Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Martha Raddatz Forces Paul Ryan into a “Bela Lugosi Moment”

Sacrilege--a moderator who moderates! Show us the math, Paul Ryan.

Paul Ryan does his impression of Dracula being faced down with a crucifix.

Everyone was talking last week about the Thursday night smackdown of Paul Ryan … by Martha Raddatz! About this across the board 20% tax cut … do you have the specifics? Do you have the math? Do you even know what you’re doing? (Well, not exactly the last one, but pretty close).

As Ryan averted his eyes and shielded himself from the glare of intense scrutiny with a more horrified scowl than Dracula being faced with a crucifix, Martha boldly advanced with her Holy Microphone! No No NO! I’m going to try to weasel around with some nonsense about Republicans reaching out for a bi-partisan solution (like THAT’S ever happened in the last 12 years). So Martha delivered the final blow: “Yeah–NO specifics!” BOOM! Score one for an objective TV journalist.

Joe Biden loved it so much, he laughed through the entire debate. Actually, Joltin’ Joe got enough solid wood on the ball to knock several so far out of the park–and Ryan along with it–that Andy Borowitz quipped that the Democrats now want Biden to take over for Barry in all the rest of the debates. Barry’s response was that he realized he gave a less than stellar performance the first time, and THIS time, he was actually going to prepare for the debate. Good move, Mr. President!

The Press–you know, the one with the so-called liberal bias–on the other hand, gave bad marks to Joe for laughing and eye-rolling at every one of Ryan’s glossing over of the facts and plain old mendacity. The same press that fell over itself four years ago to praise Sarah Palin’s winken-blinken-and-nod performance–you know, someone SHOULD have criticized her for making fun of the handicapped like that–calling it “fresh and spunky”. I guess the difference between “fresh and spunky” and “angry old man” is about 30 years. This from a press that seems to think “Moon–Green Cheese? Blue Cheese–an alternate viewpoint!” is a solid debate topic.

Anyway, now the ball is back in the big boy’s court. Let’s hope that President Obama has learned a lesson about not misunderestimating his opponent. Just because he’s a robot with a pretty hair-do for a brain doesn’t mean he can’t pack a wallop in a medium where you win by LOOKING GOOD. And that’s the way it is.

A sad note this weekend. Arlen Specter, the last Republican with a conscience, passed away after a long battle with cancer. If you want to talk about bi-partisanship, he was one of the last Republicans to believe in it. So much so that his party forced him to seek re-election as a Democrat. I didn’t always like his votes, but I had respect for the man. He–and his kind of politician–will be missed.

And if you’re wondering about my Dracula references–Hallowe’en IS on the way and my wife got me the Universal Horror Blu-Ray Collection for my birthday. Bela Lugosi is stunning in HD!

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And Mitt Romney wins the Piled Higher and Deeper Award

Romney wins by using the Gish Gallop

He won the Golden Shovel all four years of high school

By now, everyone has already reviewed and reviewed the first debate ad nauseam. The insta-pundits, naturally, awarded the “win” to Mitt Romney because he looked so good while Obama looked like he was sleepwalking. Then the fact checkers weighed in to reveal that the only factual statement that Mitt Romney made was that he was Mitt Romney.

The Daily Kos made the amazing discovery that there is actually a name for the debating technique Mitt used. It’s called the Gish Gallop.

The Urban Dictionary provides this definition for the Gallop…

“Named for the debate tactic created by creationist shill Duane Gish, a Gish Gallop involves spewing so much bullshit in such a short span on that your opponent can’t address let alone counter all of it. To make matters worse a Gish Gallop will often have one or more ‘talking points’ that has a tiny core of truth to it, making the person rebutting it spend even more time debunking it in order to explain that, yes, it’s not totally false but the Galloper is distorting/misusing/misstating the actual situation. A true Gish Gallop generally has two traits.

“1) The factual and logical content of the Gish Gallop is pure bullshit and anybody knowledgeable and informed on the subject would recognize it as such almost instantly. That is, the Gish Gallop is designed to appeal to and deceive precisely those sorts of people who are most in need of honest factual education.

“2) The points are all ones that the Galloper either knows, or damn well should know, are totally bullshit. With the slimier users of the Gish Gallop, like Gish himself, its a near certainty that the points are chosen not just because the Galloper knows that they’re bullshit, but because the Galloper is deliberately trying to shovel as much bullshit into as small a space as possible in order to overwhelm his opponent with sheer volume and bamboozle any audience members with a facade of scholarly acumen and factual knowledge.”

Or as we used to say in high school debate circles, if you can’t convince them with the facts (because you don’t have any), baffle them with bullshit. Ahh, how many times I personally was awarded the Golden Shovel–that gold-spray-painted trophy emblazoned with the words: PILED HIGHER AND DEEPER.

Now this does not excuse the President from his piss-poor performance. He seemed to be in a different room where someone was actually making points that Romney wasn’t even talking about. Al Gore opined that the problem was the altitude in Denver. But perhaps it was the altitude of Obama’s discourse. He simply couldn’t BELIEVE that so much bull was being thrown in his direction so instead he took the high road…only it went to a different city.

