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FIVE THINGS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN THE SENATE’S FOOD SAFETY BILL BUT WEREN’T

1. THE COSTCO AMENDMENT

What do you do with eight gallons of stewed tomatoes? A 4-pack of 120 oz. mustard jars? 50 lbs. of rice?

If you’re like most households, you stick them on a shelf in the back of the pantry and try to ignore the fact that the giddy joy you felt because you saved so much money can’t possibly last long enough to counteract the guilt you’ll feel when you end up throwing half of it out.

This amendment would have legally prohibited club stores from selling bulk items that:

(a) the average consumer can’t possibly consume before the expiration date
(b) the average consumer doesn’t need – i.e. cashew butter, creamed spinach, dried parsley, tapioca pudding, etc.
(c) or that taste so good when sampled in the store nobody can resist their multi-ounce siren call.

2. CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR FOOD HYPOCRISY

This amendment would have made it illegal for anyone to cop a militant attitude about food – holier-than-thou vegans, organic-only food-nazis, food processing plant owners and/or executives who roll their eyes (and mobilize their lawyers) if anyone questions their quality or commitment to cleanliness, etc.

3. SPECIAL PROVISION FOR SPOKESPEOPLE AND OTHER PUBLIC RELATIONS EXECUTIVES

When it comes to outbreaks of salmonella, E. coli, listeria or other types of foodborne illnesses, it takes a special kind of flak to stand at a podium in front of a bunch of reporters and claim the company’s products are “perfectly safe” and that the media is making the situation out to be a lot worse than it really is, or that it’s not really company’s fault but the work of disgruntled employees and/or unscrupulous food activists, and that in either case, the company is “cooperating fully” with authorities to resolve the situation in a safe and timely fashion.

Since spokespeople can’t be sued for lying, this amendment would have made it mandatory for them all to attend a special private banquet where the only food they got would have been the very food they claimed everyone could “trust and continue to consume without any health and safety concerns.”

4. WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET – OR ELSE

Ever order anything online, or from the back of a magazine because the photos looked so good?

This amendment would have not only banned the use of Photoshop and other means of digital enhancement, but made it illegal for anyone selling direct-to-the-consumer food to hire a photo stylist to, for example, sort through 10,000 bushels of pears to find the one – and only one – in the lot that looked like you’d want to eat it.

It would also have made it illegal to embellish descriptions, meaning that if a wine-of-the-month club promised “world-class” bottles, they had better come from a part of the world that’s actually known for its vineyards and taste really, really good.

5. VEGETABLE JAIL

This amendment would have authorized the FDA to work with state and local law enforcement officials to create “vegetable jail,” so that instead of threatening kids who won’t eat their broccoli, carrots, green beans, etc. with no dessert or having to sit at the table until everything – “And I mean everything!” – is finished, parents could just say “Look… it’s either spinach or 18 months hard time.”

(Not that some kids wouldn’t choose jail over spinach, of course, but at least it would have helped.)

KIDS, TV AND THE S-WORD: TIME TO BRING BACK THE NETWORK CENSOR?

One of the most popular feeds on twitter is “$#*! My Dad Says,” which is a collection of the irreverent, biting, very-funny comments 29-year-old Justin’s 74-year-old dad makes. It has close to 1.4 million followers and is being turned into a sitcom by CBS starring William Shatner.

Maybe.

A national family-advocacy group called the Parents Television Council is threatening an “unrelenting campaign” against the show’s advertisers and CBS’s affiliates if the show airs because they don’t like the idea of a show named “$#*! My Dad Says” being on at 8:30 pm.

(They probably don’t like the idea of the show being on at all, as well — these are the same gate-keepers of morality who don’t recommend the new Shrek movie for kids under seven because it includes “toilet humor, with Shrek’s children belching, farting, pooping their pants and urinating on Shrek,” which, as even the most conservative parents know, is exactly what kids under age seven think is funny1.)

It’s not like CBS is actually going to use the s-word in the title, of course; instead, they plan to substitute the all-purpose curse-word stand-in “$#*!”

Which means the problem is… what exactly?

