Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Airline Security–A Prediction from 2006

Boarding a flight 2010--making sure all coach passengers strip down, check their clothes and submit to a cavity search before boarding

Naturally, first- and business classes will not be subjected to these new restrictions since terrorists only fly coach

Although I’m taking a much needed break, I could not help but reprint an old Hail Dubyus! number from 2006 which is suddenly again relevant. Airline passengers are again going to be made to suffer for the incompetence of airline and government security. There’s this guy, Umar Faruk Abdulmutallab…his father, Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, chairman of the First Bank of Nigeria, tells US that his son is an idiot and planning a suicide attack on an American flight. What happens? They let the guy ON THE PLANE. With the chemicals they were supposed to be screening for! Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the system worked! Then she backtracked when it became apparent to her that if some brave soul, Jasper Schuringa, hadn’t tackled the guy, there would’ve been a puff of smoke where American Airlines Flight 253 used to be. Because we can’t match terrorists to the stupid watch list! And who’s going to pay for this incompetency? Why you and me, because they’re going to make boarding a plane so onerous with so many useless security procedures that only terrorists will want to fly! Oh and CEOs, bankers, and celebrities–they won’t have to get searched. Why would they want to blow up a plane–like the son of the chairman of the First Bank of Nigeria? Get on board, son, we know YOU won’t do anything!
Happy New Year Everyone!

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2009? I’m outta here…

Three scenes--Obama foisting a knockoff Christmas gift on his daughter, Lloyd Blankfein wishing happy holidays as he drinks champagne and eats caviar, and Fred'n'Bert harvesting Christmas lights...

Man, I'm tired of this year

This is one year I’m glad to be leaving–hell, it’s a whole decade I’m glad is over. And what a decade–starting with the Supreme Court deciding that ANY President is better than the elected President when it’s too annoying to actually have a legally mandated recount, through 9/11, not capturing Osama bin Laden when he was less than a handful of football fields away, attacking Iraq because they might have horrible weapons while their army barely had shoes, setting up concentration camps to house interrogations fueled by torture, having the country’s transportation held hostage by the oil companies who were given carte blanche to raise prices anytime they saw fit, watching one of the great cities of the US be destroyed by storm and flooding due to inadequate levees built by the Army Corps of Engineers, having a damn over-a-year long Presidential race, electing the first black President who offered us a vision of hope while the economy tanked and then seeing those hopes tarnished by a first year in office that seemed like nothing less than more of the same BS we’d been through for the first nine years of the new millenium.
President Obama grades his performance as worth a solid B+, but if he were to be graded with regards to his success in the most important issues of his first year, tougher regulation of banking, staving off unemployment, delivering a health care reform that actually helps Americans, a C would be the best he could be given and then only from a professor who didn’t give out D’s. What Obama lacks is leadership. He’s an inspiring speaker, but in terms of actually getting things done, he’s been too focused on trying to reach a consensus with an opposition party that would say no if he said the sun rises in the east, and a renegade faction of his own party that is more intent on making sure their bread gets buttered rather than achieving something of value to the country. At times, it seems like Obama is not running the country but has delegated that task to Rahm Emanuel filling in as America’s Chief Operating Officer. We are on the verge of legislating a “health care reform” whose principle accomplishment is mandating that all Americans buy insurance from the same pack of parasites that has driven American health care into one of the worst in the world. Instead of taking the tough love route he took with the automobile companies, Obama has been mollycoddling the bank industry and not even blinking when he gets flipped the bird by the three CEOs who just couldn’t make the meeting he called. Not to mention an unemployment rate over 10% and a lackluster mortgage relief program that has failed to stem the rising tide of home foreclosures.
President Obama, the time to get tough was yesterday. You’d better make it one of your New Year’s resolutions or you’re going to find yourself with a hostile Republican-led Congress come next November. Stop thumbing your nose at the progressives who elected you because, if you think it was tough reaching across the aisle when you had a majority, just think how tough it will be when the people who want to impeach you for existing hold the reins.
So Goodbye 2009. I’m going to forget about politics for the next few weeks. May all my readers have happy holidays no matter what holidays they have to suffer through. Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, whatever you say for Kwanza, we’ve already passed Eid, Happy New Year, Gode Yule, blessed solstice and my personal choice, Sated Saturnalia–the holiday designed to offend EVERYONE. We’ll see you again on January 11.

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A Tiger and his Woods

Santa gives Tiger Woods a lift so he can visit all his paramours on Christmas Eve--after all, they have the same sponsors.

And through the magic of Christmas, Tiger Woods visits all his girlfriends all over the world in a single night...

