GOP Strippers in Vegas

Whether its super-rich Jews in Vegas, super-rich Christians in Virginia Beach, or super-rich Muslims in Buffalo, there's just something crazy creepy about gatherings of religion-based political groups. Fuck, it's creepy that this is what politics has come to in the United States: pleasing the oligarchs. It's even creepier when the aforementioned Jews in Vegas, the Republican Jewish Coalition, met this past weekend because essentially the event was all just a chance for potential presidential candidates to do a shimmying striptease in front of gratuitously wealthy billionaire, Sheldon "Poster Child for Everything Wrong in America" Adelson.

Adelson is the owner of the Venetian Hotel and Casino, the Sands Convention Center, and loads of other shit. His money is made from gambling and the availability of legal whores, so, of course, he is the Uncle Sugar of the Republican Party. And he's a Jew. That's significant because he bankrolls the RJC and the RJC, while also concerned about general Republican nonsense (which mostly is "Fuck that Obama"), it is mega-concerned with Israel. The RJC has an Israel dildo so far up its ass that they yell, "Bibi!" when they ejaculate. This means, of course, that if you're a Republican, you better say that you will stone cold murder anyone who throws the stink eye at Israel. You better shut that shit about giving rights to Palestinians. You better be willing to bomb the fuck out of Iran. Otherwise, if you just blow Israel's circumcised cock and neglect the balls, like Obama, you are not a "friend" to the Jewish state.

So it was at the RJC's Spring Leadership Meeting, and what a time it was. What with war criminal and former VP Dick Cheney defending the NSA at the Gala Dinner, a poker tournament where the buy-in was probably more than most of us make in a year, and a chance to watch madman John Bolton talk about what a pussy President Obama is, it was like a bar mitzvah on top of a Gaza missile strike of a party.

The big event was, of course, watching the current and former governors take their clothes off to audition for lead stripper in the GOP. First up was Wisconsin's Scott Walker, who went for an oldie but a goodie: the feather fan dance. His delicate little prance was all tease and no real show, except for the top of his ass when he turned his back and winked at Adelson, saying, "It's a sad commentary where we're at in American society that sometimes I get called courageous just because I kept my word." He gave his room key to Adelson when he said that he put up a menorah on Hanukkah. Adelson handed it off to a flunky because he gets one erection a cycle, and he wasn't gonna waste it on Walker.

Then New Jersey's Chris Christie came out like a meth-craving slut at a South Amboy truck stop/all-nude club. He was down to a g-string about two minutes into his 40-minute speech, tossing out incomprehensible-but-tough-sounding bullshit like "I am not in this business to win the argument. I am in this business to win elections." Then he ripped off the g-string and bent over to present his puckered asshole to Adelson when he talked about meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "The Greatest, Bravest Living Man Living" Netanyahu: "I was extraordinarily taken by his strength and resolve under circumstances that none of us can imagine." Except, oops, looks like while he was standing there, Christie ended up farting. He said, "I took a helicopter ride from the occupied territories," and those last two words are apparently the worst thing you can say ever because Christie had to let Adelson's personal assistant fuck his ass later while Adelson giggled and clapped and threw hundreds at them both.

It just gets even sadder and creepier. Ohio's John Kasich tried to spin his nipple tassels in opposite directions by mentioning how he was installing a Holocaust memorial at the statehouse. The day before, Jeb Bush, at a VIP dinner for him (code for "Sheldon wants you so he doesn't have to remember a new president's name"), twerked it up as he talked about immigration and chided Obama for what he called "American passivity" in the world, despite all the drone murder and NSA surveillance.

Adelson will determine who will be the nominee at some point in the near future because he believes in, what do you call it, democracy? Sure. Let's go with that.

(Note: The Rude Pundit is Jewish. This ain't hatred of people because they're Jewish. It's hatred of them because they're assholes.)


Christie Internal Review Report: "Bitches Be Crazy"

Reading the report on the internal "investigation" of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, conducted by lawyers hired by "the governor's office," but not representing the governor, per se (which means their fee could be paid by the citizens of New Jersey), the inescapable conclusion is that, when it comes to the George Washington Bridge traffic and Sandy funds for Hoboken scandals, poor, innocent Chris Christie is just a victim of all these crazy bitches trying to fuck his shit up.

You got the spurned, sex-starved bitch, former Christie aide Bridget Anne Kelly. The report says, "Kelly’s personal life may have had some bearing on her subjective motivations and state of mind." She was totally fucked up because she had a "hospitalized family member." And then there was all that Bill Stepien cock. Yeah, she and Christie's former campaign manager were all up in each other's hoo-hahs with the boning. But, sadly, it ended, and apparently Kelly, being a crazy bitch, was just hungry for more cock: "[H]er first known communication to [creepy motherfucker David] Wildstein about the lane realignment in mid-August 2013, for example, occurred around the time that her personal relationship with Stepien had cooled, apparently at Stepien’s behest and Stepien and Kelly had largely stopped speaking. Indeed, that fact may have affected how Kelly and Stepien conducted themselves and whether they communicated about the lane realignment."

In other words, Kelly was so cock-mad and so hurt by his breakup with her that she decided to take out her righteous anger at men and her obvious sexual frustration by saying to Wildstein, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

Holy shit. Maybe the whole thing was a misunderstanding. What if that was actually code for Wildstein to fuck her? What if she called her pussy "Fort Lee"? And "traffic problems" meant getting her snatch congested with Wildstein's dick? And maybe Wildstein, not used to a booty call, just completely got it wrong and, instead of getting his nut off on Kelly, caused a four-day traffic snarl on an entrance to the busiest bridge in the country? Oh, fuck: Bridget/bridge? It all makes sense now. Of course, Christie couldn't know anything about it (except when Wildstein told him, but, oops, slipped his mind).

As for Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer's allegation that the Christie administration said her town could go fuck itself for Sandy recovery funds if she didn't approve a development deal, man, that bitch is totally crazy: "the subjective perceptions she may have do not match objective reality, as reflected in the hard evidence uncovered during our investigation."

How real is reality? Well, Zimmer said that the Rockefeller Group's development project was "backed by lawyers she perceived as close to the Governor." How crazy does a bitch have to be to think that a law firm named for Port Authority Chair David Samson, appointed by Chris Christie, might be close to the governor? Man, she must be out of touch with the world if she believes that, as the report says about lobbyists for the Rockefeller Group, "former members of the Christie Administration" might be close to the governor? Bitches and their bitch-eyed perceptions, right?

Yeah, even the Lieutenant Governor saw how this bitch was when she wasn't intimidating Zimmer at all: "the Lieutenant Governor recalled having to be firm with Mayor Zimmer and being frustrated with Mayor Zimmer’s single-minded focus on Hoboken, as Mayor Zimmer was failing to recognize the needs of the State as a whole." See? You put a crazy bitch in charge of a city, and she just gets all up in your shit about her town's needs. Man, give a bitch the tip, she just wants it all.

And as for the allegation that another official, Commissioner Richard Constable, tried to get Zimmer to approve the project at a televised town hall? Well, the report shows you, in a series of photographs, just how wild-eyed and crazy that bitch was. "The next photograph at 7:37 p.m. and one second is a little blurry but appears to show Mayor Zimmer talking with her mouth open and both of her hands lifted in the air." Later, a photo shows Zimmer yawning, and the report concludes, "A person does not normally yawn when being threatened, coerced, or spoken to improperly." The logic is impeccable.

We cannot blame Chris Christie for all the way that crazy bitches act crazy. And while the report doesn't offer any reason as to why Kelly would have ordered the bridge closure or why Zimmer would have made the allegations against the Christie administration, the answer is obvious: Chicks, you know? 'Cause the alternative is that Christie is a lying sack of shit up to his eyeballs in lies trying to desperately rescue the hot air balloon of his political career from plummeting to earth.

Who are you gonna trust? An upstanding, calm, reasonable, bipartisan individual like Chris Christie? Or someone with a vagina?


Your State Sucks: Tennessee Sucks Because Its Lawmakers Will Make Sure Jesus Gets into the Classroom

The Rude Pundit has taught students in fine Christian areas of the nation, places where the citizens walk around with a tightly-inserted vibrating Jesus butt plug so they can feel the Lord's love convulsing their bodies all day long. He so often had Jesus shoved in his face by students that he created a rule: You cannot argue by using any religion's standard text as a fact that proves or disproves something. "Why?" they would ask. "Don't you care about our faith?"

