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The REAL War on Christmas

7:50 am in Uncategorized by GregoriusU

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If you think this doesn’t make any sense, join the club…

Bill O’Reilly and the Faux News crowd are in the middle of their annual War On The War Against Christmas, dredging up every incident of Happy Holiday-ism they can find in an effort to show how anti-Christmas America has become. Bill also argued that Christianity isn’t a religion, but a philosophy. Not to say that a good Catholic boy like O’Reilly has a fundamental misunderstanding of either Christmas or Christianity, let’s take his statements at face value for a moment.

As the Spirit of Christmas Present says to Scrooge (in the Alastair Sim movie but not the book), “We Spirits of Christmas do not live but one day a year, we live the entire 365.” And what is that “spirit of Christmas”? Buying gifts? Setting up Nativity scenes? Randy office parties? Santa Claus? No, the true Christmas spirit is “Peace on earth, good will towards men.” It means not going to war unless you really have to. It means giving to those less fortunate. It means going the extra mile for your fellow man. Not just in December, but all January through November as well. Above all, it means ANYTHING but paying attention to Ayn Rand.

That’s the Christian philosophy in a nutshell, Bill. And your cohorts, the Republicans in the Senate, showed just how much true Christmas spirit they had when they turned down the UN treaty on the disabled. Never mind that John McCain endorsed it, George H. W. Bush endorsed it, Bob Dole was wheeled in from his deathbed (as Jon Stewart put it) to endorse it. Never mind that it was based on OUR OWN LAWS. The Republican bloc but a handful voted it down because it raised serious concerns about our sovereignty (all treaties do–that’s part of the reason we have them), it was a socialist plot from the hated UN, it was an attack on home schooling according to Paul Ryan, the idiot we were spared from having as Vice President a few weeks ago. But above all, because Barack Obama wanted it.

Nice going, guys–maybe you’d like a chance to repeal our own disability laws now. After all, building ramps might cut into corporate profits.

Oh. And Merry Christmas.

Happy Hanukah to all our Jewish friends (as they say on the news). We will be taking our winter hiatus after our annual HOLIDAY card next week.

Greg Uchrin is a satirist, cartoonist and professional cynic in Alexandria VA. This diary is cross-posted to his blog Intravenous Caffeine, the post-Bush era successor to HAIL DUBYUS.


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

5:25 am in Uncategorized by GregoriusU

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  • 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!

    And Mitt Romney wins the Piled Higher and Deeper Award

    6:01 am in Uncategorized by GregoriusU

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  • 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.

    I’m Back (Ouch Ouch Ouch) Sort Of

    8:25 am in Uncategorized by GregoriusU

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  • MAGIC!
  • I’m back again–more or less. At least my front is–my actual back has been on the verge of going out all weekend. I know that most people with bad backs get it in the lumbars so they can’t bend–MY back goes out in the thoracic vertebrae–one little spot where no matter how hard you twist or stretch, you can’t QUITE get it back in place. And like I said–on the verge. Not bad enough to hie me to the doctor, but not good enough to sit upright for long periods without being AWARE that this bone will soon be out of joint.

    ANYHOW. We’re back for the final four weeks of this hoohah where the incumbent, Barry Obama, has been doing a fairly competent job piloting the boat despite half of Congress rowing the wrong way–that is, any way that is opposite to the way he’s pointing, even if that was the way they had pointed before. Chatsworth Osborne Junior, otherwise known as Mitt Romney, is running against him, simply because as the person with the most money in this high school, he thinks he ought to be student council president. And while we were on hiatus, he chose Paul Ryan, tax wonk who cannot add or subtract, to be the brains of the outfit.

    Paul was asked to explain Mitt’s tax plan, which has been described previously as exactly like Paul’s but nothing like it. He responded this weekend that it was too complicated to explain, leading us to confirm that like most things in this world, Republicans expect the world to run on magic and wishful thinking. Hell, even HOGWART’s expects you to put a LITTLE effort into your spells (but of course, Hogwart’s would lose federal funding under a Republican administration since it is magickal and thus a creature of the anti-Christ.)

    In the meantime, Intervention Con was last weekend and a great time was had by all. I premiered the second volume of my BLEACH parody, BLECCH PART DUH, to great fanfare and the parties were primo! Pictures from the con can be found in my Flickr album.

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

    6:18 am in Uncategorized by GregoriusU

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    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!

    And thanks to everyone who left comments here this week! They were so great to read!

    Greg Uchrin is a satirist, cartoonist and professional cynic in Alexandria VA. This diary is cross-posted to his blog Intravenous Caffeine, the post-Bush era successor to HAIL DUBYUS