Because CBS broadcasts its programing over the public airwaves, the FCC insists (more or less, depending on who’s in charge) that it and other broadcasters adhere to a higher standard of decency than, say, every other media outlet in the known universe, because there’s a reasonable (though infinitely small) chance some unsuspecting innocent will accidentally turn on the TV and be offended:

CHILD: I just saw something on TV I don’t understand.
OVER-REACTIVE PARENT: What was it?
CHILD: It was a promo for a new show called “$#*! My Dad Says.”
OVER-REACTIVE PARENT: You saw that on TV!?!?
CHILD: Why? Is that bad?
OVER-REACTIVE PARENT: Of course it’s bad: “$#*!” is a swear word.
CHILD: Really? I’ve never heard of that one before.
OVER-REACTIVE PARENT: Well… technically “$#*” isn’t a swear word, it’s a substitute for a swear word, but it’s still offensive.
CHILD: Which swear word is it a substitute for?
OVER-REACTIVE PARENT:That’s just it: it could be any one of ‘em — though usually if you think about it you can figure it out.
CHILD: Oh.. now I know.
OVER-REACTIVE PARENT:Exactly. Now you go wash your mouth out with soap while I write a letter to FCC to complain about the way the liberal media is corrupting our youth.

There’s nothing wrong with parents protecting their kids from what they feel are bad influences, but isn’t it kind of silly to make such a big deal out of something like this? If for no other reason than the fact that there probably isn’t a kid left in this country who doesn’t already know the s-word, the a-word and probably the f-word, too.

(FULL DISCLOSURE: I know my kids know them because (a) they are sometimes in the car with me when I drive and (b) I think it’s important they have a full and complete grasp of the English language, including words that are inappropriate, which is why I sat them down one night and taught them.2)

Besides, when you think about it, television doesn’t need to be censored because televisions come with a remote control and a power button.

Click.

Click.

Click.

Isn’t that easier than a national boycott?

(That said, remotes can be so confusing and complicated it is possible somebody somewhere can’t turn their TV off, change the channel, lower the volume or remove the annoying on-screen overlay because they haven’t managed to crack the secret combination of input/source buttons even this most basic level of functionality can sometimes require. But that’s the fault of the manufacturer, not the media.)

Rather than being bad, in fact, a situation like “$#*! My Dad Says” is actually good because it’s a potential springboard for a family discussion about the the way personal beliefs shape behavior, and how these truths help us decide appropriate from inappropriate, right from wrong and good from bad.

(Though, admittedly, given the time and effort that kind of thing would involve, a national boycott would probably be easier and less time-consuming.)

So what do concerned parents do about “$#*! My Dad Says”?

Just explain in clear and graphic terms exactly “$#*!” is:  punctuation — because if the fear is that exposed kids will suddenly start slinging obscenities willy nilly, nothing will kill that impulse more quickly than a long, drawn-out lesson in grammar:

PARENT: Have you ever wondered why they use “$,: “#,” “*,” “@” and “!” to denote obscenities instead of, say, a semi-colon?
WOULD-BE FOUL-MOUTHED CHILD: No more, please!
PARENT: Sorry, we can’t stop now: we haven’t discussed your reading assignments from The Elements of Style,  Eats, Shoots and Leaves, and The Mother Tongue yet.
WOULD-BE FOUL-MOUTHED CHILD: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

And as for the show itself, the only reason to ban, condemn or make it the focus on an “unrelenting campaign” is if it isn’t funny.3

Stay tuned.

__________________________________________

1 If anyone should be offended by this it’s parents, because they know from first-hand experience there’s nothing funny about pee, poop or puke, especially when it’s just been splattered all over you.

2 Given the current political climate, I’d venture that liberal households aren’t the only ones where kids are getting an education in vulgarities, either:

CHILD: Where are you going?
ULTRA-CONSERVATIVE PARENT: There’s a Tea Party Rally at the park.
CHILD: What’s a Tea Party?
ULTRA-CONSERVATIVE PARENT: The Tea Party movement is a grass-roots effort whereby patriotic Americans join together to save our country from Obama, Pelosi and the rest of those f-ing liberals.
CHILD: GASP! You said “f-ing.”
ULTRA-CONSERVATIVE PARENT: I know, but it’s not my fault — liberals make me so mad I just can’t control myself.
CHILD: You still have to wash your mouth out with soap though, right?
ULTRA-CONSERVATIVE PARENT: I’ll be glad to, too, ’cause everything that’s happening to our country right now leaves such a bad taste in my mouth, soap would be an improvement.