The answer was always the same: "If you say the Bible proves the earth was pooped out by God in seven days, then I can say I believe the creation myth of some Native American religion and then who is right? You'll say you are, I'll say I am, so, no, sorry, no books of faith. No Bible, no Quran, no Tibetan Book of the Dead, nothing." (And, let's be honest: we can try to be all-inclusive here, but this professor has never had a Muslim or Jewish or Hindu student attempt to shoehorn his or her faith into a secular classroom situation. It's always been Christians.) The Rude Pundit told them that if they wanted to, they could use a quote or parable as introductory material, or acknowledge that what they took from the Bible is not fact.

Inevitably, some evangelical student would do something stupid. Like the time the Rude Pundit was leading the students in a creative exercise where he had them lay on their backs and picture themselves flying to various places. One male class member wrote that he would not give in to this demonic out-of-body projection and that he spent his time praying for the souls of the students and the Rude Pundit. It was not a joke. On the bottom of the page, the Rude Pundit wrote, "Did you ever hear of 'using your imagination'?"

And then sometimes a student would just look at his computer screen, say, "Fuck it," and then write a paper where, say, a text by a gay writer would be condemned because the Bible says queers are icky. There was even a graduate student who did that. The Rude Pundit failed the paper, which, if you know anything about grad schools, is a huge deal. He offered the student the chance to revise, even to use Christianity as a way to theorize about the text. The student thought about it and decided that he would rather say the text was sinful because Jesus and take the "F." His parent must have been so proud; no doubt, the Rude Pundit is thought to this day as someone who was oppressing their brave child.

Now, this was all at colleges, but some of this took place in Tennessee, and the legislature there, by overwhelming, veto-proof margins, just passed the Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act. It applies to all the public K-12 schools in the state, all the Local Education Agencies (LEAs). The bill allows students to express their religion at school with no fear of being silenced or punished. Teachers and schools "may not discriminate against the student based on a religious viewpoint expressed by the student on an otherwise permissible subject."

And what kind of expression? Why, little John and Jenny the Baptists can fondle themselves and ejaculate their religious beliefs all over anything. They can witness for Jehovah at assemblies or at graduation. They can form school groups that worship Satan and have their meetings in the hell that is the cafeteria. Oh, and they can do it in their homework: "A student may express the student's beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of the student's submission. Homework and classroom work shall be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school. Students may not be penalized or rewarded on account of religious content. If a teacher’s assignment involves writing a poem, the work of a student who submits a poem in the form of a prayer (for example, a psalm) should be judged on the basis of academic standards, including literary quality, and not be penalized or rewarded on account of its religious content."

Imagine being a high school teacher in Tennessee. Let's say in, oh, hell, Cookeville, nestled in there between Knoxville and Nashville. You already have to teach your class so that students can do well on the TCAP, the goddamned standardized tests that are shoved down your throat like having to suck hot demon cock every year. Now, in the middle of the year, one of your students, that asshole junior who started the morning prayer circle and is so fucking proud of himself for it, gets up in class to give a presentation on how James Baldwin is burning in hell because he was gay, and the only criteria you can use to grade the fucker is whether or not the presentation was a quality expression of hate in the name of his Lord.

And you can bank on it: Students will use their faith to enact their prejudice against others. LGBT students would just have to sit there and take it when the always skirt-wearing Susie gets up to talk about how they are abominations. Oh, sure, we can say that a particularly brave Muslim might praise Allah, but, c'mon, it's fuckin' Tennessee. It's gonna be Christians. It's always Christians. Otherwise, this bill wouldn't have even been drafted.

Well-done, Tennessee legislators. As always, you've manipulated the notion of freedom to mean, "Free to fuck up your world."

Oh, and like the good Christians they are, the Senate is about to vote on a bill to allow the use of the electric chair in executions if the drugs for putting people to sleep are unavailable. Just like Jesus would want.


Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby: Discount Crosses and Abortion

This is a cross with an American flag and lone star on it. It is, as you can see, sold by Hobby Lobby for the more than fair price of $14.99.

At Hobby Lobby, you can buy all kinds of crosses. There's the Blessed Girls cross that looks like Hello Kitty could be crucified on it. That one says, "Giggle" on the top because that's obviously what Jesus did as nails were being hammered into him. There's a cross with crosses on it to show that you love Christ more than anyone else. There're blue, red, or yellow crosses; a cross made of horseshoes; and even a cross with zebra stripes. There're more than 150 different kinds of crosses you can buy from Hobby Lobby, and that's not even getting into all the other things that have crosses on them as decoration.

Why do they have so many crosses? Because the founder of Hobby Lobby, David Green, loves Jesus. He loves Jesus with all his heart and soul. He loves Jesus so fucking much that he thinks he is betraying the words of Jesus if he provides health insurance to employees that allows them to get four methods of birth control that, despite all science to the opposite, he believes cause abortions. Indeed, Green himself said that they are "what I believe are abortion-causing drugs." In other words, part of the Affordable Care Act might be changed because David Green thinks the morning-after pill does something it does not. So the case is not just about what his particular invisible sky wizard wants. It's about how he doesn't care what facts are.

He would rather not provide health insurance than be forced to provide insurance that covers those birth control methods. The case was just heard in the Supreme Court, and, despite the best efforts of the female justices, the male justices sure seemed to side with David Green, especially about the morning after pill and IUDs being abortifacents.

But let's get back to the crosses, shall we?

Chances are that most of those crosses are made in China. Indeed, chances are that most of Hobby Lobby's goods are made in China. They are made in large factories by companies that pay taxes and fees to the Chinese government. Hobby Lobby pays the Chinese corporations, they pay the government, and the government uses the money to fund its operations. That's the way it works. One of the things the Chinese government, especially on the provincial and local levels, uses its funds for is to propagate and enforce a one-child policy. Enforcement of this policy leads to forced abortions, sterilization, and infanticide. This is what actually happens; these abortions are real, not what anyone "believes," like the supposed abortions caused by the morning-after pill.

Now, the Rude Pundit is far from the first person to point out the hypocrisy of Hobby Lobby indirectly funding abortions in China while wanting to deny access to some of the most effective means of preventing abortion to its employees. He may not be the first person to say that if anti-choice lawmakers really gave a damn about abortion, they would try to ban American companies from doing business with China until it changed its policy. But he would like to be the first person to say this:

When you buy a cross at Hobby Lobby, you are helping to pay for abortions in China.

Hobby Lobby says on its website that it is committed to "Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with biblical principles." Apparently, those principles end at the borders of the United States. And that gives the game away, doesn't it? That all David Green and his supporters really care about is controlling the bodies of American women?

There are two sentences, one after another, on that same "Our Company" page that provide an amazing juxtaposition. First, we're told, "We believe that it is by God's grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured. He has been faithful in the past, and we trust Him for our future." And then, immediately after, we're reminded, "Hobby Lobby is THE place to shop with everyday Super Selections and Super Savings!" Yes, we all remember that biblical passage that said, "Acquire all ye can as ye may of earthly goods manufactured by disposable and cheap labor so that ye may get discounts great and deep on all your scrapbooking needs." That was in Paul's Letter to the Bargain Hunters, right?

Still, no matter which way the Supreme Court case goes (and it's not looking good for people who believe "religious liberty" means "liberated from your religion"), you can always tell your mom or your neighbor that the next time they spend money at Hobby Lobby, to buy a cross or a wooden dowel or some ribbon, they are supporting abortion. Thank them for helping to keep the population down, just like their allies, the Chinese government, would.


Republicans Angry That Obama Seems Weak on Russia But Forget That They Weakened Him

Around Republican circles, it has become a truism that President Barack Obama, when not ruthlessly forcing people to have abortions in the aisles of Hobby Lobby and putting job creators in FEMA camps, is weak, oh, so very weak when it comes to dealing with the badass motherfuckers of the world, like Vladimir Putin or Bashar al-Assad. Every time Obama doesn't either blow shit up or give people a ton of weapons, Republicans go on the air or scribble editorials about how Obama is essentially the designated punk in the cell block, just hoping that he doesn't get ass-fucked too hard by the neo-Nazi and Musim prisoners who trade him back and forth for cigarettes and heroin.

