Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

How the GinGrinch Wants to Steal Christmas

Newt Gingrich wants to turn back the clock to the 18th century...

Where's Tiny Tim? I need to kick something...

We’ve been continuing with this marathon of Republican “debates” for what seems like decades now. The strategy of holding SO MANY debates is that it will give Americans–bless their pointy little heads–the idea that these are actually the PRESIDENTIAL debates. After all, these things must be important if they’re having so many of them. The Democrats, especially that socialist atheist Muslim godless commie in the White House, don’t get the chance for a rebuttal, because these are just Republicans arguing with each other. And with the same things being said over and over, it’s kind of a brainwashing to get people to think that what these clowns are saying is actually serious.

After all, the points of disagreement are very few and usually questions of degree–except for anything Ron Paul has to say, which will usually be ignored if not reported derisively–imagine, not wasting billions of dollars every day in the Middle East–the man’s a lunatic! I’m not sure these can actually even be called debates–they’re more a kind of an “I’m a bigger jagoff than you are” contest. Rick Perry seemed to have had that one sewn up with his record for executions of possibly innocent men, forgetting what agencies he wanted to eliminate, how everyone should carry concealed weapons in case they have to sneak up on a coyote, and otherwise general doofusness that made W seem like a wild-eyed intellectual in comparison. But Herman Cain took the lead with his 9-9-9 plan stolen from SIM CITY, plans to electrocute Mexicans if they tried to climb over the border fence and inability to name countries where we have dark ops. And when “the ladies” got the pizza delivery guy to back out of the house, he cemented his place in history by quoting Pokemon as an inspiration. Sigh–we’re going to miss you, Herman.

Now when all this was happening, the Newt decided he needed to get in their with something even more asshole than the rest of them. And he certainly came up with one. ABOLISH CHILD LABOR LAWS. That’s the spirit, Newt! Why stop at turning the clock back to the 1920s when you can turn it back to the 1820s!

Everyone was naturally appalled that he should suggest such a thing–since, after all, child labor laws are generally seen as one of the GOOD things of 19th century liberalism–you know, like abolishing slavery? Newt’s brainstorm seems to have been based on the idea that kids could work in schools as janitors since ANYONE can push a broom, run a floor waxing machine, fix a furnace, clean up after sick kids and then repair the plumbing–which once again goes to prove that Newt never did an honest day’s work in his entire life since he obviously has no idea how much hard work there is and how much know-how actually goes into a custodial job.

No, Newt was simply trying to out-outrageous the then-reigning king, Mr. Cain for jagoff plans. But one objection that nobody made was–WTF? you want to expand the workforce at a time when we’ve had near 10% unemployment for three whole years? When 1/6 of all Americans are either un-or-under-employed? How the f**k ever did you get a head THAT BIG up your butthole? It must be an awfully big butthole…

Why stop at child labor tho? Why don’t we bring back debtor’s prisons? You know, make it a federal offense to, say, walk away from an underwater mortgage–or fail to pay credit card bills? Now that would REALLY be the ticket! And as we fast approach that season of the rolling year when want is most keenly felt, let’s put that suggestion into context–Are there no prisons? And the Union Workhouses–they are still in operation? The Treadmill and the Poor Law, they are still working at full vigor? A merry Christmas? BAH! HUMBUG! Forget Scrooge–Newt is the Gingrinch!

And with Mitt Romney betting $10,000 just to prove that he has more money than God, it looks like the Grinch will steal the Republican nomination. And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!

We’re gonna need it.

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OK, Time for the Poster Art

Graphic Poster of cop in riot gear pepper-spraying the viewer with the legend “OBEY”

Full-size poster link in text

I’m writing this between AnimeUSA and a funeral for an old dear friend who was a great drummer, Juan Dudley, so I’m going to keep things brief (I always say that and it never comes true). Seems like the cops have been busy busy busy with the pepper spray this week. After the Seattle cops peppersprayed an 84-year old grandma and a pregnant teen, you’d think that someone would have gotten the message to lay off the rough stuff. But this is the new post-9/11 America–who told YOU you could think? Now the net is a-viral with shots of these cops at UC-Davis spraying a bunch of seated protestors with the orange blast with about as much passion as if he was watering the lawn.