Paul Ryan, of course, did not want to be debating Joe Biden, because all Paul Ryan can do is vomit numbers that don’t mean anything, whereas Joe, bless his pointy little head, actually knows a thing or two about policy. And Joe is a fighter. But then next week, we will be subjected to another Obama-Romney duel. You can bet Romney will lie his ass off in this next one too–let’s hope Barry has the sense to say that he’s the President of 100% of the people, not the 47% Romney claimed.

But enough of that. A MORE IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT. Friday, October 12 is MY BIRTHDAY. Yes, I will be too old to want to say what my age is. But being as so many people in my life have shared this birthday with me, my dad, my uncle Gene, a former girlfriend, and several others, I want to WISH a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all COLUMBUS DAY-ERS! We used to only get a day off for the birthday some of the time but now we get a day off for it all the time–and 3 out of 7 years on the right day too! So HAPPY BIRTHDAY my fellow October 12-ers.

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And the Magic Word is: al-Qaeda

What? We're still fighting 'al-Qaeda' in Afghanistan?

Say the magic word and we can have troops there until doomsday.

“You Bet Your Life!” “Say the magic woid,” Groucho would say, but our answer today is, “and we can have troops anywhere until doomsday.”

President Obama made a surprise trip to Kabul the other week as part of his up-and-running campaign against the Mittster to emphasize that HE was the one to have success in our Middle Eastern snafu, that the troops supported him and–possibly an afterthought–shore up some agreements about our post-2014-withdrawal presence in Afghanistan. What? you say–we’re going to keep a presence in Afghanistan? You bet your bippy. We still have a “presence” in Italy, Germany and Japan, 67 years after the end of WWII, much to the dismay of the Japanese although, except for the Okinawans, nobody is saying it very loud.

So the issue is, how many troops will we keep in Afghanistan after we remove all our troops from Afghanistan? I bet you thought “removing all our troops” mean “removing all our troops”! How cute! Don’t you know? According to the President, we’re still fighting al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

AHhhh, the magic word! Al-Qaeda! Everything is justified after 9-11 by the use of that name! It justifies almost 11 long hard years of wasting countless dollars and thousands of American lives–not to mention the 100s of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan lives–and is the ne plus ultra raison d’etre for this morass (and I do mean MORE ASS!).

Now you may argue that there’s really only two al-Qaeda operatives IN Afghanistan since almost all of the left for Pakistan. We don’t really know what we know about al-Qaeda levels–it’s one of Mr. Rumsfeld’s unknown knowns. But that’s the way we are. We can’t make war on an ally, so we do the next best thing and make war on their next-door neighbor to prove how tough we are. That doesn’t mean we can’t break the rule sovereignity by pulling an assassination raid in Pakistan to get rid of Osama bin Laden–al-Qaeda again justified it!

Now our friends on the Republican side of the aisle and Fox and Friends have been raising a stink lately (a year later) over whether or not Obama SHOULD have authorized a raid that THEY would have authorized in a New York minute but now have to be critical of since Obama led the charge. AND getting upset that Obama is “spiking the ball” for having accomplished it, forgetting that George W. Bush spiked the ball on first down before we’d gotten anywhere NEAR the endzone. But that’s the way it is. Remember, they were FOR killing Osama before they were against it!

The I Ching says the superior man’s actions are both good AND correct. Unfortunately, superior men seem to be in short supply in politics today.

I will be in the Philadelphia area next weekend for ZENKAIKON, specifically, the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA, May 11-12. I’ll be returning on Sunday, so I won’t be doing a cartoon next weekend, but will return on the 20th. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

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Has Ann really ever worked a day in her life? Depends on your definition of work.

It's so hard to raise children without a staff of help.

Managing all that staff is so exhausting...

I’m playing catch-up here after losing our furry friend. So forgive me if this brouhaha isn’t really as current as it might be. Hilary Rosen said something that is objectively true, that Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life. It’s true–Ann Romney has never worked a day for wages. Ann Romney countered that she’s performed the most important job there is, being a mother. Huff and Puff! Oh, you horrible person, Hilary, you apologize to her. Even President Obama said so.

Myself, I’m thoroughly sick of this tactic working. One side criticizes something. The other side accuses them of making a totally and deliberately misconstrued slur on mom, apple pie and the flag, forcing them to apologize and delegitimizing the original critique in the first place. It’s time for liberals to STOP APOLOGIZING for things they never said.

Yes, being a mom is the most important job in the world if you don’t count brain surgery, leading a country, or being a professional athlete in the United States. And Ann Romney has certainly borne and raised five children. And five kids is a job and a half. Now we know she didn’t perform a job for wages. But the question is, has she performed the same amount of WORK the rest of you mothers out there have?

Who took the kids to school? Granted most of your kids took the bus, but if the kid got sick in the middle of the day, who had to pick him up? You did. Who did it at the Romney household? Ann? or the chauffeur? Who took the kids to soccer practice, piano lessons, dance class, boy scouts, girl scouts, Tae Kwan frickin’ Do? Ann? or the chauffeur? Who helped with the homework? Ann? or the NANNY? Who cooked and cleaned? Ann? Or the cook? Or the maid? Who shooed religious fanatics who wanted to talk about God from the front door? Ann? or the butler? Who had to keep the budget? Ann? Or the accountant?