Regarding Obama's reaction to Russia's taking of the Crimean region of the Ukraine, John McCain said on MSNBC last Monday, "I don’t know how it could have been weaker besides doing nothing." In a statement released the same day, he said, "How we respond to Putin's flagrant aggression in Ukraine is being watched far beyond Europe. From Asia and the Middle East to here in our own hemisphere, America's friends and adversaries are paying close attention to this crisis. They are watching to see whether President Obama's actions match his rhetoric, and they will respond accordingly." McCain wants to arm the Ukrainians with a larger arsenal because there's no chance ever that those weapons would be used against us at some point. When has that ever happened, except nearly every time?

It's easy to rag on McCain because fuck that guy. But you can pretty much find any Republican taking up the "Weak Obama" talking point and getting creative with it. McCain's favorite lady senator, Lindsey Graham, said it all goes back to the scandal that dare not ever be investigated (except for being totally investigated): "[Putin] has basically come to the conclusion after Benghazi, after Syria, after Egypt, after everything, that Obama has been engaged in, he is a weak, indecisive leader." And what makes Obama weak? Talking too long on the phone: "You don't talk to Putin for an hour and a half on the phone. You have about a five minute conversation. You say, Mr. President, what you are doing is wrong. It's illegal. You are breaking the 1994 agreement between Russia and the Ukraine. You are outside of the International Law. And we will take decisive action unless you withdraw immediately. You don't stay on the phone with the guy an hour and a half." And then you slam down that receiver without even a polite "Goodbye" to show him that you are serious and tough, right, sister?

Representative Mike Rogers said that Obama's foreign policy is "disjointed" and that makes us look weak. Senator Marco Rubio released his slam poem, "8 Steps Obama Must Take to Punish Russia." Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said some stupid fucking thing that still won't get people to take him and his engorged Adam's apple seriously as a presidential candidate. Even Mitt "That Guy That Lost" Romney chimed in this past weekend on Face Bob Schieffer's Reanimated Corpse. While Mitt Romney should demur on all foreign policy questions with "Hey, I lost, so I don't think about this shit," he instead said, "[T]here's no question but that the president's naiveté with regards to Russia, and his faulty judgment about Russia's intentions and objectives, has led to a number of foreign policy challenges that we face." And then he blathered something about Syria.

Perhaps when speaking about Obama's muscle or fat on dealing with crises overseas, every so-called expert should put in a big, neon-glowing caveat: Anyone who can send a drone plane to missile murder the fuck out of someone any time he wants while most foreign leaders just roll their eyes over it is never truly weak on the world stage.

However, that said, what Republicans ought to be doing is crowing about how they weakened the president. For what was their goal in the last five years except to use obstruction, attack, and lying to degrade Obama and his presidency? Rather than get all pissy that Obama appears weak, do a fuckin' victory lap. Slap each other on the back. Have a celebratory Scotch and a circle jerk. You did it, GOP. You so weakened President Obama at home that it may well have weakened him when it comes to foreign policy.

See, Republicans love to say that Obama ultimately relenting on bombing Syria or refusing to admit that Benghazi is the worst thing that ever happened, worse than a dozen 9/11s covered in a Pearl Harbor sauce, demonstrates to Vladimir Putin that he's just a pushover, a pussy, a child when it comes to dealing with world powers. But they don't mention that the Senate GOP has prevented confirmation of dozens of officials in the State Department, that place that handles this part of the job. This follows years of filibustering of nominees. When she was Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton once told a Senate panel regarding the blocking of nominees to diplomatic positions, "It became harder and harder to explain to countries, particularly countries of significance, why we had nobody in position for them to interact with...their view does color whether the United States … is in a position going forward to demonstrate the kind of unity and strength and effectiveness that I think we have to in this very complex and dangerous world."

You know what emboldens foreign leaders to do shit without giving a damn what the United States might do? You know what weakens this country in the eyes of the world? When they see that the president can't get anything passed in the Congress. When they see that he can't even get a fucking ambassador confirmed by lawmakers. So take a fuckin' bow, Republicans, especially the ones who are bitching about Obama's "weakness." You did it. Own that shit.

Of course, Republicans never own what they've done. Because ultimately, if their talking point, their fiction, of a weak Obama is true, it's also because of the wreckage left behind by the last president, who was enabled by the very people who still, for some reason, are allowed to talk about what is good for the country.


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Force an Oil Exec to Eat a Sweet Crude-Coated Seagull

Texas sure has a literal way of celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez spill in Prince William Sound. Yep, that's a barge partially sunk there and it leaked over 160,000 gallons of marine fuel oil into the Houston Ship Channel at Galveston Bay. While that's only about a fraction of the oil that fucked Alaska like a male polar bear on a Viagra-and-meth binge, it's still a whole lot of "heavy tar-like oil." It's closed one of the busiest waterways in the world for clean-up.

Oh, and hey, bonus points: the name of the ship that collided with the barge was "Summer Wind," which just sounds like global warming. It's like getting punched in the face by a stripper named "Chastity."

Oh, and hey, bonuser points: the oil spill comes at a time when tens of thousands of migratory birds will be camping out at the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary, just east of the spill. The "sanctuary" part is ironic.

You know, Texas, you could have just sent flowers to Alaska. You didn't need to do the whole reenactment thing. But the accuracy is stunning. Why, you just want to break out the liquid soap and paper towels for old times sake.

Yes, when it comes to ruining the environment, everything old is always, always new again:

Late Post Today

Doctor Psycho is loose and bending minds, which explains CNN's recent madness. Gotta gas up the invisible plane and get to work.

Back later with more golden lariats of rudeness.


Reminders of How Small We Are: MH370 and Justin Casquejo

You can bet that there will be a movie made about 16-year-old Justin Casquejo. When the kid from Weehawken, New Jersey (the town where Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton dueled to the death), got to the top of the unopened 1 World Trade Center in order to take photos to post to Twitter, he was following an impulse that in other times made people conquer mountains and rivers, doing the impossible for the first time. Imagine the view he had, alone, at the very end of night, at the very beginning of sunrise, on top of the tallest building in the country. He also demonstrated, probably unwittingly, just how tenuous, how permeable, how human our belief in security is.

If you've been to the 9/11 Memorial, you know that you have to pass through ridiculous levels of security. If you came in from New Jersey on the PATH train, you no doubt walked past soldiers armed with rifles. You had to get your ticket in advance in order for someone to check if your name is on any watch list. You had to go through a metal detector and a possible pat-down. While you were walking around the cascading pools, you couldn't help but see all the guards and police. This place, you are shown in absolutely certain terms, will not be attacked again, at least not by someone on foot. Apparently, though, not so much for the construction site that's still up around the nearly-complete skyscraper.

Often we must learn a simple lesson through violence - that schools aren't built to prevent shootings, that airplanes can be taken over with razor blades - and then we react and believe we have come up with a way to keep us safe. But, as further violence demonstrates, that safety, security in a larger sense, is a lie.

What Justin Casquejo did in the innocent, adolescent, brave, and stupid act of sneaking through a fence was to show us how meaningless our security apparatus is, how we've given over so much of our freedom to a fraud, to a thin veneer of protection that was punctured by a kid with a camera. It was, in its way, the gentlest act of terrorism one could commit. We are one sleeping guard away from anarchy. And it should be humbling not just to those who are supposed to keep us safe, but to all of us. By scaling the tower, Casquejo brought us to earth.

An even greater humbling is occurring in the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. It is, without a doubt, an unendurably awful vigil for the families of the 239 passengers and crew. Putting aside the ghoulish news network coverage of the search, let us instead see the inability to find a large jet plane as a moment for sublime wonder along with the very real suffering of very real people. The loss of a plane filled with electronics and devices that are supposed to make it near-impossible to lose is another kind of humbling, another demonstration of our limits.

We live, we are told, in a shrinking world, a world where data and technology are erasing old barriers to knowledge and to understanding, to the distance between people. But sometimes an event occurs that shows us just how huge and mysterious the planet actually is. In a time when Google Earth can let us see individual trees in an African jungle, when one can go thousands of miles in a few hours of flying, the fact that hundreds of people and a large object can disappear reinstills a long-gone sense of awe at the immensity of the world, especially of the oceans. Imagine this for a moment, too: We might not find Flight 370, perhaps not in our lifetimes, perhaps not ever, because the earth is just that big.

