with this decision. It's a frankly disgusting and disappointing way to run a government.

The Rude Pundit would bet that some White House insider would say that it was more important to take abortion off the table as an issue in the presidential election, even if Plan B is a contraceptive, not an abortifacient, and, really, the anti-choice yahoos need to make a decision here on whether life begins at conception or at ejaculation. He bets that that insider would tell women of all ages not to worry, that the decision would be changed in a second Obama term, that that's just the way the world works.

The Obama administration now seems like a television series that has lost its plot thread. The Rude Pundit remembers watching The X-Files back in the day, believing that the mysteries and mythology would have a resolution by the end of its run, that the creators of the show knew the arc and knew the conclusion. So you'd get a great episode involving aliens and conspiracies in the government one week. And then the next week you'd get David Duchovny being beaten up by a talking ape. But you stuck with it, thinking that it would all pay off, that your loyalty would be rewarded. Who is the Smoking Man? What is the truth about Mulder's sister? And the twists would be layered on. Oh, what with the chip in Scully's neck? That's intriguing.

Finally, though, call it "jumping the shark" or "nuking the fridge" or whatever cutesy phrase you want, you finally realized that, despite series creator Chris Carter's protestations otherwise, you were being suckered, that there would be no satisfaction at the end, that the only goal was to make more money for Fox TV by staying on the air. The Rude Pundit gave up on the show before it ended, gruesomely and pathetically, in its ninth season. Friends of his, true believers, tried to convince him that he needed to hang in there, that there would be more answers, more moments of satisfaction, but once he was done, he was done.

Yeah, there were some excellent spooky and weird hours along the way. But we were promised answers. Instead, we got Annabelle Gish and Robert Patrick. The Rude Pundit never regretted bailing. He figured he'd just do something more rewarding with his time. (Lost fans can probably relate.)

So it is with the presidency of Barack Obama. Any time you attempt to say that you're sick of the cynical way the White House takes the left for granted, you're given a list of things that Obama has accomplished, as if somehow you were denying that he did those things. Yeah, he did accomplish an overhaul of the health care system that has benefited Americans in ways large and small. Yeah, he did get Osama bin Laden and is, at least to an extent, winding down the Iraq war. Yeah, yeah, fine, fine. But this isn't a case of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately.

The Rude Pundit wants to believe that there's an ideology at work, a path, if you will, to what Obama wants to achieve as a president. And, no matter what you say about Republicans in Congress blocking his way, it seems that, often, even when it's purely executive branch matters, there is no ideology at work, either - just political calculations, as with the Plan B decision, or the continuing concentration of power in the executive, as with indefinite detention and drone assassinations.

When he ran the first time, Obama created a narrative about the nation and its possibilities. That narrative has been abandoned for the sake of expediency, out of fear of the right, with barely any nods towards it anymore. He might say that the exigencies of the contemporary political and economic and foreign policy landscapes have forced changes in the storyline, but that the goal is ultimately the same. We just need to keep believing him. And, c'mon, liberals, what choice do you have?

Chris Carter said that 9/11 was the cause of the end of The X-Files. But it was dead long before the excuse came along because it lost its way for the sake of merely lurching forward.


President Obama's Latest Big Damn Speech About the Economy: So?:
The Rude Pundit knows, he knows, god, how he knows that he was supposed to sit in his living room and jack off while President Barack Obama gave what was his big ol' speech on "Shared Prosperity and Responsibility." He knows that he was supposed to giddily spank it as Obama went all in-yer-fookin'-gob to the GOP by evoking Teddy Roosevelt and even speaking in the same town where the Big Stick Dude gave his "New Nationalism" speech (probably not softly) back in 1910. He knows he was supposed to ejaculate all over his TV as Obama talked about the rich paying their fair share and Republicans being bags of dicks. He knows he was supposed to have a cigarette when Obama made the point about the 1% earning almost all of the economic gains of "the last few decades."

But you know what? Sorry. He can't. He'd need some high doses of Viagra to just get a fake erection.

For here's what the President actually proposed yesterday: extend the payroll tax reduction, end the Bush tax cuts and limit deductions for the wealthy, make some undefined cuts here and there in the budget, and tell the GOP to stop blocking approval of Richard Cordray for the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

That's it. Oh, sure, sure, Obama said he'd protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Oh, sure, sure, he framed everything with progressive rhetoric about the society over the individual, about the need for greater opportunity in the nation, about wealth not being an end in itself. That was great, but it wasn't that different than his speech back in April that was all about cutting the deficit.