3 If anything should be banned, condemned, or made the focus of an “unrelenting campaign,” it should be ads for erectile dysfunction that air during shows kids probably shouldn’t be watching with their parents but do, because trying to explain that is really, really uncomfortable.

BABIES IN BARS

Is there anything worse than bringing a baby to a bar?

Judging by all the anger that’s being vented online, this seems to be among the most grievous sins any parent can commit.

But why?

To begin with, it’s more than likely the lonely, bitter, child-hating singles who seem to be so put out by this are in the minority, and that the majority of bar-patrons either don’t care, or accept the fact that there’s really no getting around the situation because babies need to be with their parents and their parents need to relax and have a few drinks before they completely lose their minds.

(Though I might be more than a little biased about that.)

On the other hand, if the baby-haters are in the majority, then… well… at least they’re in a bar where they can just order another round to numb their senses, right?

But forget that for the moment.

It seems like the primary objection to babies in bars is that they do a lot of things that ruin it for everyone else.

Maybe that’s true, but is a suckling newborn any more off-putting or “obscene” than two semi-intoxicated singles groping each other in a back corner of the bar that’s not nearly as dim as they think it is?

If spit-up is the problem, it’s important to keep in mind that when babies do that — whether in the car, or in a bar, or in a country called Myanmar  (sorry, too much Dr. Seuss) — they usually do it on themselves, their mom or their mom’s childless, single friend who suggested they meet for a drink in the first place.

The same can’t be said for the just-turned-21 winner of the “Let’s see how many shots of Jack Daniels I can do” contest.

(Though he, too, may spit up on mom’s single, childless friend:

JUST-TURNED-21-YEAR-OLD: You ever watch “Cougar Town?”
MOM’S CHILDLESS, SINGLE FRIEND: I do, actually.
JUST-TURNED-21-YEAR-OLD: Me, too. I… I…
MOM’S CHILDLESS, SINGLE FRIEND: You want to come over and watch it with me some time?
JUST-TURNED-21-YEAR-OLD: No, I think I’m gonna be sick. BLA-AAAAA-A-A-TCH.

Think baby spit-up smells bad? It’s nothing compared to the stench of half-digested bar nuts and bourbon.)

So what about drool?

Any two geezers who’ve spent the entire day knocking back $2 PBRs produce a lot more than an infant.

Ditto for diapers, and the whole Huggies vs. Depends thing, too.

Which leaves what? Crying?

Sure, that can be loud, grating and unstoppable, but even a 5-month-old with a bad case of colic can’t compete with the sobs and wails that ring out when those same two semi-intoxicated singles run into each other a few nights later and one claims to have absolutely no memory of the other, let alone the passionate night they spent together where they pledged their mutual love and promised to be soul mates forever.

Conclusion: Baby-haters 0, Babies 1

In fact, maybe more than “1″ when you consider that to singles, a baby in a bar might not just be a reminder that they should enjoy themselves while they can still get out of the house without hiring a sitter, but that they should be careful, too, lest some intoxicated encounter take an intimate turn and they find themselves having to do that way too soon.

Now… if there’s anywhere babies should be banned, it’s coffee houses, because nothing makes every coo, burp, squeal, shriek or sob more irritating than a whole lot of caffeine.

(Note: to be fair, of course, if we ban babies from coffee houses, we should also ban loud talkers, people who yell into their cell phones like they’re stuck in a hurricane, anyone with an iPod who sings along to whatever’s playing through their earbuds, people who push three or four tables together to have a staff meeting, teenagers who spread their textbooks out across all the tables but then sit there and text their friends instead of studying, anyone trying to sell anything, promote anything, or affect any kind of social change, anyone coming from, or going to yoga, because who needs that kind of guilt, politicians, dog walkers who leave their dogs outside, nannies who leave their strollers outside, and, of course, anyone trying to write anything on a laptop — especially if it’s a post like this.)