That's the takeaway from this: We still don't know what we're doing. It's the tragic and lovely thing about humans, that we often believe we have a grasp, that we have control, even when we have constant reminders that it's an illusion.


CNN Has Lost Its Goddamned Mind

Weary and rain-soaked, the Rude Pundit trudged into his flat last night close to 10 and, as is his way, lit a joint and turned on CNN to see if they had found the goddamn plane yet. There was a panel of, oh, hell, let's say 6 people, all talking to ostensible "newsman" Don Lemon. The first thing he heard was a correspondent for the network, Richard Quest, actually ask a guest, "It may seem an odd question, but I know these people have been used in murder investigations on many, many occasions." Then Dick Quest read a something from Radiotweek on Twitter, who is obviously who you turn to for reliable news. "'Investigators sometimes use psychics. Why hasn't anyone considered the services of a credible psychic specializing in missing persons?' I mean, it sounds incredible, but they have been used before."

You get this, right? A supposed journalist asked Jeff Wise, an aviation expert and scientist, why not use someone who thinks that ghosts talk to them or tarot cards or sky energy or whatever the fuck to find a very real plane with very real people on it? A plane that's way more than likely decorating Bikini Bottom right now? Yeah, let's ask every con artist and all the people who hear voices in their head what's going on. Why the fuck not? We got 24 hours to kill and nothing even remotely like news about the fate of Flight 370 to report.

Wise answered, "I think it's difficult to find a credible psychic," which is shorthand for "Are you fucking kidding me, you miserable excuse for a reporter? Let's just break out the Ouija board?"

But, oh, CNN was not done. A couple of minutes later, Lemon brought out more tweets in order to say, "Whether it was hijacking or terrorism or mechanical failure or pilot error, but what if it was something fully that we don't really understand? A lot of people have been asking about that, about black holes and on and on and on and all of these conspiracy theories. Let's look at this. Noha said, 'What else can you think? Black hole? Bermuda triangle?'" And then Deji says, 'Just like the movie 'Lost."'"

Okay, Lemmywinks, if you're relying on someone who doesn't realize that Lost was a TV show, you're scraping under the barrel for the goo that's dripping from it. Sorry, Noha and Deji, for spoiling your moment in the dying sun of cable news.

But, wait, he continued, "And of course, it's also -- they're also referencing The Twilight Zone, which has a very similar plot. That's what people are saying." People are also saying it's the Illuminati in cahoots with, fuck, let's say Mossad and, why not, the Masons. And what episode of Twilight Zone? The one where the plane was an illusion? Or the one where it went back to dinosaur times? Or are you saying it was gremlins? Was it gremlins? Do we need to get a psychic to talk to the gremlins with her mind? Goddamnit, where is Medium when you need her?

Lemon was quizzing Mary Schiavo, former inspector general of the United States, about black holes, Bermuda Triangles, islands where everyone is dead (except they're not, but maybe they are; goddamnit, that was a waste of six years), and gremlins. "I know it's preposterous," Lemon scoffed, then added quickly, "but is it preposterous, do you think, Mary?"

Schiavo looked like Lemon had asked her if she spits or swallows as she said, "A small black hole would suck in our entire universe. So we know it's not that. The Bermuda triangle is often weather, and Lost is a TV show." She then laid down some science: "I always like things for which there's data, history, crunch the numbers. So for me those aren't there." It would have been beautiful if she had just said, "Yes" and then stared at Lemon like he had just grown a boob on his forehead.

Does Don Lemon really want to be known as the Black Hole Guy? 'Cause he should be.

"Is CNN high?" the Rude Pundit wondered aloud and high. It's the kind of thing that you'd talk about sitting around with your stoned friends, passing a bong: "Dude, it's fuckin' wormholes. The plane is in another dimension, man. They're never gonna find it. It's up to the passengers to find the right wormhole to get home." Then someone would go on about aliens, someone else would chime in that it's now a ghost plane, a Flying Malasianman, perhaps, and finally someone would bring up how Ron Paul wants to legalize drugs and the whole conversation would be worthless.

The obsession CNN has with this story (which is all about ratings - it's the first time anyone's paid any attention to CNN in a long damn time) borders on psychopathic. Check out this partial list of yesterday's transcripts:

That's an entire day spent on nothing (with a brief diversion for something something Israel). Right now, Ashleigh Banfield is asking some dude about the scattering of debris and what if the floating thing near Australia is a shipping container or part of the plane (spoiler: It's probably a shipping container). CNN has become your crazy cousin who sits in the corner and rocks back and forth, muttering the same thing over and over.

Of course, there's always an upside to madness:


Chris Christie's Filthy Laundry

The most loathsome task anyone has in government in New Jersey is washing Governor Chris Christie's underwear. It's unending work, the poor bastards who do it say. "Sisyphus had it easy." Once a week, twice in warm weather, a pile of parachute-sized tightie-whities are brought to the launderers who have to make the drawers clean once again. The job was always arduous, what with the semen stains and ice cream spots. That was early on, when things were good for the governor, all adulation, hand jobs, and Friendly's. These days, though, Christ, the skid marks. And these shit streaks are deep, like into the cotton fibers themselves. Oh, the launderers scrub and scrub, with brushes and bleach, and they can get the skid marks to fade. But if you walk behind the State House, where the washbasins are, and you look at the underwear billowing in the breeze on the line, you can see that those tell-tale signs of filth remain. Anyone who washes clothes for a living will tell you: sometimes, the shit just sticks.

The Rude Pundit wonders if the people around Chris Christie think about how easy their lives would have been had their fearless leader never put out signs that he was interested in running for president, if, perhaps, the first time it was mentioned, he smacked it down, declared, "Never," and demurred on being the globular face of the Republican Party. They have to wonder how smoothly their rich people scams would have gone.

You have to think that Port Authority Chairman David Samson must be wishing that had been the case. Then, undeterred by the glowing lights of national media, he could have gone about his business of turning the Port Authority into an ATM for his law firm. He could have gotten away with, say, voting to give NJ Transit a $1 lease on property it had previously paid over $900,000 a year for after NJT paid Wolff and Samson $1.5 million for advice on profiting from parking lots. Samson also wouldn't be facing a subpoena from the U.S. Attorney in a federal investigation for "documents related to Samson's involvement in agency votes that benefited clients" of Wolff and Samson. That would include $2.8 billion in contracts to two companies represented by his law firm. Goddamn, how no one would have bothered questioning anything.

The concentric firewalls around Chris Christie keep getting breached. We are now at the innermost one, Bill Stepien, Christie's campaign manager. Emails demonstrate that he had real-time knowledge of the George Washington Bridge closure, including pleading messages from the mayor of Fort Lee. They also show that Stepien was kept informed about the media's interest in the bridge closure and that he approved of the cover story of the traffic study. We are as close to Christie as we can be without feeling his huffing breath.

Meanwhile, Christie is being confronted constantly now about the use and distribution of Sandy recovery funds. What do you like here? There's the orgy of influence-peddling and favor-granting that led to $25 million of it to be used for tourism ads featuring Chris Christie. There's the delay in getting aid to people who still don't have houses, as well as denials of money to people who have a genuine need (while there was still no problem in, you know, getting a $25 million commercial shoot and ad buy done). There's the still-unanswered questions about why the Christie administration fired HGI, the firm that had the contract to take care of distribution of housing funds. And let's not even get into Hoboken.

Or the truly disturbing story of Christie as U.S. Attorney going easy on a sex slave ringleader in order to get minor league dirt on Democratic mayors.

The stains are there, and they're stinking up the joint. At his last two town halls, protesters interrupted Christie to demand Samson resign and to demand answers on Sandy funds. In an attempt to get control back, a state trooper is now using the old intimidation technique of taking photos of hecklers.

The thing is that once you see the stains, you can't unsee them. You can't pretend they're not there. You can't look at Chris Christie and not think, "That son of a bitch has shit smeared on him. He needs to take his shit pants and go the fuck away."


Do Not Fear the New Look

The Rude Pundit was trying to fix something on his old-fashioned template, bringing out his rusty html skills or lack thereof, and he deleted the fuck out of a bit of code that he hadn't saved.

After a great deal of cussin' at the spiteful machine in front of him, he decided to embrace change. So it'll look a little different around here now, as you can see.

He's still futzing around with it. He's gotta re-enter each blog on the old roll hisself, so that'll take a couple of days. And he's not sure what to do with that big empty on the upper right corner. Elegant white space? Stupid ass logo? We shall see, we shall see.

