Thursday, November 27, 2008

Celebrating Great American Turkeys

To say that our predecessors stole land from the Natives (or Indians, or feathers, it's all cool) does not adequately credit the asshattery sustained over generations it took to take all that land and integrate it into the existing system of property law. A 16 year old boy steals a six pack from the grocery store, goes to his buddy's house, drinks the beer and moves on with his life. America's Got Title! went a little bit more like this: America discovers a new grocery store, cruises the beer aisle, considers it uncivilized that the beer is on the shelf rather than being put to use by America, calls up his buddies to show up at the grocery store, tells the store owner - dude, that beer right there? You can't sell that to any one but me.

And when the store owner tries to sell beer to others, America shows up at the purchaser's house and says - dude, that owner did not have the right to sell that beer, it's my beer, hand it over, and go talk to the store owner if you want your damn money back.

That, in a nutshell, is how we came to own the land in this country. We basically went eminent domain on every tribe's ass. But it took a long time to work out the details, and in that time land speculators were very active and all sorts of questionable deeds were around. All this mischief came to an end due to the heroic efforts of today's featured [turkey]* - Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Marshall. In the case of Johnson v. M'Intosh, Marshall wrote a long, philisophical, and at times mournful opinion that comes down to - the natives have limited interest in the land, and whatever interest they have can only be sold to the federal government, this is so because it's always been so. You can read a nice, scholarly and historical take on the decision here. Or you can read the whole opinion. Or you can take my word for it and know that, in the end, the arguments are as impressive and successful as those deployed by Chevy Chase as the Land Shark.

* In honor of Mr. Marshall's dignity and service to his country, the role of "asshat" will be played by "turkey" today. Christmas comes early for Mom!

Friday, November 21, 2008

An Open Letter To Wikipedia

Hey! Asshats!

Just who the fuck do you think you are asking for $6 million in charitable donations? I don't know if you've seen the news lately but we're broke! Things are tough all over and charitable donations are going to be pretty light this year. Unemployment and homelessness are everywhere. Why should any of that money go to you at a time like this?

Maybe we should give it to Harvesters to help them meet record food demands.

"The number of people requesting emergency food assistance is increasing at a rate we have never seen before. Historically, we distribute 6% more every year—until this year. Since the beginning of 2008, we have seen a 30% increase in the number of pounds of food we have distributed. Based on a survey of our network pantries and kitchens, the demand for emergency food assistance is currently up 50% and is continuing to rise.

Harvesters is distributing more food than it ever has before. We distributed 600,000 lbs more in July-Sept of this year to our network of food pantries, kitchens and shelters than we did during the same time last year. However, the increased demand is so significant, our food supply cannot keep up with the need.

How did you get to be a charity in the first place? Was there a space on the questionnaire to point out that we write all of your content for you for free? By the way can we get a tax receipt for that service?

What are you really contributing to society? Half assed college essays? You should change your slogan from "Making life easier" to "Making you dumberer." Some things are too easy already!

Today's college student wakes up at noon with a beer pong hangover and jumps on the internet to whip out a quick report on Japanese Mythology. It's too bad he can't write it about Japanese Toilets since that article is almost twice as long!

How many people have to starve in the gutter so that we can learn as much about Transformers: Universe as the actual universe?

How many children must we deprive of health care so that our knowledge of astronomy pales in comparison to our knowledge of things that George Lucas changed in the Star Wars re-releases?

You run a website. Nothing more. If you need more money to run it sell advertising like everyone else but DO NOT take money from people with real need.


Barstool Pundit

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Someone is on it. And has no excuse not to blog.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Fundamental Right to Rock Star Parking

Local wise guy (literally, not cosa nostra-ly) Midtown Miscreant recently went on a bit of a rant about some asshat that made a living filing lawsuits against businesses that weren't in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Not to pick a fight about the merits or flaws of that guy, but the rant and proceeding comments were reflective of a certain mindset.

See, the American people are far more advanced than your average Constitutional Law professor. Those poofs can fret about penumbras and such, but a majority of the American people know that they enjoy a fundamental right to "do whatever the fuck I want as long as no one gets hurt and/or I don't get caught." That's how serious this is -- your average guy says "and/or," like a jailhouse lawyer. An even more broadly recognized right is --the Fundamental Right to Rock Star Parking.

