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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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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What Would It Take For A President to Say “The State of the Union Ain’t Very Strong”?

Two Hookers critique the state of the union address: Good oral, now let's see a little bump and thrust.

Or maybe a little slap-and-tickle on the right side of the aisle?

I mean seriously, what WOULD it take for the President to start out, “The State of the Union isn’t very strong”? Massive depression? Naw, even Herbert Hoover said the SOTU was strong. Open rebellion? I bet even Abe Lincoln said the state of the union was strong. And it was, if you didn’t count the 11 states that up and left when he was elected. Perhaps alien invasion? “Let me remind you, you still have two out of three branches of the federal government and that ain’t bad,” as the President said in MARS ATTACKS. Actual unemployment and underemployment is around 20%, we’re in debt up to our yinyangs to China because of a double recession during the Bush presidency, two wars that we shouldn’t have been in in the first place, tax cuts for the people who didn’t need them and a massive bailout of banks that had been holding a craps game with our money, credit card companies charging 30% interest, 30 million people without health insurance, BUT–The State of the Union is strong.
We did get one moment of high comedy tho–thanks to Chris Matthews of MSNBC. Forgot he was black for an hour, Chris? Way to GO! Only one month into 2010 and you already have the gaffe of the year! But wait–maybe you can outdo yourself–you have 11 more months to do it in!
President Obama gave himself a number of pats on the back, waved his finger at the right side of the aisle and outlined an ambitious agenda to get us back on track–well, not all that ambitious, there were a lot of half-measures–i.e., we need to increase jobs, but we need to keep the budget under control, so hey, let’s just do a little of both. He pointed the finger at the Bush administration for getting us into this mess more forcefully than he had since…his inauguration. You told Justice Roberts where to get off (and Stephen Colbert brought up a great point about how Roberts is willing to overturn precedent if he has only two dissents to do it on–and just where WERE Scalia and Thomas last night anway?). And he wants to see things on his desk! Well, Barry, let’s hope that you tell people exactly what you want on your desk this time around the calendar and that you knock some heads together to do it.
The problem is that we’ve heard all this before and we haven’t seen enough action on it. As my hookers say in the cartoon, you’re good at oral, now let’s see a little bump and thrust. You told us bank presidents weren’t going to get away with things and then you turn around and let them get away without showing up for their meeting with you. LEAD! Stop taking things off the table before you start negotiating. Get rid of your bad advisers. Rely more on Joe Biden than on Rahm Emanuel–Emanuel’s been advising you to give away the farm for nominal victories but Biden knows where the bodies are buried. Get rid of the financial cronies and slap around those bank presidents like you did the auto manufacturers. And for god’s sake, stop going on expensive dates with Michele while your middle class is going down with the ship–at least look like you have a bit of empathy. You said you’d rather be a good one-term president than a poor two-term one. Well, we don’t want you to be a good one-term president–we thought we were voting for a GREAT president. So stop futzing around and be what you promised.

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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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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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