Links to the many online articles and rants:

“Babies in Bars”/New York Times Blog

“Babies in Bars”/CNN

“Babies in Bars”/Luke Constantino

“Babies in Bars”/Brownstoner

“Babies in Bars”/New York Blips

“Babies in Bars”/The Nervous Breakdown

“Babies in Bars”/Parent Dish

“Babies in Bars”/Gothamist

“Babies in Bars”/New York Times

A NOTE FROM THE IRS

To: All Taxpayers

From: IRS

RE: Replacement for IRS Form 1040 EZ for taxpayers experiencing economic hardship

In light of economic conditions facing the country, we are temporarily replacing IRS Form 1040 EZ with a new form that more directly addresses taxpayers financial difficulties. Anyone who has been recently (or not-so-recently) unemployed, who has lost their entire savings in the Madoff scandal or because they invested on Wall Street, who works for a Detroit auto maker, or who finds themself in a position where they owe more on their house than it’s worth, should now request IRS Form 1040 F.U. — because no matter how bad your situation is, you are still required to pay your taxes, and you will be penalized if you don’t.

WANT A LATTE TO GO WITH THAT SIX-SHOOTER?

Advocates of open-carry gun laws are targeting Starbucks, but how will the coffee giant respond?

It’s likely a team of lawyers will spend a few hundred billable hours developing a 100% defensible non-position, but what if Starbucks decides to embrace the situation instead and use it as an opportunity to put its customers first – even the ones who are packing heat?

Pairing Suggestions

Beverage Weapon
  • Plain black coffee
  • Classic Wild West six-shooter
  • Chai
  • AK-47 (because it’s what the rest of the world uses)
  • Single shot of espresso
  • Derringer
  • Red Eye
  • .357
  • Red Eye with an extra shot
  • .44 Magnum
  • Caramel Macchiato, Mocha Frappuccino
  • Anything with pearl handles or engraving
  • Cappuccino
  • .22 with a silencer
  • .96 oz. coffee traveler
  • Assault rifle
  • Clover
  • Antique, gold-plated flint-lock musket originally owned by the 17th Earl of Cornwall
  • Double Shot
  • Decaf
  • Any of the above, but w/out bullets

HOW TO EXPLAIN THE ECONOMIC CRISIS TO YOUR KIDS

KID: Are you sick?
PARENT: No.
KID: Then why do you look like you’re gonna throw-up?
PARENT: The President is talking about the economic crisis again.
KID: What’s an economic crisis?
PARENT: Well… Basically, it’s when everybody in the country suddenly realizes they’re fucked.
KID: GASP! You said a bad word.
PARENT: I’m sorry.
KID: You’re not supposed to say bad words.
PARENT: You’re right. Even with a situation as bad as this, I shouldn’t swear.
KID: Why is the situation so bad, anyway?
PARENT: The cost of living is going up. Real wages are going down. People’s houses are worth less than they owe on them. Nobody can get credit any more. We can’t seem to find a way to use less energy. And now the experts are saying the very foundation upon which our entire economy is based is cracked at best, and may actually be broken beyond repair.
KID: Wow. We are fucked.
PARENT: Now you said a bad word.
KID: Sorry. Do I have to wash my mouth out with soap now?
PARENT: No, but only because we can’t afford any.

OPRAH + SARAH PALIN

Oprah and Sarah Palin sitting down together? Isn’t that like matter sitting down with anti-matter?

And isn’t that supposed to make the universe explode?

Since we’re all still here, it must have gone reasonably well. Which raises the question: what will they do next?

First, of course, Oprah will have to call The White House to explain why she gave millions of dollars in free publicity to President Obama’s 2012 opponent, and Sarah will have to call Rush Limbaugh (or Glenn Beck) to explain why she gave a guaranteed ratings bump to a liberal.

But after that?

While they could just go their separate ways, both are shrewd enough to realize that between the two of them they appeal to 94% of the U.S. population, and would therefore be unbeatable at the polls.

True, they do have philosophical differences, but they also have Dr. Phil to help them work those out.

(And if he couldn’t help, they could sit down with Hillary for a little advice on how to get along with somebody you don’t always agree with.)

Absurd? Sure, but what aspect of politics isn’t? And think of all the advantages they’d have:

  • Both are comfortable on camera.
  • Both speak their mind.
  • Both are wealthy enough to self-finance their campaign.
  • Oprah knows where Africa is.

There is one sticking point: who’d be the candidate and who’d be the running mate?