MM is pissed that he has to walk so damn far to the door of the store, and he blames handicap parking spots. It's not just him, it's his commentors. And it's not just them, it's about everybody I know. Barstool Pundit and I have this ongoing, well, not really a dispute, as much as a conversation. We go somewhere, he's driving, I laugh as he spends an extra five minutes driving around the parking lot ensuring he gets as close as possible to the front door of our destination. It doesn't matter that we have nothing heavy to carry. It doesn't matter that we're both able bodied. To him, it's a GADDAM AMERICAN DUTY to park as close to the door as possible.

I don't get it. And I really don't get how it boils over into resentment over handicapped parking spots as demonstrated in MM's post and the responses to it. You've got an entire country zoned around parking. You can't build a business without promising to have sufficient parking. We've got acres of parking, so that you don't even have the disruption of streets or pedestrians trying to do something other than what you're trying to do -- get into that damn store. But still, we have angst. And better than that, angst that fails to recognize its own asshat nature. I'm sorry, Mr. Miscreant. Love the blog, love you -- but... really:

It's guys like Molski that ensure you will have to walk a quarter mile across Walmart's parking lot, because all of the non-handicap parking spots are in the nosebleed section. Ever see anyone wheeling around Walmart in a wheelchair, other than a greeter? I didn't think so. Oh sure you see the occasional fat lady in pink stretch pants, careening down the middle of the potato chip aisle at a blistering 2.5 Mph. Chances are she isn't crippled anyway, just lazy, or maybe she just likes driving that stretched out rascal with a grocery cart stuck on the front.

Yes! It's not the 100 hundred other people who showed up to shop at the same time as you that kept you from the rock star parking! It's that one row of handicapped parking! Never mind that if we took away all that handicapped parking tomorrow, your odds of getting that front door spot are about as realistic as Joe the Plumber's fear that he'll have to pay the top tax rate on income from that business he doesn't own that's never netted enough to qualify for the top tax rate. It's still possible! And if it's possible, you've got a fundamental right to your resentment. And laugh at other people for being fucking lazy as you bitch about having to walk 1/4 mile to the store. It's like the mother fucking Trail of Tears to WalMart!!!

I suppose in some perfect and just world built around parking lot equity we would have spots for the handicapped, spots for the nurses who just got off 12 hour shifts working on their feet, spots for parents who have to get 2 kids in and out the door, spots for people who just had a shitty day, pretty much spots for everyone who has a decent excuse to not want to walk too far to the door. But in that perfect parking equity world, not everyone gets to park in the first fucking row. So get over yourselves. If you show up at the store by yourself after spending a day sitting at your fucking desk-- park away from the front! I know, it's revolutionary. But maybe, just maybe, parking really close to the door isn't a fundamental human right. Maybe, just maybe, a more honest assessment of your needs will lead to you parking 1/4 mile away from the door and being ok with it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

45K worth of my side of the story

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Letters of Recommendation Never Sent

To Whom It May Concern :

Jane Doe has been employed at our company for eight years. I suspect the length of her stay is not due to a commitment to her job, but rather her understanding that other businesses would be unwilling to hire her. During her time with us, Jane has been the catalyst for many dramatic situations. She can be relied upon to stress the difficulty in any circumstance. Her unbridled pessimism is a thing to behold, bested only by her self-absorption.

Jane considers the workplace her home and acts accordingly. She is an intelligent woman who would be capable of behaving in a professional manner if someone were able to impress upon her the meaning of the phrase. Jane has used the knowledge she gained from her M.S.W. studies to act out a variety of mental illnesses. I have no reservations in my qualification of this recommendation. Her unique gifts would be an asset in any dysfunctional workplace.



Thursday, November 13, 2008

There oughtta be a law against...

It's not a valid retirement plan!

Remember when the government thought gambling was bad? I do. Then I remember them selling the Lottery as the greatest thing ever because it would funnel gazillions of dollars into our schools. Now we have billions in lottery revenues but the schools always seem to be broke. We've been hornswaggled!

Surely you've heard the lottery referred to as an 'idiot tax'. It's an apt name. Educated people in the middle to upper classes buy relatively few lottery tickets. People who earn the least play the most. They cry out for redistribution of wealth and then stop by the 7-Eleven to supplement the revenues of state governments with money they can't afford to spend. A tax from which intelligent people are exempt.

So what about casinos? Well that's a funny thing. Of course these days you can find a casino or two in most major cities but that didn't come easy. Even in states running their own lotteries casinos had a tough time getting established. Again though, we were promised they would save our failing schools and again we are fattening up state coffers and still our schools are broke and failing. This isn't the interesting bit though.