One nice change: you can finally click on the title of the post to get a link to that post alone. No more complaining about not knowing what to do (click on the time - that was all - it was that goddamned easy).

It's a brave new world, motherfuckers.

Advice to Democrats Running for Senate, Part 2: The Koch Brothers Gambit Is Bullshit (Except in Alaska)

Advice to Democrats Running for Senate, Part 2: The Koch Brothers Gambit Is Bullshit (Except in Alaska):
If you go to the websites for two Democrats-In-Trouble, Senators Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina, right there on the homepage are headlines referencing the Brothers Koch. That would be little Davy and Charlie Koch, the conservative billionaires who are interested in opera, oil, and manipulation of the electorate through various PACs that create lie-filled or lie-adjacent ads against candidates, like Mary Landrieu or Kay Hagan. These scum-fucking pollution mongers can't explicitly advocate for a candidate because that's against the law. But they can say, "Mary Landrieu wants to work with the president to rape your children with Obamacare," and that's cool because freedom.

Landrieu's press release page is filled with responses to ads that come from Koch clubs, like Americans for Prosperity (which is about as empty a description as "Tweens for Ice Cream"), with constant references to "out-of-state billionaires" funding the ads. Hagan ties the Kochs to her opponent, Thom Tillis, and she has released statement after statement about the Kochs as an invasive species.

But let's pretend you're a North Carolina voter. You're looking up information on Hagan's website, and you see this headline: "David Koch Marries Ted Cruz With a Prenup by ALEC." Ultimately, it's a good introduction to the ways that Republicans are fucking over North Carolina through ludicrous tax policies and voter suppression laws. But that headline? That just sounds like crazy blog shit, like something the Rude Pundit would write (although it might read more like "Ted Cruz Blows David Koch on Their Honeymoon While ALEC Jacks Off in the Corner").

This has become one of the Democrats' chief strategies to try to keep the Senate. Harry Reid has amped up his attacks on the Kochs, calling them anti-American, anti-democracy, and just general dickfaces. It's all over the place in the campaigns. Mark Udall has "The Koch brothers can't buy Colorado." And he wants you to give him money to defeat the efforts of "anonymous special interest groups trying to buy this election."

Ultimately, this is a bullshit strategy because, frankly, most people don't give a happy monkey fuck about the Koch brothers. All an opposing candidate has to say is "Look, here's an outside group spending money on an ad against me," and the argument is over. What's the comeback? "My outside groups are good and yours are evil"? It's a waste of time, unless you want to spend precious ads explaining to people who the Kochs are and how they are motherfuckers, and doing it enough times to make a bunch of people beyond we idiots who wallow in Blogsylvania care. (Retort to that: "The Koch brothers aren't running for anything.") Now, if you want to make the case that all the outside groups should be forced by law to stay the hell out of campaigns, that Citizens United should be legislated out of existence, then you've got an issue. Otherwise, it just comes across as desperate.

Except for one race. In Alaska, Democrat Mark Begich has the ass-kickingest anti-Koch ad because it ain't just about lying outsiders. See, last month Koch Industries broke a five-year deal with Alaska and closed a refinery, partly because it had to deal with cleaning up a chemical spill, which Koch is trying to get out of. The Republican governor is suing Koch Industries to force them to clean up the site. It's so fucking embarrassing that AFP has pulled its attack ads against Begich from Alaska's airwaves.

See, Alaskans now give a shit about who the Kochs are. They aren't just another couple of rich pukes who wanna burn through millions of dollars on annoying ads. They are the rich pukes who poisoned the groundwater and took away jobs. That's visceral stuff right there, and Begich's ad takes full advantage of it. The lesson here for others, like Landrieu, Hagan, and Udall, is to find ways that the Kochs are sodomizing your states. They can be run out of town.

(By the way, Begich also is going after Citizens United, imploring voters to "Show Congress you want an end to Citizens United.")


Advice for Democrats Running for Senate, Part 1: Stop Cowering from Obamacare

Advice for Democrats Running for Senate, Part 1: Stop Cowering from Obamacare:
(Note: Obscenity-free for the kiddies)
Is this really that difficult, Democrats? Is it really that hard to bring yourselves to embrace the Affordable Care Act, say that the Republicans are dead wrong, and tell your constituents that they have been believing lies? Is it just that hard to find the stones to fight? Maybe it is. Maybe it's just easier to curl into a fetal ball, cover your head with your arms, and hope that no one hits you too hard.

Because, see, look how simple this is, Democrats in states where Republicans might pick up a Senate seat:

Montana - "Marilyn Bennett, who was diagnosed with breast cancer almost three years ago, said she had been paying $700 a month for a policy that had a $2,500 deductible and an out-of-pocket maximum of $5,000. Under the ACA, she was able to get better coverage — a lower deductible and out-of-pocket maximum — and save almost $500 a month on the cost thanks to federal subsidies. The 52-year-old Helena woman said the lesser financial burden is a huge help as she recovers her health and gets back on her feet and that she won’t mind paying more as her income increases and the subsidy decreases."

What about it, John Walsh? Why not call up Bennett and get an ad out there with her? Or how about an ad featuring some of the 50,000 Montanans who should have been covered by Medicaid expansion but were blocked by the state's Republicans? Walsh's campaign website has a page on the issues he's working on. It doesn't mention Obamacare or health care of any sort once. For a dude who did time in Iraq, that's some pretty straightforward cowardice right there.

Michigan - There's the story of Chip and Dolly Harris of Kalamazoo. Chip left his job at a plant to start a restaurant, but he lost his health insurance doing so 18 years ago. They went bankrupt and have lived without health coverage since 1996. Now that Chip's cleaning houses and Dolly's a waitress? "Their income is low enough that their subsidy completely covers the premium costs. The plan itself has a $350 deductible and $1,000 maximum cap on out-of-pocket costs. They have a $10 co-pay for doctor visits. In fact, both Chip and Dolly scheduled doctor visits in January and Chip Harris was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease." Chances are that Obamacare saved Chip's life.

How is that not all over the airwaves of Michigan, Gary Peters? Working class people who started a small business and failed? That's anecdote gold, Gary, gold. Instead of just challenging the lies that others put out about the ACA, offer some heartbreak and hope. Peters hasn't totally run from the ACA, but he should be celebrating it, putting it in the faces of his opponents, daring them to take health insurance away from people who just got it.

Louisiana - Hey, Mary Landrieu, quit pretending like Obamacare is your Kryptonite. It's not like Republicans were gonna let you slide if you had voted against it. You want a story? How about the Rude Pundit's sister? Yeah, she and her family, including a child with an expensive pre-existing condition, are going to save $500 a month over their current premiums starting in April. That's $6000 in their pockets that they'll spend in other ways, which, you know, multiplied by tens of thousands, would put a hell of a lot of money into the state's economy. See? Capitalism at work.

In other words, dear, frightened Democrats, you get nothing by distancing yourself from the Affordable Care Act. Stop letting Republicans and Fox "news" and talk radio dictate the rules of the game. Come right at them. Demand that they say what they'd do for the millions of people who just got covered. Make them own their cruelty.


Shut the Fuck Up and Bake the Fucking Cake

Shut the Fuck Up and Bake the Fucking Cake:
If you go to the website of 111 Cakery of Indianapolis, you see a fairly ugly design for the page, but, hell, the cakes look good, all covered with fondant and shit that people gotta have now that your networks of food and your bosses of cakes have made those over-the-top decorations total necessities.

You go the "About Us" page, and it's all pretty innocuous blather, like "One Eleven Cakery is an outlet to express our passion for cake by creating delicious works of art that reflect the personality of our client. We seek to establish life long customer relationships by exceeding even the highest expectations." That's damn friendly, inspiring even. The only thing that's even vaguely a warning is that they will not make you a cream-filled dick cake: "Everything we do is in 'good taste.'" (Ha-ha. Get it?)

111 Cakery's website, where one would go to learn about 111 Cakery should one want a 111 Cakery cake for one's wedding, contains not a single word about Jesus or the Bible or Christian beliefs. It sure as hell doesn't say a word, even on the Weddings page, that gay couples better not even ask to get their fudge-packed pastries or whatever the fuck they want for their nuptials from 111 Cakery.