Which brings up the following poll:

If Oprah Winfrey and Sarah Palin were running mates in 2012, would it be:

View Results

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OBSERVATIONS ON THE DMV

  • Even if you are the first person in line, first thing in the morning, you will end up waiting an hour and a half.
  • Anything that can be screwed up will be screwed up.
  • Just because you are half-blind, senile, psychotic or drunk doesn’t mean you can’t renew your license — though if you’re half-blind you’ll have to take the vision test.
  • The fact that you’re supposed to take a number when you walk in only confuses the people in front of you who never learned to count.
  • Instructions are in Albanian, Arabic, Bosnian, Cambodian, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Korean, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Somalian, Spanish, Turkish, Thai and Vietnamese, but stupidity seems to be the same in any language.
  • If your car gets stolen, it is likely the person who stole it is waiting in line in front of you.
  • Saying you “work at the DMV” is kind of misleading – a more accurate description would be to say you “do as little work as you possibly can so you don’t get fired from the DMV.”
  • No matter how fat you are, there will be a woman ahead of you who weighs at least 100 pounds more than you do. (This may be the one positive thing about the DMV.)
  • One couple waiting in line will get into a huge, screaming argument.
  • One couple waiting in line will dry hump each other until a DMV employee asks them to stop.
  • Somebody will video this couple and post it on Youtube.
  • If you think a set of instructions are so simple even a moron could follow them, the moron in line in front of you will prove you wrong, and require up to 25 minutes of redundant, repetitive picture-based explanation before he or she realizes you can’t just take the driver’s test and get a license, you must actually pass it first.
  • If you accidentally marked “A” even though you know the answer is “None of the above,” you still have to re-take the test.
  • If the fee is $25 and you only have $23, you are $2 short no matter how many times you say “Please” or “Couldn’t you just cut me a little slack?”
  • Even if there are 50 open seats, somebody will sit down right next to you.
  • The person who sits down next to you will make you consider leaving and coming back tomorrow, even if you have already waited two hours and are next in line.

TOO DEPRESSED TO PLAY WITH YOUR KIDS?

Don’t let the credit crisis, the housing slump, gas prices, global warming, the cost of groceries, layoffs or the generally sad state of world affairs stop you from enjoying quality time with your kids.

Instead, let these troubles inspire you with the following games:

Mortgage, Mortgage, Who’s Got The Mortgage?

Kids sit in a circle with their fists closed, pretending to hold a button, which in this case represents a mortgage. As you go around the circle, everybody says “Mortgage, mortgage, who’s got the mortgage?” and then whoever’s turn it is says “Billy has the mortgage.” Billy must then open his fist to show everybody if he has the button/mortgage or not. The joke, of course, is that he doesn’t. In fact, nobody does, because credit is still so tight nobody can get one.

Stock Market Limbo

How low can it go? There’s one way to find out: put on “The Limbo Song” and see if you can make it under without collapsing.

Time Travelers

Take an imaginary trip to the future without leaving home. Just unplug the air conditioner, shut off the water main, and set the thermostat as high as it will go. The first person to pass out from heat stroke loses, the last one standing gets a half-glass of dirty water and a chance to play “An Inconvenient Truth: The Home Edition.”

The Crumbling Infrastructure Game

Just like “London Bridge is Falling Down,” only substitute something local.

U.N. Election Monitor

Help ensure the spread of democracy with this variation on “Kick The Can.” Select one U.N. Election Monitor, then divide everyone else up into two groups: voters and henchmen. While you turn your back and pretend every- thing is going really, really well, “voters” try to run up and kick the can before “henchmen” stop them.

Magic 81/4 – Ball

Buy? Sell? Forget your broker’s “opinion” and just ask the Magic 81/4 – Ball. It couldn’t be any worse.

Filibusted

Pretend you’re Congress and you’re trying to do something to re-ignite the economy, only you get so bogged down in partisanship you just stand around calling each other names.

The Coupon Game

What kid doesn’t like to cut things out? Here, you put yours to work helping you find enough coupons to make up the difference between what you make and what you spend. (While technically not a game, it would probably be helpful. Plus, you can give your kids bonus points if they find any coupons that are good for discounted liquor or anti-depressants.)

Chinese Toy Russian Roulette

Toxic? Non-toxic? Line up the toys and use a home lead-test to find out.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR SARAH PALIN?

Now that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has announced her resignation, what will she do next?