What strikes me is that there are people who support lotteries but think casino gambling is immoral and should be outlawed. I think the opposite is true! Why? The odds man, the odds! Let's look at a couple of long term gambling plays as an example.

Gambling with the government: Let's use Powerball as an example in which you have a 36:1 chance of winning ANY prize at all. This means you will win something 2.7% of the time. Reality check: That something is going to be $3. The jackpot odds are an astonishing 146,107,962 to 1.

So if you spend $100 on Powerball tickets, you will lose 97 times and win $3 three times for a net loss of $91 and you will have exactly zero units of fun. (I think they're called gigglehertz or something.)

Gambling with the casino: Lets take that same $100 to the roulette wheel. Now we will bet $1 per spin on black or red. There are 2 green numbers on the wheel giving the house a modest edge. Whichever color we pick, we will win 48% of the time doubling our bet. So after 100 spins we lost 52 times and won $2 48 times for a net loss of FOUR FUCKING DOLLARS.

By taking our $100 to the casino we've saved $87! That's enough money to eat a good dinner and get drunk off your ass. Now you've actually had an evening's entertainment. That's like over 9,000 Gigglehertz!

Despite this, until a week ago, the State of Missouri enforced loss limits at casinos while allowing you to spend as much money on lottery tickets as you like!

Pro-tip: If you want to go to the casino play poker! Why? You aren't playing against the house! You only have to beat the other players at the table and most of them are idiots!

Disclaimer: Playing any house game is a losing proposition and I am in no way suggesting you should do it. The point of this post is not so much pro-gambling as it is anti-hypocrisy!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

There oughtta be a law against...

...well, a lot of stuff really.

I hate to say it. I love freedom as much as anyone. I say smoke all the weed you want, make moonshine in your bathtub, hell get married and bang each other in your hairy assholes if that's what makes you happy. These are not things I require government intervention in. In a perfect world where people take responsibility for their own lives, civil liberties and the free market could be wonderful things. Alas, many Americans are far too stupid to care about their own self interests. Belief in deregulation and the infallibility of the free market is the belief that you can serve cake and ice cream to toddlers on fine china.

This is why we can't have nice things!

For far too long the American government has stood by and done nothing as corporate America preys on and fleeces the stupid. One would think the stupid would wise up after a while but they aren't and it's time for the feds to step in and take their toys away before somebody puts an eye out! (Actually it's too late.)

Payday Loans

In a responsible society: A useful service in rare emergencies. Be sure and pay it off on payday! That's why they call them that!

In 'Real America': Predatory lending at it's worst. A revolving credit line at over 500% APR that is crippling millions of idiots and, by extension, our economy. Everyone knows it. Even the idiots ruining their own lives know it. It's a $28 billion annual trickle up and it's perfectly legal. Can we really be this stupid?


In a responsible society you wouldn't have destroyed your credit in the first place so there would be no need for rent-to-own.

In 'Real America': It's the 'Cracker Jacks' of payday loans. You get a prize! Why don't you just wait a few months for that t.v. Save up that $30/week in a sock until you can buy it for $500 instead of renting it now and paying $5,000 for it.

Good news idiots! I got this in the mail this week, looks like you won't have to make two stops every friday anymore!


Drive-Thru Windows

In a responsible society: An occaisional convenience when you are in a rush.

In 'Real America': A dietary staple for millions of sedentary ham-beasts. The ultimate example of American laziness and excess.

It seemed like a really great idea in the 1940s but the fast food drive-thru spread like a malignant tumor over the last 60 years bringing nothing but heart attacks and global disaster. If you think Americans should be allowed easy inexpensive access to ultra high calorie/low nutrient food take a look at this.

Clearly Americans lack the self control necessary to handle drive-thru dining. Maybe if you had to waddle your fat ass inside the restaurant in plain view of the general public you would be too embarrassed to order that extra Big Mac with your value meal!

Also consider the environmental impact drive-thrus must have. I really wish someone would do a study of the carbon footprint of drive-thru traffic. All those cars idling away in those lines, wasting gas, belching fumes. Millions of them, every day. Why would we rather sit in a drive-thru lane for 15 minutes than go into the relatively empty counter where we can be out in under 5?

Someday soon you'll probably be able to take care of your dinner, furniture payment and payday loan all at the same drive-thru window. THIS IS THE FUTURE YOU ARE CHOOSING FOR YOURSELVES!