My readers will be happy to learn that I am finally on the mend–and none too soon considering how fast Christmas will be upon us. And I’ve got shopping to do! As I announced last week, Thursday’s cartoon will be my last of the year, and we’ll pick up again on January 11 and believe me, the break will be much appreciated!
For this next-to-the-last outing of this very disappointing year of 2009, let us turn to the disappointment engendered by that sterling idol of millions, Tiger Woods, turning out to be a mere human after all. Tiger, otherwise known as Mr. Clean, seems to have had a veritable stable of mistresses and when Mrs. Woods found out about one of them, she took one of his irons and started to take some practice swings at his head. Fortunately for Tiger, there was a car windshield between them. Since then, hardly a day has gone past without yet another mistress emerging from the woodwork. The first few all seemed to be cookie cutter blondes, like his wife, which I was tempted to lampoon, but since then, we’ve found mistresses of many more flavors and now I understand there are plans underway for a new reality TV show, “The Real Paramours of Tiger Woods.”
Now frankly, if I were a young, pretty, superstar athlete, I’d probably be tapping as many kegs as I could fit into the PGA tour schedule, but then again, I’d probably have a sleazier image than Tiger Woods to begin with. But there are two problems with Tiger doing it–first of all, he IS married–with a child to an extraordinarily beautiful woman, who deserves a little more than sloppy seconds. And then there is that image of perfection that he displays–the aura of good sportsmanship, unflappability, moral upstandingness–Mr. Clean. In some way, it really negates that image to be a serial adulterer with enough girlfriends to fill an entire TV season. Now, I suspect most of his fans are highly titillated by these circumstances, but some are mighty disappointed. Particularly those fans who pay him large sums of money for product endorsements. Now you could say, “why are you disappointed–he’s just a man, after all. It’s your fault if you can’t accept that.” But I would counter that he’s a man who worked very hard to project the image of rectitude than is now crashing in flames around him. In other words, if his fans had unreal expectations of him, Tiger himself was responsible for it to a large degree because that was the kind of image that he wanted.
Which brings me to another person who has been disappointing his legions of fans, though not through any actions worthy of the tabloids. I’m referring to the Great Mocha Hope himself, President Obama. Throughout his campaign for the presidency, Obama pushed the idea that we could change the direction our country was going in through the mismanagement of Bush, Cheney, & Co.. He offered us hope that we could make the country a better place with the rallying cry of “Yes we can.” But after almost a full year in office, those hopes have turned to disappointment for many. In some ways, yes, change has taken place, but in so many others, we seem to be continuing the policies of the prior eight years, and in other ways, real accomplishments have been compromised further and further away and the status quo has been cemented more solidly in place. Now, many apologists have said, “What are you disappointed about? Obama has never been a progressive, he’s always been a centrist. He’s not doing anything that he didn’t say he was going to do.” And to this I say, BULL! According to the National Journal, Obama was the 16th most liberal senator in 2005, the 10th most liberal in 2006 and in 2007, he was the MOST liberal senator. That’s not exactly what I’d call centrism. That’s what I’d call a trend to more and more liberal as we got closer and closer to the 2008 election. And when you speak so much about change and hope in the wake of a disastrous rightwing administration, a mere return to the center could not possibly negate any of the excesses that had been committed–the pendulum has to swing in the other direction to correct the injustices, not just merely stop them. Just as Tiger Woods worked hard to burnish his image of perfection, Obama and his team worked hard to present him AS the liberal/progressive choice. And it is disingenuous at best to claim now that all that had been promised was a return to the center.

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Great, now I can solar power my refrigerator box…

A solar panel is used to heat a refrigerator box homeless shelter..

Now if we can afford the space heater ...

I am still recovering from my bout of whatever crud I have, though now it’s more had than have. I should really not be working at all, but it’s so near the end of the year and my Christmas break that I can’t see not keeping to schedule. In any case, my last cartoon of the year will be next Thursday’s, and I will begin again on the 11th of January.
President Obama did present his Main Street recovery plan, and I can only hope that this is just a warm-up to use up the moneys that were left over from the bank bailout. Seriously, falling to 10 percent unemployment from 10.2 is not a necessarily a sign that things have turned around, especially with so many underemployed. As Robert Reich said in HuffPo, the real October story wasn’t the dip in unemployment but the number of people who dropped out of the labor force. And Obama’s proposals are such a hodge-podge–a few initiatives to make it easier for small businesses to get loans–not that the banks have started making them yet since after they shored up their bottom lines, they paid themselves bonuses. Some green-incentive thingies–which, of course, mean you can AFFORD to go green before you can get any benefit from the incentives. And finally, $50 billion in infrastructure building–something that actually may produce some jobs.
The Republicans, on the other hand, have suddenly waxed wroth on the deficit–something that hardly mattered to them when George Bush was President. Paring down that deficit is more important than creating jobs. After all, the banks were saved, we’re already in recovery, right? Obama’s anemic jobs initiative can be seen as another one of his compromises, trying to spend just enough to stimulate employment while trying to please the Republicans by not spending too much and thus running the risk of not spending enough. Whether he spends enough or not, it won’t help matters before the end of ’09, a year that will be ended without engendering much nostalgia by its passing.

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Well, It’s a Little Bit Better than ‘The Christmas Pouch’

Next year's extravaganza, Glenn Beck's 'The Christmas Merkin' ... 'You'll cry with joy when it's over'...

Heartwarming ... well, warming something...

Yours truly is as sick as a dog, fortunately having a doctor’s appointment already scheduled for this morning. We’re going to have to keep our normal discussion very minimal. As you may have heard, the mawkish Glenn Beck has risen to a new height of mawkishness with a bathetic barrage called “The Christmas Sweater”, available as a novel, a kid’s picture book, and movie-fied stage show with Glenn acting out all the parts. Supposedly autobiographical, Beck trades in on his mother’s apparent suicide (or accidental drowning) to provide the kind of emotional blackmail which passes for heartwarming, replete with every Christmas cliché and missing none. Sales of the books supposedly made all four of the NY Times bestseller’s lists, while his staged reading managed to only sell handfuls of tickets in the major cities. Audiences were bussed in to make up the difference, while ministers gathered outside to protest Beck’s wrapping himself in the garland of Christmas spirit while his normal persona spews hate, race baiting and wrapping himself in Kleenex and the flag as he cries that he just loves America too much.
We have a modest proposal. We propose that Beck’s next literary effort be a sequel to be titled: “The Christmas Merkin.” Beyond the expected Christmas drear, “The Christmas Merkin” has the advantage of sounding quite patriotic if you say it out loud with a bit of a twang. “The Christmas Merkin” will be sure to warm the cockles of your heart, or something else with a similar name. Not only will Glenn be able to sell multiple versions of this opus, but Christmas Merkins can be sold to exploit the demand. (For those of you unsure what a “merkin” is, Jake Gyllenhaal explained it on Jimmy Kimmel the other night.)

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