Friday, December 28, 2012

Kinder Eggs in Canada

Kinder Eggs are on sale for $1.17 at Walmart in Winnipeg.  They are still illegal to sell in the United States.  Yet the Canadians don't seem alarmed by the incredible danger this chocolate-with-a-plastic-toy-in-it poses to society.  I tried to warn them, but at $1.17 apiece it's hard to argue with delicious choking hazards at an everyday low price.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Credibility Issues

I have a hard time believing the very same government that just finished supplying assault weapons to Mexican drug lords has any credibility in regulating private American gun ownership.

A "fast and furious" example of government incompetence.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Banning Black

In the wake of each senseless tragedy, we are told we cannot talk about it.  After we wring our hands and say "I thought it could never happen here," we are told that our Constitutional rights prevent it.  But as America finds itself engulfed in an epidemic of rampage shootings - from shopping malls and movie theaters to grocery store parking lots and elementary schools - it's time to finally do what needs to be done: the color black should be banned.

What does every shooting have in common?  A violent videogame?  A weapon with a high-capacity magazine?  A public school system without endorsement of a specific 1st Century religious deity?  A documented history of mental illness, asocial behavior, and the over-prescription of psycho-pharmaceuticals?  No.  What every shooting has in common is the color black.

Any crime scene investigator will confirm: every rampage shooter wears black.  Sometimes a trench coat.  Sometimes canvas pants.  Sometimes a bullet proof vest.  Sometimes only the weapon itself.  But it's always black.  It's the color of death.  It enables the concealment of weapons, the stealth of the perpetrator, and strikes terror into the hearts of innocent victims.  And until we are willing to admit that the world would be a safer place without the color black, we will never be able to address the root cause of this issue.

Now I know some hard-lined civil libertarians will say that a government prohibition of the color black violates the First Amendments guarantee of free expression, but no right is absolute.  The social contract that we all unknowingly sign holds that there are common-sense limits to our free expression and the color black is no exception.  The First Amendment was written in a very different time - one in which black was in very limited supply and not nearly as pervasive and opaque as the deep, dark blacks of today.  And those hues have consequences with a death count.

And while I realize there will be some so intent on wearing black that they will create a "black market" to obtain this color (even as law-abiding citizens are no longer allowed to wear it), our society cannot condone this behavior simply because some would boldly affront the rule of law.  Our government should wage the War on Black as strongly as possible by spying on Americans  without being incumbered by obfuscatory judicial procedure, strip-searching all Americans before they are permitted to enter a public building or board an aircraft, and implement a carefully-considered assassination list for the targeted killing of anyone believed to be plotting the display of the color black or aiding and abetting those who would.

Look, I am not opposed to keeping a pair of black dress shoes at home for festive gatherings, nor am I saying that a woman should not be permitted to wear a revealing black dress to a night club or a man should not be permitted to wear a black suit and tie to a formal dinner.  But allowing the attire of a highly-disturbed individual to be nothing but black is madness and some legislation should be promptly passed to stop another rampage shooter dressed in the color of death and intent on taking innocent lives.

Yes, it is impossible to prevent every tragedy.  Some serial killers, gang bangers, and murderers prefer other colors... but it's much easier to prevent crimes by people wearing white - whose blood-stained clothing and easily-identified hue would make it much easier for law enforcement to intervene.  Rather than getting caught up in the extreme ideological divide of this debate, it's important to remember that banning black is guaranteed to prevent at least one such tragic event.  And isn't that worth everyone being mandated by government force not to wear the color of evil?

This is an important conversation to have and our country is not having it.  The garment lobby has heavily infiltrated Washington and prevents the kind of sensible laws that would put an end to the mass shootings caused by the color black.  Judging by the sale of other colors of clothing, the majority of Americans support limiting access to black garments.  It's time to act.



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Prohibition Never Works

79 years ago today, the 21st Amendment ended the prohibition of alcohol, which had been enacted 13 years earlier with the 18th Amendment. Prohibition was a well-meaning government program intended to address the social, criminal, and health-related problems of alcohol abuse. But it turned out that prohibition created unintended consequences such as black markets, criminal trafficking, dangerous underground products, and a culture that demonized even responsible enjoyment of alcohol.

This should have been a lesson about prohibition more generally. Can you think of something else the government currently bans even for consenting adults in the "land of the free?" 


Senator Warren has Ties to Mafia?

Well, kind of. In an ideological sense. It's one thing to share voluntarily, it's quite another to have a hit put out on you if you don't give the mob a cut.

(click for larger version

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Grasshopper and the Ants - an Economic Lesson

Everything I needed to know about how an economy works came from watching this video as a kid:



"The world owes me a livin" chirps the grasshopper. He goes about consuming and leisure even as the ants produce and save. Then he discovers that he has been living deeper and deeper in debt and must find a marketable skill to make his own living.