Accounts state that he had brandished the can of spray like Thor and his hammer drawn before the incident. A very heroic action against these dangerous terrorists, who were threatening to mat the grass under their butts. Perhaps he was listening to Chris Wallace, Fox News’s poster boy for clueless minion, who’s been trying to get the Corporate Masters’ message out that America is tired of the #occupy movement (at least according to the way he tried to shut up Juan WIlliams from talking about it during the Sunday talking heads roundup). In any case, the incident ended with the cops being told by the protesters that it was time to leave and so they did, dragging their tails behind them–along with the arrested group.

I’m sure that Wallace is right in some ways. Yes, there have been polls that indicate that people are tired of the occupy movement. But we all know that polls can be cooked–ask the right question and you get the answer that you want. And there has never been a law against taking several polls but only publicizing the one that gives the right answers. I suspect that a lot of Fox viewers disagree with the aims of the movement, since Fox paints it as lawless and un-American at every given opportunity.

However, it is true that a lot of Americans have difficulties with the concept of cause-and-effect. People like Newt Gingrich, the stupid person’s idea of what a smart person thinks like according to Paul Krugman. Newt, the latest contender for title of “At least he’s not Mitt” has angrily dismissed the protesters by saying they should get baths and get jobs. He seems to have neglected to notice that one of the things the occupiers are protesting is that THERE ARE NO JOBS. But it’s easy for someone with a job–historian for Freddie Mac?–to tell someone else to get a job when no one is hiring.

Anyway, I’ve decided to add my own effort to the Occupy movement, a graphic poster satirizing the situation. Shepard Fairey-like but done for real instead of photoshopped from photos :D Please use it for free with my permission–just leave on the copyright and ivcaffeine notices. The full file can be downloaded HERE. Right click and download the file, or on Macs, control click and select download.

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‘The Aristocrats’, Take Deux–Oddly apropos after the past week.

A new punchline for The Aristocrats ... the Ryan Plan?

A new punchline for the world's most ummm anticlimactic joke--and I do mean anticlimactic

I prepared this cartoon the other week before Anthony Weiner’s little, errrrrr, big? ummmmm, well, let’s just say his problem was uncovered (ahem), knowing I’d be at AnimeNext in NJ this weekend. And oddly enough, it’s still appropriate. The real thing that people should be worried about which has taken a backseat to a more lurid and titillating story is, of course, the Republican plan to DRIVE AMERICANS TO THE POOR HOUSE to pay for Granny’s health care. Otherwise known as the Ryan Plan. Budget isn’t the biggest problem facing the country. Unemployment is. But the budget is being used as a means to undermine the social safety net in a cynical masquerade called “austerity.” Austerity is what YOU have to do without, not what WE have to do without, after all. And you have to do without social security, medicare and medicaid so we can keep troops in Afghanistan to protect Chinese mineral rights… I mean, make Afghanistan safe for democracy.

But the Koch Brothers-run Tea Party, the Republican party, and the big money-owned media don’t care about rising tides that float all boats. They only care about floating their own boats. But hell, even Europe is under the spell of this “austerity,” which is an attempt to drive out of a skid by yanking the steering wheel 90 degrees away from it to allow the natural braking effect of the trees to stop the car. But thinking about that is too depressing, Weiner’s wiener is much better to think about. Well, not really think about. Oh, god, I need to clorox my eyeballs to get rid of THOSE images!

Anyway, the Ryan plan forms an excellent ending for a certain misleadingly named world’s dirtiest (insert verbiage to separate the words so they don’t come together in search engines) joke. I say “misleadingly named” because it’s not a joke. It’s the SETUP for a joke. Why? Because there is no punchline.

That’s right. Joke analyzers have thought hard (ahem again) about “The Aristocrats” and wondered in what “context” the line, “We’re the Aristocrats,” is actually funny. Well, it’s not funny. What was funny was what went on before the line, and the stupid look on the audience/victim’s face when it goes from laughing like an idiot to “Huh?” What I’m saying is that if “The Aristocrats” ever really WAS a joke instead of an act of sadism on the part of the comedian then, somewhere along the line, the actual ending was dropped for the endingless ending. What is needed for it to be a real joke is a straightline followed by an actual punchline. In other words, “The Aristocrats? Why the Aristocrats?” followed by the badumbum line, “Because only Aristocrats could behave like this and still keep their dayjobs” or something like it (badumbum!). Which isn’t very funny–or probably wasn’t very funny once the immediate context–some particularly juicy bit of aristos acting badly in the news–was lost. But since it was a great excuse for coming up with the dirtiest story ever told, the hell with the punchline, I’ve got to get a look at the guy’s face when I tell it to him.