That's a shame because if such a warning was there, then perhaps a gay couple would not have gone to 111 Cakery to ask the seemingly nice people there to bake a cake for their impending commitment ceremony, which is not a wedding, since that's not allowed in backwards ass Indiana. And then the owners of 111 Cakery would not have been on the news and would not have written a post on Facebook defending themselves for refusing to bake a gay cake.

Owners Trish and Randy McGath want you to know that there's no hate there: "Please know that there is zero hate here. We are not judging the lives of our clients." It's just that they wouldn't feel "inspired" (their word) to make a good cake. "It was not that we wanted to deny them a cake," they write. Oh, no, indeed: "it’s just tough to create something that goes against your beliefs...we want to be right with our God as well as respect others."

Now, lest you jump to the conclusion that they're lying about the lack of hate, the McGaths want you to know that they'll take gay money for other things: "We have happily done cakes for gay people, as well as people with different believes." That typo at the end is theirs. That's some fuckin' weirdo God who thinks it's cool for you to bake a gay birthday cake that will presumably be eaten by gay people but draws the line at a commitment ceremony. Kind of a fickle motherfucker, ain't he?

At this point, shouldn't we be done with this argument? Frankly, it's kind of fucked up if you hide behind your religion's skirt because you hate queers. You are allowed to think for yourself. It's not God or your pastor or your community or your parents or anything. It's you, and it's hate. Goddamn, just stop pretending it's not. Stop this pusillanimous bullshit of "As Christians we have a sincere love for people." Well, sure, except when you don't. Tell us how what you did was a sign of Christian love, dear, dear McGaths.

How about we make this deal, all you incredibly straight cake decorators who have made this into such an issue? You put something on your website, maybe a sign in your window, that says, "No cakes for gay weddings or other commitment ceremonies." That's a good way to make sure that couples who just want to have a nice day without any trouble won't buy your cake or eat it, too. The couple in this case, Mike Stephens and Shane Laney, have already found someone who is glad to let them pay gay money for a cake.

Otherwise, well, look at the title. Shut the fuck up, take the fucking money, bake the fucking cake, and go flog yourself after or whatever shit you need to do to feel clean again.


Your State Sucks: Missouri Legislature Busy Debating Laws to Shut Down Its One Abortion Provider

Your State Sucks: Missouri Legislature Busy Debating Laws to Shut Down Its One Abortion Provider:
Thanks to constant terrorism both violent and legislative, Missouri, a state of 6 million people, has a single provider of surgical abortion services, Planned Parenthood of St. Louis. Its employees and patients are subject to near constant harassment by the dumbass religious zealots of Missouri. Seriously, these inbred motherfuckers are getting ready to protest the hospital that gives admitting privileges to the doctors who work at Planned Parenthood.

So, of course, the Missouri legislature is working to regulate the life out of that one Planned Parenthood (really, clinics that provide abortions should change their name to "Jesus Christ's House of Prayer and Medical Services," with a giant bloody Christ-on-the-cross in front, just to fuck with the protesters). So now there's 15 bills under consideration to restrict access for women in 32 different ways. Why? Let's let the appropriately named Republican Representative Stanley Cox respond: "I think there’s some concern that Missouri is not doing enough to protect life."

That's Stanley Cox, who has said that the state providing funding for family planning clinics is like giving liquor to an alcoholic, a comparison that makes no goddamn sense at all. Stanley Cox, who is as creepy-looking a son of a bitch as has ever been in office. Seriously, this dude and former Rep. Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin must get together to mutually masturbate to photos of dead fetuses. By the way, is it even necessary to point out that Stanley Cox, who wants to "protect life," is a big supporter of the death penalty? Enjoy your Cox, Missouri.

Missouri legislators want to make the effort to get and perform abortions even more of a nightmare. For instance, the House voted that not only is the consent of one parent necessary for a minor to get an abortion, but that the other parent must be informed in writing five days before any procedure, with no exceptions for rape or incest because compassion is to Missouri Republicans what a lance is to a boil. Other restrictions being debated include a 72-hour waiting period for adults (since, obviously, the minors have a 120-hour one), forced watching of a video about abortion "risks," greater penalties for malpractice for doctors performing abortions, inspection of the facility four times a year, and, oh, so much more.

But don't you fucking accuse the politicians involved in this of playing politics. You will be shivved in public. At a House Health Policy Committee hearing yesterday on further restrictions for minors, including written consent for the procedure from a parent who must prove he/she is a parent and records kept on the minor's procedure for years, Rep. Keith Frederick, the chair, told legislators to disregard something Ryann Summerford, a Planned Parenthood advocate, said. Summerford, answering a question from Frederick, said that the new law was "meant to score political points." At that point, Frederick cut her off, told the other committee members to forget she mentioned politics, and insisted she answer why the law was bad. Summerford said, "I think pushing legislation to single out abortion providers is wrong." Frederick cut her off again and berated her until she answered a question with a "yes" or "no."

Could there be any more pathetically perfect image for this whole savage clusterfuck than a male lawmaker telling a woman to shut up and do what he wants?


Some Questions for Senator Dianne Feinstein

Some Questions for Senator Dianne Feinstein:
There's a question or two the Rude Pundit would ask Senator Dianne Feinstein if ever given a chance at some DC soiree (note: The Rude Pundit has never been invited to a DC soiree; indeed, the number of actual soirees he has attended is quite low). Feinstein, who has been a staunch defender of the National Security Agency's wide-net intelligence gathering on Americans, was nigh on apoplectic yesterday attacking the CIA for supposedly hacking into Senate computers to search for and take back documents the spy agency didn't want the Senate to have as it worked on a massive report about CIA interrogation techniques during the "war" on "terror." Or, you now, the torture stuff.

Feinstein dragged the CIA out onto the floor of the Senate and kicked its ass all over the chamber. She tried to solve things quietly and internally when she first heard of what amounts to spying on Senate computers. "However," she said yesterday, "the increasing amount of inaccurate information circulating now cannot be allowed to stand unanswered." Slipping on her metal-toed Doc Martens, Feinstein bruised a whole bunch o' asses: "I have asked for an apology and a recognition that this CIA search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate. I have received neither. Besides the constitutional implications, the CIA’s search may also have violated the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as Executive Order 12333, which prohibits the CIA from conducting domestic searches or surveillance."

See, the CIA had given Senate investigators access to documents, which Senate staffers copied onto their computers (or printed out). While searching through these documents, the investigators came across "the Internal Panetta Review," the CIA's own report on how badly its agents fucked up detainees. Thing is, the Senate wasn't supposed to get that document. No one knows how - Feinstein says it could have even been a whistleblower, an Edward Snowden-type, perhaps, although he's a "traitor," according to Feinstein - but the CIA wanted it back, maybe so it could destroy it, like it did the videotapes of illegal interrogations.

Think about this for just a second, shall we? In order to search the files on the computer network, the CIA probably had to download all the names of the files, the dates they were uploaded, the size. It wouldn't be wrong to call that "metadata" - information about information. And, scanning the metadata, the CIA got the specific hit it was looking for and acted upon it. Haystack, needle, no?

Back in October of last year, Feinstein wrote in USA Today (motto: "Yeah, we can't believe USA Today is still here, either") about the NSA's phone record sweep, "The overwhelming majority of records are never reviewed before being destroyed, but it is necessary for the NSA to obtain 'the haystack' of records in order to find the terrorist 'needle.'" The rest of the editorial is about how useful all that metadata is because, trust her, it's useful.

So the questions the Rude Pundit has are these: Sen. Feinstein, what if the CIA said that it was searching the Senate's computers in order to stop terrorism? What if it said it couldn't discuss the reason why? What if it said that telling you why it was searching would compromise national security? Would you back down? Would you say that it's okay if it's being done for such noble reasons? Would you automatically trust their actions?

Of course, there's a certain level of absurdity here. Feinstein has the kind of security clearance, as the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to see most of the shit the rest of us can't. But the CIA is attempting to protect its ass from the avalanche of criticism and condemnation and legislation that would hopefully come about in the wake of the torture report's release (or at least a fuckin' summary, since it's 6300 pages). It's doing things to justify its existence. What do you think the NSA is doing by casting an immense net and hoping it gets a tuna among the trash?

(And, above everything else, tell us what Americans did to detainees. Christ, the past isn't the past until it is confronted.)