What in the world does this video have to do with current affairs? It turns out, QUITE A BIT! The average American, and the US government itself, has been doing much more spending than saving (source). Now it's nearly the economic winter for the US dollar and Keynesian economists are convinced that the Fed's artificially low interest rates are here to stay.  But what happens when interest rates rise and productive countries no longer want to exchange their raw materials and manufactured goods for US fiat currency?


Monday, November 26, 2012

Black Friday and the National Debt


On Black Friday this year, Americans bought 9% more stuff from other countries with fiat currency backed by nothing! The U.S. national debt has reached $51,700 per citizen... but try telling that to these eager shoppers!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Twinkie's Unemployed

The recession just got real for enriched wheat flour, sugar, corn syrup, niacin, water, high fructose corn syrup, vegetable and/or animal shortening – containing one or more of partially hydrogenated soybean, cottonseed and canola oil, and beef fat, dextrose, whole eggs, modified corn starch, cellulose gum, whey, leavenings (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), salt, cornstarch, corn flour, corn syrup, solids, mono and diglycerides, soy lecithin, polysorbate 60, dextrin, calcium caseinate, sodium stearoyl lactylate, wheat gluten, calcium sulphate, natural and artificial flavors, caramel color, yellow #5, and red #40) (source).



Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Candy and Social Security

How is Halloween candy different from Social Security? Halloween is a pyramid scheme that actually works because many more people are paying into it than drawing from it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Two Party System Drones On

If you oppose drone strikes, that is to say the unmanned aerial military assaults of residential and business areas around the globe as the U.S. government sees fit, you cannot vote for Obomney 2012.


 


On issues like drone warfare, corporate cronyism, inflationary monetary policy via the Fed, the surveillance state, NDAA and PATRIOT, the drug war, and criminalizing whistle blowers, there is no debate between Obama and Romney.

The corporate duopoly works extremely hard to scare voters into "defensive voting." Rather than voting for a third party candidate or God forbid attempting to run as one, most Americans are corralled into electing the "least worst." Most informed progressives will cast a disillusioned vote for Obama and most principled conservatives will cast a disillusioned vote for Romney. Neither school of thought really gets what they want while Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms get exactly what they paid for.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Quantitative Easing Forever

With the Federal Reserve pledging to buy $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities per month for the indefinite future and a pledge to keep short-term interest rates near zero into 2015 (source), the film may as well be called:


"Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke evidently thinks that driving up the stock market will quicken the animal spirits of the affluent 20 percent who own 93 percent of equities, and this “wealth effect” will spur economic activity, eventually benefiting others. So, the interest rates Barack Obama favors are a form of the trickle-down economics he execrates." - George F. Will (source)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Treasury Bonds - The Fed's Fuzzy Math

(click for full version)

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered." - Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Segregated Conventions?

On a hunch, I took snapshots of the crowd during the 2012 Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention. The results were black and white.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hiroshima, 1945: American Terrorism

It's difficult to imagine how a campaign of firebombs and atomic weapons again a civilian population for political means could have any other name.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012

War is Making Us Poor

Contrary to Keynesian economics, warfare is not good for the economy because war only destroys wealth; it cannot create it. Government spending on war, including escalating borrowing on credit to fund military operations, has both short term and long term destructive effects - morally and economically.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Bush vs. Obama: Torture vs. Murder

CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN:  "If the Bush Administration didn’t like somebody, they’d kidnap them and send them to torture chambers.  If the Obama Administration decides they don’t like somebody, they murder them." - Noam Chomsky (source)



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Obama Administration Drones On

"OUR DRONE PROGRAM IN OTHER COUNTRIES IS LEGAL BECAUSE WE SAY IT'S LEGAL." There you have it (source).  Now stop asking your questions and re-elect Barack Obama.

Only one quote from the entire article presents a dissenting view:
"We continue to believe, based on the information available, that the program itself is not just unlawful but dangerous," Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project, said. "It is dangerous to characterize the entire planet as a battlefield."
Perhaps the single-most disappointing political consequence of the Obama Administration is the tacit approval by most progressives to acquiesce to the very same outrageous military aggression of the Bush Administration - which had prompted widespread protest and dissent.

Cowed into submission for fear of electing Republicans, Democrats seems as eager as ever this election year to shore up a president whose military policy continues or escalates the same hawkish postures of his Republican predecessor. And this is precisely what the military industrial complex needs for its continuation.

In related news: support the ACLU.

"Yes we can... bomb whomever we want anywhere in the world."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Obama, Romney and Goldman Sachs - 2012

Planning to vote for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney? Doesn't matter; you're really voting for Goldman Sachs (source).


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

OBAMA AVAILABLE IN WHITE!