So I’m supplying a straightline/punchline combo which, once again, will not be very funny at all once the “Budget Crisis” is over. Either we forget the Ryan Plan like it deserves, or it actually becomes the basis for the US Budget. And one thing is clear. Once we screw up Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for the sake of “tightening YOUR belts”, no one will be laughing. Except the sadists who decided it would be a good idea.

And shoutouts to Alicia/Dokudel and her bf Jean-Luc, Jasmine, Onezumi (whom I missed but whom I will see at Intervention Con which anyone into webcomics, gaming and all that other good stuff should check out September 16-18 2011, at the Hilton Washington DC/Rockville) and all the other people I met this weekend at AnimeNext. And a safe trip back to Japan to Japan’s ambassador of KAWAII Yu Kimura–loved hearing you and meeting you! And check out the rock band UZUHI–they ROCK!

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And the Winner is…what, Sarah Palin took the envelopes too?

Barbra Streisand explains to Kathryn Bigelow that she would get an oscar statuette if Sarah Palin's entourage hadn't walked off with it...

Fortunately, only Ben Stiller was blue in the face...

Last night was Hollywood’s annual self-love fest…not that I watched it. I usually have more important things to be doing than spending 3-4 hours of breathless self-congratulatories…but perhaps I’m jaded after so many years of circus antics both on the stage and on the red carpet. There didn’t seem to be many moments of actual tastelessness this year, unless you count Sarah Palin and her entourage swooping down on the hospitality suite earlier this week like a swarm of locusts and carrying off anything that hadn’t been tied down. Silver Spoon (host of the gifting suite) partner Melissa Lemer insists it wasn’t true and published a “debunking” on Conservatives4Palin, but for some reason, this retraction doesn’t appear on the Silver Spoon site itself. The Latimes issued a retraction–believe what you will :)

Sandra Bullock made history by being the first actress to receive both a Razzie and an Oscar in the same week. She showed up for both awards–way to go, Sandra! Ben Stiller got all blue in the face with a misguided Avatar parody–might have worked better if there was an Avatar sweep. I was kind of surprised that The Hurt Locker swept as much as it did, however. I kept hearing all sorts of divergent opinions on it–that it was too patriotic, not patriotic enough, it was pro-war, it was anti-war–frankly, I thought that the opinions would split the vote. I haven’t seen it yet. I understand it’s an intense experience and when a movie is that intense, I prefer to watch it in the safety of my own home where I can pause it or turn it off if it gets to hard to handle. It’s interesting to read the blogs on the Directing win. You get the feeling that it was more important that a woman won the Directing award than that Kathryn Bigelow had won it for directing the movie. Ah, the burden of being a symbol! Congratulations, Kathryn.

I did see Avatar, and while there was a lot to admire in it and I enjoyed it a lot, I had to agree that it really wasn’t “Best Picture” material. My big disappointment tho’ was that Coraline did not win the Best Animated Feature, which was won by Up. Up had to win, since it was a Pixar production about an old coot, voiced by an old coot, whom we’d better give a statue to before he dies, whereas Coraline was a dark fantasy that really didn’t leave you feeling warm and fuzzy when it was over.

Back in the real world, I sort of lost out on Jim Bunning’s holding the unemployed of the United States hostage to his own dark fantasy about balancing a budget that had gone to hell the first year George Bush had entered office and hasn’t seen the light of day since. You would have thought his escapade would have been thoroughly condemned as an act unworthy of a Hall of Famer, but then you’d be reckoning without the Calvinist underbelly of the Republican Party. In this Calvinist reading of the way things are, the rich are rich because they deserve to be and the poor are poor because they deserve to be, this having been pre-ordained by God. It’s very much a “cynical” strain of Stoicism, which I’ve always believed to be the philosophy of the rich and powerful: it is my fate to be on top and your fate to be on the bottom. Tough s**t!

So instead of condemning the perfect gamer for the perfect asshole that he is, we heard that old refrain about how unemployment insurance ENCOURAGES being unemployed–in an economy where one in six adults is either unemployed, underemployed, or too depressed to find a job when there aren’t any available. Tom Delay even praised Bunning’s action as “brave”, showing that he has no conception that there is a difference between bravery and bravado. It might have been a brave stance if Bunning had not already announced his intention to retire as of the end of his term. But it seems that Jim wasn’t putting anything on the line, except the food and shelter of a bunch of OTHER people. As he himself said, “Tough s**t!” A true Stoic!

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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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