Renting-to-own deez McRims bitch.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

180 Days in the Hole

The Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri recently filed a law suit against the City to, long story short, make sure he can have his wife with him at all times of the day without interference from those who worry about effective governance, professionalism, or limiting liability from law suits resulting from his vulgar ass wife relentlessy insulting and pissing off an employee she claims was also a family friend. The Mayor's suit seeks to block enforcement of a city ordinance that prevents elected officials from having family members (ahem... Gloria) serve as full time volunteers in their offices.

In listing the Mayor's grievances, his lawyer deploys scare italics in numerous places. Just when I thought the reference to the "non-corporeal" sense of the word "office" couldn't be topped on the giggle scale, the petition alerts me to this frightening fact:
Noncompliance with the Ordinance (negligently or otherwise) thus carries a penalty of up to six months imprisonment, plus a $500 fine.
For some perspective, let's look at municipal ordinance violations that carry a penalty of up to six months imprisonment (!).

Sec. 50-13. Unauthorized distribution of trash tags or recycling bins.

In beautiful KCMO, you get two trash bags and one recycle bin per pick up. If you want more, you need to pay an additional fee for trash tags and extra bins. This ordinance presumably exists to discourage those individuals who are too lazy to strip buildings of copper and too bored with stealing stickers off of license plates from starting a black market in trash tags. Which is for the best, because a black market in trash tags is so... Soviet occupied Kafka.

Sec. 50-45. Unlawful removal of official documents or papers.

Before Tony gets excited, this ordinance applies to people removing official documents or papers without authorization from one's superior, so, no, the Mayor's home office does not apply. This ordinance is obviously designed to prevent negligent or intentional loss of official documents. It probably gets broken every time a employee takes some work home. Don't laugh! It could and probably does happen that city employees take some work home. The way this ordinance is drafted, some enterprising young city attorney who decides to take home some legal documents to review while doing laundry could be subjected to a penalty of up to six months imprisonment(!).

Sec. 50-202. Prohibition on swimming and wading in fountains and in Brush Creek.

This is probably the closest to the Mayor's situation with the volunteer ordinance. You're not supposed to wade or swim in Brush Creek or any city fountain unless the Parks Board has marked it as safe for wading or swimming. You'd like to think that basic survival instincts would warn you against jumping into the Creek lovingly known as Flush. But the fountains are more understandably tempting. Say you're a teenager or a bridesmaid looking to do something wacky and take a great photo. Or maybe you just need a refresher after standing in the sun reminding passersby to buy local produce and to demand that Bush be turned over to a war crimes tribunal. Getting into the fountain seems like a nice and harmless thing to do. But it's not. You can harm the fountain, causing the city to pay for expensive repairs. Or you could harm yourself by improper interaction with electrical lines running through water.

Jumping in the fountain looks like fun, but all things considered it's a bad idea. You may say - my taxes paid for that fountain! Or - it's my first amendment right to express my love of Kansas City by frolicking in that fountain! And if you jump in that fountain right now, your fountain story will probably end up happily, without damage to you or the fountain.

But reasonable people aren't going to want to jump into the fountain on a regular basis. And reasonable people aren't going to be surprised when habitual fountain frolicking results in them being ticketed.

They may be surprised to discover that the ordinance specifically provides for up to six months imprisonment(!). But here's the deal - pretty much every municipal ordinance provides for up to six months imprisonment(!), either specifically (as in the ones cited above) or through Sec. 1-17, which provides the default penalty for ordinances that don't specify a maximum punishment (public urinators, think twice). The courts want to have maximum flexibility to determine appropriate punishment and that's how it's done.

But nobody wants to pay to actually house ordinance violators in jail for 180 days unless it's an extreme case. You'd need to be a first class asshat to end up in jail for fountain frolicking.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The single toughest decision facing our new president

Barack Obama's first order of business is no doubt the assembly of his Cabinet and White House staff. The economy is a shambles, so he must choose an economic advisor very carefully. We are in a prolonged two front war with new threats cropping up every day. So who will be our Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security? What Secretary of Energy will save us from foreign oil and the sun?

Yes, all of these are important questions to be sure. There is however, a far more urgent matter to attend to.

Who will be the nation's new First Dog? I mean this isn't a simple family pet he is choosing here. This dog will be a symbol of his presidency, a mascot for the entire nation! He must choose a breed that sends the right message to America and to our allies and enemies abroad. Perhaps most importantly, this dog is certain to be a major player in Obama's 2012 re-election bid. The wrong dog could bring disaster! When we put a dog in the White House in 2012 we need to be damn sure it's the one WITHOUT lipstick if you know what I'm saying.