Some possibilities, whether you love her or hate her:

  • Publish a tell-all memoir finally admiting that all the rumors that surfaced about her during the campaign were true, and that even she thought John McCain was too old to be president (but was okay with it because it meant that when the stress of the job finally got to him she could take over)
  • “Late Night with Sarah Palin” — David Letterman once gave Tom Snyder a show, so why not? Besides, Dave’s a professional comedian and what could be a bigger joke than to pass his show on to her?
  • Join forces with John McCain for “Mavericks” motivational speaking tour before being sued by Mark Cuban for trademark infringement
  • Pose nude for Playboy, but then defend her actions by saying that because naked bodies come from God there’s nothing sinful about showing them
  • Become a personal shopper at Neiman Marcus
  • Sign lucrative endorsement deal with Lenscrafters to promote line of glasses
  • Sign lucrative endorsement deal with Mattel to promote line of Caribou Barbie Dolls
  • Sign lucrative endorsement deal with Democratic Party to promote the Republican Party, because they finally realize the only way to destroy the GOP completely is from within
  • Move back to Wasilla, become full-time hockey mom
  • Take her ability to tireless promote lost causes and become new C.E.O. of G.M.
  • …or Chrysler
  • …or for that matter, the Republican Party
  • Sign deal with the producers of “Jon and Kate plus 8” to create yet another cable TV show about a large, dysfunctional family
  • Print 500,000 posters of herself holding a rifle and wearing a camouflage hunting outfit and then crisscross the country autographing it for $5 a shot at gun shows, NRA meetings and country fairs
  • Open a day care
  • Move back to Wasilla, run for mayor again but lose, fade into obscurity
  • Become the 45th President of The United States

OVERHEARD AT THE WHITE HOUSE

POLLSTER: I’m sorry to be the one to say this, Mr. President, but we have a problem.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: What is it now?
POLLSTER: It’s your wife.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Michelle?
POLLSTER: Yes.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: No way! Michelle is great. Michelle is awesome. I love Michelle. Michelle is the best thing that ever happened to me.
POLLSTER: Yes, of course she is.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Then what’s the problem?
POLLSTER: You’re making other husbands look bad.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Because I take my wife on dates? Or say nice things about her in public? Or treat her with the respect and admiration she deserves?
POLLSTER: Yes.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: What’s wrong with that?
POLLSTER: Nobody else does it.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Then maybe they should? In fact, maybe we should add that to our list of priorities?
POLLSTER: Yes, Mr. President, but before we do I should point out that polls suggest we might want to focus on the economy, education, national healthcare, Iraq, Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan, first.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Because people think they’re more important?
POLLSTER: Because people think they’re easier.

AN EYE FOR AN EYE?

DICK CHENEY: Jesus Christ!
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN: Hey! I know you’re angry, but don’t take the Lord’s name in vain.
DICK CHENEY: I’m not — look!
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN: Jesus Christ!
JESUS: In the flesh. Ha. Ha. Ha.
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN: What’s so funny?
JESUS: Inside joke.
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN: Does this mean the Rapture is upon us?
JESUS: No.
DICK CHENEY: Oh… then why are you here?
JESUS: It’s this torture business.
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN: Terrible, isn’t it? I can’t believe everyone is making such a big deal out of our overwhelming support for it.
JESUS: I know, I find it really disturbing.
DICK CHENEY: What do you expect from the liberal media!?!?!?!
JESUS: I’m not here because of them.
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN: Huh?
JESUS: You realize that I was tortured, don’t you? And that cross you wear around your neck symbolizes the suffering I endured so that you and everyone else could be saved?
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN: Yeah, but that’s different.
JESUS: Is it?
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN: You’re the Son of God.
DICK CHENEY: Not some terrorist.
JESUS: Tell me if any of these sound familiar: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN: Uh… that’s Luke 6:27.
JESUS: How about this one: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing.”
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN: That’s Peter 3:9.
JESUS: And what about this: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.”
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN: That’s Romans 12:20 — but then it says “In doing this, you will heap burning coals on your enemy’s head.”
JESUS: That’s correct.
DICK CHENEY: “Burning coals” — that’s clearly torture.
JESUS: No, that’s clearly a metaphor – when I say “heap burning coals on his head” I mean your actions will ultimately soften his resolve and turn your enemy into a friend.
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN: Seriously?
JESUS: As God is my witness — Get it?
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN: So you want us to treat our enemies with respect and kindness, not torture?
JESUS: You’ll have to decide for yourself.
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN: Oh.
JESUS: But when I come back I’ll let you know if you were right or if you’ll be left behind.
DICK CHENEY: GULP!