Newest Outrage: Obamacare Will Help Some of the Most Helpless

Newest Outrage: Obamacare Will Help Some of the Most Helpless:
Gather 'round, motherfuckers. Let's all circle up and listen to what's gonna no doubt be the next Obamacare outrageous outrage that we can all rage about. Are you ready? Can you handle the truth? Ok, you've been warned:

It seems that, get this, some of the poor people helped by Medicaid are people who have - hold your loved ones close - criminal records. Shocking, no? That in a nation with a greater per capita incarceration rate than Russia, China, or Rwanda, some of those who are or were prisoners or who were or are on probation might be poor enough to qualify for the Affordable Care Act's expansion of Medicaid coverage in the states that accepted funding for it.

Or, as Forbes puts it, "You can be sure that there are plenty of taxpayers who work hard and play by the rules, who are wondering why they should pay more in taxes for this purpose. It’s certainly not what they were told they were paying for when Obamacare was passed." Ah, that's some pure powder of fake offense that you can snort off the tits of a Fox "news" anchor.

There's two things going on here. One of them is purely statistical: According to a Justice Department report on the effects of the Affordable Care Act, "Estimates indicate that at least 35 percent of new Medicaid eligibles under the Affordable Care Act will have a history of criminal justice system involvement. (Calculations based on the estimated size of newly eligible population, the size of the justice involved population and the share of that population without insurance.)" To put that in numbers, "approximately 10 million Americans are either in jail or released from prison each year; if approximately 60 percent of these individuals are uninsured enrollees in the appropriate income range, and the Medicaid expansion was originally estimated to cover 16 million people, then more than 35 percent of the Medicaid expansion population is comprised" of people who have danced with the criminal justice system. We imprison a fuckload of people. Chances are that they're gonna need health care, too.

The other part is that states and counties are actively working to get inmates to sign up for Medicaid because, when it comes to things like long hospital stays, shit's expensive. Medicaid under Obamacare helps pay for more serious treatment for prisoners. Even more importantly, "inmates who are enrolled in Medicaid while in jail or prison can have coverage after they get out. People coming out of jail or prison have disproportionately high rates of chronic diseases, especially mental illness and addictive disorders." And you know what allows them to get their medication and other help, which might actually prevent them from going back to prison? Yeah, health insurance, bitches. And one has to wonder how many of those prisoners are there for minor things, like marijuana use.

Something is being done to help one of the most neglected portions of our country's population. So, of course, it's time to lube up the dildos on the right-wing Orgasmatron 2014. Dial it up to "Fast and Furious." Insert it in your anus, Ted Cruz-ites, and go to town. Prisoners are getting health care on our tax dollars. They're also being fed and housed, too, but don't complicate the talking point.

"It will come as cold comfort to law-abiding taxpayers that their rising healthcare costs are being used to subsidize care for criminals," says some excessively wrong tool writing for the online urinal, Townhall. Newsmax and The Daily Caller are able to tie in George Soros and Chicago politics to the prisoners-on-Medicaid story in a fistfuck orgy of name checking. Newsbusters can't understand why in the world major networks aren't covering this very important story because they say it's important.

All we need is a Louis Gohmert seizure, a Ted Cruz pseudo-filibuster, and a Sean Hannity jack-off-athon, and we'll have reached maximum idiot density.

The Rude Pundit doesn't know about you, but he's not excited at the idea of unhealthy ex-cons wandering the streets of America. He wants them to get taken care of. Real studies suggest that Obamacare might actually reduce crime. But, again, it's way easier to yell that your tax dollars are paying for birth control for crack moms or some such shit.


Obama, Bush, and Putin Walk Into a Vacation Home...

Obama, Bush, and Putin Walk Into a Vacation Home...:
Oh, dear, oh, dear. It seems that our mom-jeans wearing President Pansy has gone scuttling away on a "vacation" while Russia does...something...really, who knows at this point...with the Crimean region of the Ukraine. Seems that after he and his wife, First Lady Nutrition Queen, did some speaking in Florida, they planned to spend the weekend in Key Largo, golfing, relaxing, doing shit that people do.

This upset the loyal Defenders of Freedom on the right. "Startling," they said, that the president would dare to go on a weekend away when evil but oh-so-manly Vladimir Putin is crushing the Ukrainian Ukrainians between his saggy pecs of doom. In The Washington Post, pasty, bloated torture apologist Marc Thiessen columnized, "While more Russian forces were pouring into Crimea this past weekend, and Russian legislators announced their readiness to annex the Ukrainian province, where was our commander in chief? Monitoring events in the Situation Room? Meeting with the Joint Chiefs at the Pentagon? Holding an emergency meeting of NATO leaders? Nope. He was enjoying the Florida sunshine with his family at an oceanfront resort in Key Largo."

Thiessen worked for George W. Bush, who really was once the President of the United States. That wasn't a bad dream or an acid flashback. That would be the same George W. Bush who is in this picture:

Now, the Rude Pundit's no architecture expert. He could probably tell your Frank Lloyd Wright from your Frank Gehry, but so could almost anyone with five seconds and a smartphone. However, he's pretty sure that's not the White House behind Bush and sister-wife Condoleezza Rice. The first clue is that it's not, you know, white.

Turns out that it's the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas. You remember that place. The one that seemed to have endless piles of brush that needed clearing, like a brush hyrdra that kept multiplying. Yeah, Bush is speaking from the ranch on August 16, 2008 because Texas is awesome in August. He was talking about his former man-crush, Vladimir Putin, and the Russian invasion of Georgia, the country, not the state, although both have lots of brush.

Now, the point here is not "Oh, hey, look, all presidents take vacations." There's always gonna be some fuckin' crisis or other. It's not "Oh, hey, these days a president can do a lot of presidentin' from other places." (Obama was on the phone with world leaders relentlessly from Key Largo.)

It's this: President Obama is back in Washington, DC, today. Bush stayed at that brush-bedeviled wasteland of a vacation home until nearly the end of August, most of the time that Russia was at war with Georgia. A search of Nexis shows not a single news report in 2008 that criticized Bush for his vacation during the crisis. Fuck, you can hardly find anything that calls Bush's Crawford sweatfest a "vacation" because by that time, it described a large percentage of his presidency.

This time, with Obama, not so much. Double standard? Delusion? Or just more of the outrage of diminishing returns we're all subject to, like the jackals of the right-wing anger machine are heroin addicts who need more and more of that sweet, warm shit in the veins in order to feel anything?


Dead Blogger: Bartcop

Dead Blogger: Bartcop:
One of the originators of lefty blogging, Bartcop, has died at age 60, and he's taken his blog with him. If you never read him, Terry Coppage, his real name, was ass-kicking from the start. Bartcop was a breath of profane, fresh air that started in 1996, predating pretty much everything you know on the internet. All the things others do, from link aggregating to ranting to posting funny or sexy pictures, Bartcop was there as one of the first. He kept the crude look of the page, so much so that scrolling through even the most recent issues is like a trip back in time.

Bart's influence on this form of writing we all wallow around in is immeasurable. He was one of the Founders of Left Blogsylvania. And if you hadn't heard of him, well, think of him as our Delmore Schwartz, the poet who never achieved the huge fame of some of his peers but whose work had an immense effect on the art itself. Its existence and his no-bullshit style were an inspiration for this here blog. The Rude Pundit was honored to be on his blogroll.

The one request Bart had at the end was to give some support to his wife so that she may keep their Oklahoma home. The Rude Pundit has already donated. If you can, you should throw in a couple of bucks. You can get a PayPal link or an address on Bart's home page. If you haven't read him before, check out the most recent page.

Adios, Bart. We put your memory on the mantle with Steve Gilliard and others whose passing has left a hole in this community.


CPAC: Because What Else Do These People Have to Do?

CPAC: Because What Else Do These People Have to Do?:
Oh, what a covey of cunts and cocksuckers is congregating at the Conservative Political Action Conference right now, as we speak. Yesterday was a banner day for the gathered true believers, where they got to hear everything from completely shit-eating, barking mad conservatism to self-fellating conservatism begging for love. But between Ted Cruz and Chris Christie, there was an awesome amount of fuckery. Let's just go through a highlight or two:

1. Ted Cruz's speech was a golden shower of shit-what-teabaggers-love. Things you could learn:
-- The greatest threat to free speech anywhere is the IRS taking extra time to make sure your blatantly political organization isn't violating the barely existing laws giving you tax exempt status.