Back then, he even used the language that would be used by Occupy Wall Street: "In the last decade, the average income of the bottom 90 percent of all working Americans actually declined. Meanwhile, the top 1 percent saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each."

Some on the left were delighted. Robert Reich, who is normally a bit more skeptical about this stuff, was way over-the-top effusive about yesterday's speech: "It lays out the basis for what could be the platform Obama will run on in 2012 — increasing taxes on the rich, investing in the rest us, requiring corporations and Wall Street banks that reap benefits from being in America create good jobs for Americans, and protecting our democracy from being corrupted by money — a new New Nationalism. Here, finally, is the Barack Obama many of us thought we had elected in 2008."

Except that's not what Obama actually said. He didn't suggest requiring jack shit of bailed-out banks. He gave them some polite advice: "At minimum, they should be remedying past mortgage abuses that led to the financial crisis. They should be working to keep responsible homeowners in their home. We’re going to keep pushing them to provide more time for unemployed homeowners to look for work without having to worry about immediately losing their house. The big banks should increase access to refinancing opportunities to borrowers who haven’t yet benefited from historically low interest rates."

You got that? They "should" do things. But Obama is not actually proposing any kind of requirements. So if you're a banker, you can continue to do fuck-all for the economy and thank the President for his note in the suggestion box.

And conservatives are still complaining that it's class warfare. Shit, it's barely a class tickle fight. We could use some motherfuckin' warfare, like, you know, Teddy Roosevelt proposed.

Back in 1910, Teddy Roosevelt came up with a radical plan: Tax the fuck out of the wealthy who earned their money not through labor or services rendered, but through "gambling in stocks." Roosevelt said, "I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and in another tax which is far more easily collected and far more effective-a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion, and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate." Teddy also proposed giving workers rights like minimum wage and regulations for child labor and sanitary conditions.

Look, yeah, yeah, times were different. Yeah, yeah, the President can only do what Congress will allow. But if you're going to spend time laying out a vision of what you'd like the nation to achieve, you should probably be a bit more ambitious in the scope of what you want to accomplish than a slight re-jiggering of taxes and the placement of a good bureaucrat. Howzabout new regulations with real teeth on banking and on the influence of money in politics? Howzabout a massive jobs program based on infrastructure spending and the green economy?

Or perhaps (and this is probably true) we've gotten so used our American inertia that small motions towards progress have become mighty gestures.


Newt and Callista: A Romance on Film:
Current Republican presidential nomination race leader, former Speaker of the House and entrepreneur, the plump and wretched Newt Gingrich, and his frightening wife, Callista, who is noted for her ability to play the French horn (that's true, by the way), have appeared in a series of films for their for-profit company, Gingrich Productions (which is linked to Gingrich's campaign website, Newt.org, which sounds like a fetish club for amphibianophiles). The odd thing is that in nearly every single one, no matter what the subject, the couple appear side-by-side, Newt screen left, Callista right, as if they are conjoined twins attached at the shoulder:

Here they are in We Have the Power, which is about sucking sweet oil out of the ground.

Here's the loving spouses in Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous With Destiny (which is oddly not about Reagan meeting Satan for his just reward in Hell).

And here they are in Nine Days That Changed the World, about Pope John Paul II's visit to Poland where he molested Lech Walesa's kids and started the Solidarity movement. That's the Vatican in the background, so they got a vacation out of the production.

Oh, this is a serious and spooky one: America at Risk, because, Newt and Callista tell us, the terrorists are a-tryin' to kill us. That might be "Generic City Green Screen Image" behind them.

This one's from the recent City Upon a Hill, which is about how exceptional America is. We're filthy with exceptionalism.

And the Rude Pundit's favorite title: Rediscovering God in America II: Our Heritage. He loves that there was apparently so much more to say after part 1 that a sequel was necessary. It would have been cool to be called "The Goddening."

The point here isn't shitty production values and a for-profit way of conning conservatives out of cash. No, it's that all of these are funded by Citizens United. You know, the Citizens United that went to the Supreme Court and got corporations declared people who could spend unlimited amounts of unlimited donations from unlimited anonymous sources to created unlimited issue ads that more or less support specific candidates, like their employee, Newt Gingrich.