So let's look at some options.

Obama is nothing if not trendy and cool right? We'll start with that. Let's see the hippest dog breed out there right now is:

The Teacup Chihuahua

A couple of bitches

It's small and adorable and every little girl's dream dog thanks to the recent trend of Hollywood whores cramming them into their cocaine and vicodin filled purses. Still, this dog is completely unamerican! We can't have a First Dog that makes us look soft on immigration and border security! Not to mention it is tiny, timid and defenseless. Hardly the kind of mascot this country needs. We need a good strong, loyal and fearless protector. Something like...

The German Shepherd

One of my favorite breeds, German Shepherds are great dogs to be sure. They are loyal to the end, strong on defense and especially tough on crime. Again though, not American enough. It's too bad, but the reality is that Hitler ruined it for everyone. Besides, the German Shepherd is sort of my thing. Clearly, we need to focus on American breeds.

The Alaskan Husky

"...for me to shoot at!"

Sarah Palin after 3 months of consoling herself with Ben & Jerry's? No silly, it's a dog! Perhaps choosing this breed could be seen as reaching out to conservatives in a spirit of bipartisanship. Plus it is a strong and hardworking American breed. The problem? Its near twin the Siberian Husky!

______________________________'Sup Komrade?

Yep, the Alaskan Husky is very easily mistaken for a damn commie socialist pinko dog! Obama has been defending himself against cries of 'socialist' quite enough already! Clearly this dog won't do either! Although the thought of naming it Palin and giving it a good beating every 4 years is somewhat tempting.

The Beagle

The HMS Beagle

I was really leaning this way myself for a while. It's a friendly loyal dog and fine hunting companion with a keen nose. During my extensive research for this article however, I uncovered a very disturbing fact about Beagles. It turns out they are in fact English, not American. I don't know about you but a Beagle in the White House makes me fear for my second amendment rights. I'll be god damned if I'm going to have the King of England all up in my business without a gun handy!

America, there is really only one choice. Only one breed of dog that truly represents this nation at it's finest.

The Labrador Retriever

Labradors have it all. They are a proud breed who love their country. They can be white, black or brown. Truly they are a celebration of this nation's racial diversity. They are determined service dogs, many of whom worked their foot pads to bloody nubs in the ashes and rubble of 9/11. They are heroes. America needs heroes now more than ever.

America needs its First Labrador.

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w00t! America

Just w00t.

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Band? check. Flag corp? check. War machine?

So you're at your local sporting event and going through the motions of the opening ceremonies. The band is playing some incredible combination of songs that even 101 uses sparingly. And then, because it's the midwest and we love our military bases, and it's the Big 12 and we're not to be trifled with, you get the flyover. The PA draws your attention to the north. You stare into the sun. It's a long awkward moment of everyone staring into the sun. And then there they are, low to the ground, mounting Mt. Oread, two black hawks. And because this is America, you don't think of this:

Believe it or not, there are places in the world where it isn't necessary to have a military hardware demonstration to begin a respectable sporting event. But this is not that place. In this place, we celebrate the beginning of a game with displays of force under the guise of honoring those who serve.

Well guess what, asshat. It's not about respecting the troops. It's about respecting the need to continue to turn over the nation's wealth to those who build the hardware. If it were about the troops and celebrating their service in Iraq, we'd have them drive in from Topeka or where the fuck ever and put them on the field and raise our voices and hands in support and honor of their service. No, the troops are honored by the opportunity to fly that powerful machine over a crowd of friendlies who won't shoot at them. And the rest of us are trained to CHEER the display of military force. To see them fly over our homes and towns and be greeted as protectors, not aggressors.

It is wasteful to have these displays. Wasteful of resources and time to have war machines fly over football games. But the builders want us to view their products with warmth and affection. And it works. We see the flyover and we love our troops and we feel safe. But how fucking sick is it that at a time when American firepower is felt by innocents on the other side of the globe, we cheer these machines of death in the frivolous moment of a sporting event?

A B-2 bomber over Arrowhead is a moving thing. But how many who've witnessed it have thought about what it would be like to live in a place where that boom represents death and not the motherfucking home of the chiefs?

God Bless our Troops. And fuck the lot of assholes that keeps them so busy. Check out 2:09 and tell me if that looks like a fucking football field.

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