Barack Obama: now available in white!  New and improved with more corporate wealth yet virtually the same policy positions and Super PAC contributions by Goldman Sachs!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

YouTube Collection: Magic of YouTube in Your Hands

YouTube pulled off an awesome April Fools video which basically illustrates how the future of digital media is impossible using analog media.



Saturday, March 24, 2012

DICK CHENEY'S HEART PROBLEM SOLVED!

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant Saturday, after five heart attacks over the past 25 years and countless medical procedures to keep him going (source).  Doctors now believe that Cheney's recurring cardiac problems were due to his heart being two sizes too small (diagram below).




Wednesday, March 21, 2012

DO A ROBO ROLL!

Rick Astley and Chrono Trigger plus a nod to Star Fox 64. This will always brighten my day. I just feel sorry for people who don't know the source material here.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Video Game Mashups


Awhile ago now, I came across a YouTube video called "Mega Man vs. Donkey Kong."  The results were obvious yet inescapably hilarious:



Since then, an entire series has emerged based on this concept.  Here is my favorite of the 13 episode First Season, entitled "Video Game Mashups: Contra vs. Paperboy."




Anyone who's played "Paperboy" can appreciate how frustrating this game is and how gratifying it feels to watch the soldier from "Contra" annihilate the entire neighborhood. The underlying visual rhetoric of this series is that videogames used to be pure, wholesome fun with genuine gameplay challenge... whereas modern games are crude, violent expressions of raw power and require little skill to complete.  While not entirely true, this combination of pixelated slap-stick and satire is a worthwhile exercise, particularly as a celebration of post-modern retrogaming culture in Web 2.0.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Adventures in Backpack Filmmaking

Until a decade ago, filmmaking required cases of heavy equipment and many crew members. With the advent of compact HD video cameras, it became possible to make "backpack films" in remote locations and with minimal crew - often with stunning results. Filmmaker and ASC professor Danny Ledonne shares some of his recent work and reflects on the adventures behind the images from his travels to Alaska, Kenya, the Galapagos, and all around the continental US.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Troops March on White House for Ron Paul

Ron Paul is the only anti-war 2012 presidential candidate, receiving twice as many donations from active duty military personnel as Barack Obama and ten times more than GOP front-runner Mitt Romney.





Today's demonstration by American soldiers should remind all Americans the heavy price this country is paying - in dollars and in lives - for continual military empire. To my mind, the largest area of government spending should also be the number one issue for voters - particularly as foreign policy dramatically affects the people of the entire globe and not merely the US.

A variety of divisive social issues have and will continue to be raised by campaign strategists in both parties to herd voters into predictable groups. Abortion, gay marriage, and government welfare programs. Yet until the US government gets its fiscal house in order and is no longer beholden to corporatism and the military industrial complex, these passionate debates about social issues will be meaningless in the face of crushing debt and immoral militarism.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Newt is Better than You




 It's difficult running for president when you're
so clearly, obviously far better than everyone else.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mitt for Brains

Candidate Mitt Romney is the 21st Century's most corporate candidate, with $20,882,176 (73%) of his campaign donations coming from wealthy corporations like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, and (surprise!) his own Bain Capital (source). Indeed, Mitt Romney is truly the candidate for the 1%.

(click for large version)


Monday, January 16, 2012

Jesus Christ and Slavery

If Jesus Christ had spent more time criticizing the institution of slavery instead of performing miracles to win friends and influence people, there may not have been a need for Martin Luther King, Jr.



The Christian Scriptures and Slavery:
Neither Jesus nor St. Paul, nor any other Biblical figure is recorded as saying anything in opposition to the institution of slavery. Slavery was very much a part of life in Judea, Galilee, and in the rest of the Roman Empire during New Testament times. The practice continued in England, Canada and the rest of the English Empire until the early 19th century; it continued in the U.S. until later in the 19th century.  (source)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

NDAA and Obama Kool-Aid

OKAY KIDS, TIME TO PUT DOWN THE OBAMA KOOL-AID. If you plan on voting for Barack Obama after the egregious assault on civil liberties as represented by signing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law, you are probably drinking too much Obama Kool-Aid. This shit is about to get real, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (source).
"The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield... We are extremely disappointed that President Obama signed this bill even though his administration is already claiming overly-broad detention authority in court. Any hope that the Obama administration would roll back those claims dimmed today. Thankfully we have three branches of government, and the final word on the scope of detention authority belongs to the Supreme Court, which has yet to rule on the scope of detention authority. But Congress and the president also have a role to play in cleaning up the mess they have created because no American citizen or anyone else should live in fear of this or any future president misusing the NDAA’s detention authority."

This is the kind of Big Brother non-sense that most liberals and progressives once protested and marched against during the Bush Administration.  The continual impulse to protect Barack Obama and rationalize his apparent indifference toward the Bill of Rights is only discrediting the Democratic Party and the critical thinking skills of its members.

"Yes we can - indefinitely detain American citizens without charges or legal counsel!"