Well, at least Newt and Callista are camera ready. They even know their marks.


Cain in Vain:
So it was on Saturday that the Rude Pundit awoke and sat down on the couch with a bowl of cereal and a big ass mug of coffee. He turned on the TV and saw that the MSNBC was showing The House on Murder Mountain, and, really, with a title like that, it didn't matter what it was about. It could have been Care Bear furry snuff porn. He was going to watch. But, no, there would be no house, no murder, no mountain.

Instead, he was greeted by race traitor Alveda King, niece of MLK himself, talking about something worthless in front of a crowd in Atlanta. It was time, anchor Alex Witt told us, for Herman Cain to announce whether or not he was going to continue his campaign in the wake of a series of sexual allegations wherein the lobbyist and inspirational speaker either fucked or tried to fuck various women. But first we had to hear Michael D. Steele, the Army colonel who was reprimanded for giving orders that resulted in the deaths of Iraqi civilians. So, yeah. He barked at us about doing the Pledge of Allegiance like we mean it, not like we're a bunch of pussies who don't gun down unarmed civilians.

Then Cain, dragging his poor wife, Gloria, with him, walked up to the dais in shades, and, well, hell, you know what happened next. A few random observations here:

- Cain said, "The pundits would like for me to shut up, drop out, and go away." Speaking for pundits everywhere, are you fucking kidding? It's people like Herman Cain who make our jobs easier. Got nothing to write about? Huh. What crazy shit did Herman Cain say yesterday? That well is dry now.

- He also said, "[W]e know that those false and unproved allegations are not true." Umm, "unproved" means that there's a chance they could be proved. Just sayin'.

- Essentially, all Cain said was "Those women are liars and to prove it, I'm quitting my campaign. Kiss Herman Cain's ass and buy his book. Cain forever."

- One other note to all of the people who supported Cain and the "pundits" who proclaimed him the best, most authentic candidate who can beat Barack Obama, especially those made a big deal about his race: If your candidate says the word "Pokemon," not as a joke but as a source for a quote-worthy "poem," in his speech where he's quitting his campaign, he not only was never that serious a candidate, he wasn't that serious a grown-up.

Adios, Herman Cain. Your campaign was a success: You've lined up enough rubes who'll pay to see your egress to keep you rich the rest of your life.

Note: Everything you need to know about Herman Cain can be gleaned from a Godfather's Pizza commercial from 1988, when Cain was CEO, wherein a black guy tries to tell everyone he's exactly like the old white guy next to him.
The Most Elitist, Idiotic Paragraph You'll See This Week in a Major Newspaper:
Just for a quick hit of pure, sadistic glee, the Rude Pundit is sharing this one paragraph from the latest "column" (if by "column," you mean, "the numbingly stupid rantings of someone Glenn Beck finds credible") by oh-so-sassy, neo-Coulter S.E. Cupp in the New York Daily News:

"If you’ve spent any time in the American South (I began this week in North Carolina, incidentally), you know it’s a land where your picture is made and not taken, Auburn is a religion and not a color and there are no problems that a little sweet tea and barbecued ribs can’t solve. I will not argue the last point."

Where is this fantasy place, this South-Land amusement park? And what was the whole "column" about? Who the fuck cares? Once you've written something so unbearably patronizing and smugly elitist, like a Victorian anthropologist delighted with the time spent with the wogs, you have lost any shred of credibility on anything.

(One other thing - and, yeah, sometimes meaningless shit sticks in the Rude Pundit's craw: that last sentence, "I will not argue the last point." Sarah, Sarah, you're the one making the initial assertion. If you might argue with it, why the fuck make it in the first place? And the assumption is that if you make a point, you're not gonna dispute it immediately. Apparently, "editing" is not really something the editors at the Daily News do.)

Okay, seriously, back in a few with Cain.
Late Birthday Post Today:
The Rude Pundit is probably already drunk as he celebrates his birthday. Later, there will be ecstasy, there will be dwarves, there will be implements of various and sordid uses, there will be at least one animal sacrifice (well, at least one grilled). Back later with a few final jabs at Herman Cain.


Guest Post: On Occupy Supply by Brian Sonenstein at Firedoglake:
(Bumped to the top for the weekend)
At Firedoglake, our network of member volunteers started a project to help the Occupy Movement survive the winter. It started as a road trip with FDL Dissenter reporter Kevin Gosztola visiting different occupations across the Midwest, delivering cold weather supplies to the protesters he met along the way. We raised money for the road trip as part of a campaign we called the Occupy Supply Fund, and committed 100% of the donations to buying and delivering supplies to the protesters and occupations who needed them most.