-- You can tell something sucks balls just by its name. Cruz said, "We need to repeal Dodd-Frank. Talk about a bill that you don’t have to read any further than the title to know nothing good can come of this." Is that a slam on Christopher Dodd? Or does "The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act" sound a great deal more evil to conservatives than to everyone else? Or maybe it's about the depth of understanding that the Tea Party has about any piece of mild regulation?

-- You do not deserve health insurance, and if you have it, you should be subject to limits and pre-existing condition rules. And fuck your older kids. What else could Cruz mean when he said, "We need to repeal every single word of Obamacare"?

2. Getting beyond his citing a story that another Republican stole from a book, what the fuck is up with Paul Ryan's bizarre belief that only bad parents allow their kids eat free school lunches? In his speech, Ryan informed us that "the Left" (which seems to include a whole fuck of a lot of people not actually on the left) is "offering people...a full stomach—and an empty soul. The American people want more than that." Then he told his fake brown bag lunch story followed by "people don’t just want a life of comfort; they want a life of dignity—of self-determination. A life of equal outcomes is not nearly as enriching as a life of equal opportunity." Now, a normal person might think, "But isn't it a lot easier to self-determine when your kids aren't starving?"

There's that old saw the Rude Pundit despises: "If you give a man a fish, he can eat for a day. But if you teach a man to fish, he can eat for a lifetime" or some such shit. As he's said before, that's great, but you better give that man a fishing rod, some tackle, fishing line, maybe a net, maybe some bait. Maybe you could stop poisoning the water where he needs to fish. If you're not prepared to do all that, then why not give him a fish? Because eating that fish hurts his soul?

Mostly, though, just fuck that Paul Ryan guy.

3. Does Chris Christie ever give a speech where the subject isn't how fucking awesome Chris Christie is? He started his pander by talking about how he stood in front of a firefighters' convention in New Jersey and told them how he was going to fix the pension system. Oh, they hated him at first, but by the time he finished? "I walked off the stage and two-thirds of the audience was cheering." That is some need shit right there. Dude, seriously, stop blowing yourself in public. It's just embarrassing.

You know what else is embarrassing? When you're a politician who has a camera crew follow you around just in case you do something YouTube worthy and then you have the balls to say, "The most dangerous ten feet in Washington, D.C., is between anybody who wants to talk about something and a camera"?

Of course he got a standing ovation. Because what the hell else are the gathered snarling jackals, opportunists, hucksters, losers, and liars going to do? Think about what's real?

Not when you've got sessions like "Can America Survive Obama's War on Fossil Fuel?" to attend, not to mention a closing speech by comedian Sarah Palin.


Darrell Issa Has Questions, But You Are Not Allowed To Ask Yours

Darrell Issa Has Questions, But You Are Not Allowed To Ask Yours:
Yesterday, cock-nosed criminal Congressman Darrell Issa, a Republican who must represent a district of babies and brain-damaged people in California, continued with to act as if being the chair of a committee means, prima facie, you get to act like a total shitheel. As the chair of the Oversight Committee, Issa has been desperately trying to push something into a scandal to bring down President Obama, squeezing each tiny morsel like a constipated bowel trying to squirt out a small, dry turd.

At the hearing yesterday, Issa was wasting everyone's time by dragging the IRS's Lois Lerner in front of him so she could once again take the Fifth and not answer questions about how the IRS was allegedly targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny before approving all of them for the status they wanted. And then Issa would get to go to CPAC or something and maybe some young right-wing blonde college student would tell him, "Oh, Darrell, I get climate change in my panties when you embarrass a witness." (Issa could then say, "Well, I guess it is real. Heh-heh.")

When he was done, he ended the hearing, despite the fact that the ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings, wanted to speak. Issa gave him a second or two before cutting off his mic with the hand-across-the-throat mike-cutting gesture. He whispered something quietly to Cummings, probably "How dare you try to bring fairness to a Darrell Issa joint," and walked out as Cummings thundered his anger (which was immediately mocked by fucknut righties who masturbate to useless hearings before heading to CPAC to try to fuck Darrell Issa.)

Today, Issa released a list of seven questions he wants to ask Lerner. Through the magic being literate, the Rude Pundit can easily answer the questions for Issa. To wit:

Issa says, "In October 2010, Lerner told a Duke University group: 'The Supreme Court dealt a huge blow, overturning a 100-year-old precedent that basically corporations couldn’t give directly to political campaigns. And everyone is up in arms because they don’t like it. The Federal Election Commission can’t do anything about it. They want the IRS to fix the problem.' Who exactly wanted the IRS to “fix the problem” caused by Citizens United?"

Umm, according to the rules of grammar, the "they" in that last sentence is the Federal Election Commission. In fact, if you watch the fuckin' video of Lerner saying this, it's pretty goddamn clear what she means.

Issa asks, "In September 2010, Lerner e-mailed subordinates about initiating a 'c4 project,' but wrote: 'we need to be cautious so it isn’t a per se political project.' Why was Lerner worried about this being perceived as a political project?"

Again, look at the actual fuckin' words that are there, not the ones spinning around in your desperate-for-attention brain. She wasn't worried about it being "perceived" as political. That's not what "per se" means. She wanted to make sure the 501(c)4 project (whatever that was) wasn't political. Period.

Enough of this bullshit. There's no way at this point to satisfy the conspiracy whores. You could have the actual killers at Benghazi say, "Yo, it was spontaneous and that video really pissed us off," and the whores would tell us that Obama paid them off or had them murdered and replaced with actors. You could spend millions of dollars on an investigation of the IRS that proves there was no effort to specifically target conservatives and...oh, wait...that already happened.

Yeah, sorry, Elijah Cummings. You thought you were living in the real world, not the fantasy playground of a vindictive jack-off.


What the Fuck Is Wrong With You, West Virginia?

What the Fuck Is Wrong With You, West Virginia?:
"I wonder what's going on with the water," the Rude Pundit thought. So he clicked on over to the Charleston Gazette to see if schoolchildren could use water fountains without getting sick, which should probably be a bare minimum goal in the greatest country with the greatest school system with the greatest children on Earth. What he ended up seeing on the website's front page was a parade of legislative grotesqueries that would make the population of a rational nation burn shit down and chase the fuckers responsible into the decimated mountains around the capitol.

For instance, there was a bill that said, more or less, "Hey, meth is a big fuckin' problem here. The number of meth labs has doubled in the past year because in West Virginia, steady income is hard to come by but meth is really easy. So why not require a prescription for pseudoephedrine, one of the main ingredients in meth?" A House panel heard from law enforcement officials who said, "Yeah, you make it prescription only and you get rid of meth labs." So what came out of that panel? A bill to lower the amount of Sudafed you can buy in a year but without a prescription. Why? Because the fuckers in the drug industry had a problem with the bill because profit.

Over in the Senate, the Health and Human Resources Committee was busy. No, the senators weren't doing anything to help the actual people of their state. But they totally have the backs of the fetuses. Yeah, the committee said it was time for West Virginia to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks, not the 24 weeks that some senators wanted. This was the kinder, gentler version of the House bill. The House made it a felony for doctors who perform abortions after 20 weeks. The Senate said it should just be a misdemeanor. The House banned all late-term abortions except for cases where carrying a pregnancy to term would cause permanent damage or death to the woman. The Senate added that it would be cool to abort if the fetus wasn't viable. See? Compassion. A woman isn't forced to carry around a fetus that's sure to die quickly and horribly.

As for the water, we head back to the House, to the Finance Committee, which is sending its version of a bill to help save West Virginia's water to the floor for a vote. The committee removed a provision requiring a study of the long-term effects of the January spill in the Elk River. It removed a provision requiring an early warning system for chemical spills on the Elk River. It "deleted a requirement for tougher permitting of water pollution sources near drinking water supplies." It allows the state to decide what information to keep secret from the public about the chemicals that are spilled under the guise of "homeland security." But at least it left out exemptions for some industries that were included in the Senate bill.

That's one day's worth of news out of West Virginia's legislature. That's three bills that will do harm to the people of the state. And let's be clear: this is the doing of Democrats and Republicans. This is what we've come to in our legislative process: cowering before big money and the moral police. How much degradation can the poverty-fucked people of West Virginia take? Well, shit, guess we'll see when that Marcellus Shale gas money starts to flow and the top-removed mountains are fracked into oblivion.