Being a mom is a heckuva lot easier a job when you have a staff. In fact, it hardly seems like “work” at all, doesn’t it? The same relationship to real work that being a CEO has. You get the fun parts–playing with the kid, acting proud at graduation. And some of the not-so-fun parts–worrying while they’re sick or have had an accident, grieving if they die. But the day-to-day nitty gritty? Someone else handles that.

So let’s go one more step. Who got a job when her husband’s job wasn’t paying enough for the family, who had to work when he was laid off, who had to make the mortgage payments when he was in Iraq fighting for the country (especially with banks not paying attention to their agreements about military service), who had to support the family when he died? I’m not saying these are the only good reasons for a mom to have to work outside the home, but these are just a few of the “good” reasons even a Rush Limbaugh would accept as legitimate. Come to think of it, Rush wouldn’t. He assumes all single mothers are welfare moms without husbands. But certainly Ann Romney would agree.

How hard a job is being a mom in the real world as opposed to being a mom when you have more money than God? I stand by Hilary Rosen’s statement. Ann Romney HAS never worked a day in her life.

And she knows it. I think the “real” motha’ in all this is the strategist who told Ann what to say.

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Escape from New York

The politicians: Attack or Co-opt Instinct

The politicians: Attack or Co-opt Instinct

So, the #Occupy Movement decided to hold a world-wide demonstration on the weekend of the New York Comic Con. AAAaaaauuuuggghhhh! as Charlie Brown would have said. Or as Dick Cheney said, other priorities. I’d already spent mucho bucks not just for the convention tickets, but add in train fare to and hotel in New York City and oops, sorry, I have to be a cartoonist this weekend, not an activist. Please don’t hold anything important on the weekend of AnimeUSA, thank you.

I’m not sure NYCC was worth it tho. There were so many people there, it’s a wonder I found anyone I knew, let alone make any contacts–which, besides seeing the new Makoto Shinkai anime, was the reason I went for. One woman I heard talking was saying she had a panic attack from the crowd and I believe her. The convention now takes the entire Javits Center and was completely filled, wall-to-wall, with people in or out of costume. Not to mention so many exhibitors that I don’t think you could have seen all of them if you’d been there for the entire 4 days–not if you had any other things to do–like eat. Shoutouts to my friends Brad Guigar, Murder Nurse and Moxiecat–and if anyone else was there that I know: What? didn’t you see me wave?

Now, the last time I’d been to New York for any time over a hour had been 2 and a half years ago. I grew up in New Jersey. I KNEW New York was expensive. I knew what the hotel cost. I knew what the train cost. But I had no idea HOW expensive it had become until I actually arrived there. You can’t take a step outside the hotel without spending five dollars. Seriously, a little man comes up to you and collects a “breathing charge.” If you actually do anything–like buy a hot dog–you’re out 10. Down here, panhandlers come up to you and ask for a couple of bucks because they need busfare. One came up to me outside Penn Station and asked for $20 for the train.

The reason, I think, has something to do with trickle-down. All the money in the world has trickled down–to the southern tip of Manhattan. And just like in a gold rush, the closer you get to the mother lode, the more expensive things get, just because they can, because that’s where the money is. One politician said recently that $150K a year in New York wasn’t wealthy because of the expenses. It’s true. And at the same time, that’s just f#$%^& insane. He has my sympathy. But I have no sympathy for the conditions that make that true.

The Occupy Movement has reached an extremely crucial stage–it’s been going on so long and has achieved world-wide status that the politicians can no longer afford to ignore it. The robber barons and their Republican minions have started attacking the protesters as unwashed hippies, college students looking for a thrill, commies and socialists. This kind of thing is un-American (not like the Boston Tea Party). The Democrats are now trying to co-opt the movement so they can lead from behind in the hope that this will result in votes. But what they don’t get is that this isn’t about politics as they are in the US. This is about a totally corrupt culture where money talks and both political parties jump. The Republicans may be the primary abettors, but the Democrats are the enablers. After all, when the Supreme Court decided that money was speech and that corporations could not be fettered in their exercise of free speech, they legalized bribery–as long as it was disguised as a campaign contribution.

In 1984, Orwell predicted perpetual warfare. What he didn’t foresee was the perpetual election, a feature peculiar to these United States. In the UK. a national election can be held within a month of its necessity. Here, the campaign for the next election begins the day after the voting. The need for campaign contributions doesn’t end, but like a junkie’s addiction, grows as the amounts needed for campaigning grow less effective, so that you need more and more, until the purpose for holding office and the need to raise cash for it are indistinguishable. Politicians are addicted to the process and the only cure is cold turkey.

And that’s why we need to Occupy Wall Street. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the YouTube of Sgt. Shamar Thomas at Times Square, scolding the NYPD for their lack of honor :

[Occupytimessquare] 1 Marine vs. 30 Cops (Marine Wins)

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