It was an immediate success, and the occupations Kevin visited were very grateful for the help. But we knew that Kevin would never make it to enough occupations before winter to make a real impact, and our members and activists wanted very much to help. Here at The Rude Pundit, the Blanket the Earth campaign you all have organized is providing a beautiful and important structure for folks to donate their secondhand and store-bought goods to their local occupations. At FDL, we took a slightly different tact, deciding the most efficient thing we could do as a community with our time and resources was to buy as much regionally- and union-made cold weather gear as possible -- from jackets and hats to sleeping bags and generators -- and immediately ship them out to protests across the country.

We got to work. Our founder Jane Hamsher assumed what turned out to be the unfortunately Herculean task of sourcing regional, American and Union made cold weather clothing from what remains of the American textile industry. It was a truly eye-opening experience, and as Jane wrote at FDL:

"It was not an easy task to source all of these union suppliers, and it was extraordinarily depressing. The garment manufacturing industry in the United States has been decimated by NAFTA. Link after link to once thriving union shops were dead, even in the past few years. They went out of business. They were gobbled up and gutted, or the jobs went overseas. Or both.

"Which leads right back to Occupy Wall Street. As American manufacturing goes, so goes the American middle class — which was built on manufacturing jobs. 'Decline' is too delicate of a word to describe what happened. American manufacturing and the middle class economic stability that went with it were sabotaged by cooperation between leaders of both political parties."

The Occupy Supply fund is not only supporting the occupy protesters, but we’re putting our money where our mouths are, and using our purchasing power to support American manufacturing jobs, fair wages, and full benefits.

The next challenge was to develop a network to get this stuff out there, because we didn’t just want to ship boxes of supplies to the occupations -- we wanted to show up and let the protesters see some of the faces of the people who are working hard to support them. So we tapped our members to volunteer as what we call Occupy Supply Liaisons.

These Liaisons are the kind souls who visit occupations regularly, talking to and establishing relationships with protesters, keeping tabs of the size of their encampments and the issues affecting them, compiling requests for supplies and working directly with the fund to receive shipments and deliver them back at camp. Our goal is to have liaisons create lasting relationships with occupations so we can continue to help them long after the winter.

We now have Liaisons in over 40 states across the country, and in some place multiple liaisons working together at a single occupation. Our shipments have begun to arrive over the past week and my colleague Ryan Cook has been working frantically sending shipments out of Jane’s basement each day.

In just over a month, the Occupy Supply fund has raised an incredible $140,000, of which we’ve spent over $82,000 solely on supplies - and we are constantly updating our stock to meet the various needs of the protesters. We’ve bought jackets, hats, base layers, sleeping bags, tents, generators, Tiny Homes, foodstuffs, and so much more -- and all of this has been and continues to be personally delivered by dedicated, passionate FDL volunteers.

And on Monday we launched our next stage of the project to give folks another way to show their support and aid the occupations: the Occupy Supply store. For every item you buy, we’ll match it with a donation of the same item to an occupier in need. Every item in our store is Union made in the USA.

We are so pleased with the enthusiasm we have seen so far for helping this important protest against greed and inequality. I hope you will check out the Occupy Supply fund and support our efforts to prepare the protesters for winter alongside the wonderful work you are all doing here.


Photos to Remind You About That Thing Going On in Afghanistan:
SFC Benari Poulten, who you should follow on the Twitter machine, sent these pictures from Howz-e Madad, which, according to Google Earth, is approximately on the ass crack of nowhere in Afghanistan.

Poulten, who Jon Stewart dubbed "GI Jew" and who calls himself "America's most adorable soldier," said that "we helped open a new school, police station, and medical clinic." (Your objection that we need schools, police stations, and medical clinics paid for by the federal government right here in the USA is duly noted and appreciated.)

And here's your happy foreign children, with remarkably good teeth, smiling for the camera.

The Rude Pundit doesn't put this up here for any kind of "balance" or some such shit. He wants this war over now and Benari and all the troops home. It's just that reality is always complicated. And for all the bad that we've done in Afghanistan, we're still trying to do bits of good and those bits of good actually do help some of the people we've harmed.