ALTERNATIVE NOMINEES FOR THE SUPREME COURT

Lindsay Lohan

Since the public is more interested in celebrity than the law (except where the two collide), why not add a little star-power to the Supreme Court?

Rumors of whether she’s dating Ruth Bader Ginsburg or not would keep the tabloids buzzing for months, and after that there’d certainly be a steady stream of scandal and indiscretion.

The winner of the next American Idol

Every court case is really just a glorified popularity contest anyway, so at least this would bring in somebody with national experience.

David Letterman

A lot of people say legal opinions are a joke, but at least this way they’d be funny.

A XXX Porn Star

This way when people say they were screwed by the court, at least it would have been done by a professional.

Simon Cowell

Given the way he shreds everybody who appears before him, it would certainly make C-Span coverage of Supreme Court arguments fun to watch. (Though it might make Judge Scalia jealous, since he’s the one who does this kind of thing right now.)

Jeb Bush

After what George W. did to the family name, the only shot he has at any kind of position of power in the U.S. is one he’s appointed to.

Dan Brown, James Paterson, John Grisham etc.

Supreme Court opinions are usually so boring, nobody reads them. At least with one of these guys they’d be popular page-turners where you wouldn’t find out whether they dissent, concur or side with the majority until the very last sentence. Plus, all those convoluted twists and turns of logic that sometimes seem to come out of nowhere would just be seen as good ways of advancing the plot.

Bill Clinton

People wonder what Supreme Court Justices wear under their robes, but with him on the bench everybody would know: nothing.

Nancy Reagan’s old Astrologer

Because maybe it’s time legal opinions were based on something besides an interpretation of the law?

A random citizen

If being randomly selected is good enough for being on a jury, why not use the same criteria for being on the bench, too? While it’s true that most people don’t know the first thing about the law, that just gives lawyers an advantage.

Besides, wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear a Supreme Court Justice say “it may be legal, but it’s stupid. So I say ‘Strike it down!’”

The “Octomom”

While you could question her judgment in having so many babies, with that many kids in her care, she’ll have to master the art of making Solomon-like decisions, which is exactly the kind of thing a good Supreme Court Judge should do.

Bozo, The Clown

For the obvious reason that confirmation hearings have become nothing more than a 3-ring circus.

Oprah

For millions of Americans, her word is already law, so why not just go ahead and put some Constitutional authority behind it?

INDEPENDENCE FOR TEXAS

In light of Texas Governor Rick Perry’s recent flirtation with independence, other states might do well to consider seceding, too:

Illinois

Secedes for 48 hours – long enough to declare all forms of political corruption, both past and present, legal, then rejoins United States.

Louisiana

Declares independence, then lobbies U.S. government for humanitarian aid to finish repairs from hurricane Katrina.

Mississippi, Arkansas

Follow Louisiana’s lead in the hope of getting aid, but are shocked to discover that with nothing of significance except The William J. Clinton Presidential Library, the U.S. government just isn’t interested in giving them any money. Stiffed, they form a new country called “Miss An”, and — after U.S. stops providing operating funds for the Clinton Library — they turn it into a whorehouse, which everybody thinks if kind of appropriate.

For the U.S., not having to include Mississippi in secondary school math, science and reading proficiency test results instantly bumps it from 39th in the world to 14th, which the Obama administration uses as proof its education policies are working.

North Dakota & South Dakota

Both declare independence, but tensions mount when they each demand to be called simply “Dakota.” War breaks out, and for a while it looks like South Dakota will win until newly-independent Montana – which seceded when the federal government balked at its plans to abolish speed limits on all of its roads – comes in on the side of the former North Dakota.

Florida

Leaves union, reveals itself to be populated almost entirely by aliens.

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Leaves U.S. for Canada, doesn’t see any real difference except in switching from dollars to loonies.

Utah

HBO mounts stealth grassroots campaign for Utah independence in an attempt to boost ratings for “Big Love,” but ultimately pulls out when it realizes it doesn’t have any money left to spend after subscriptions wither away because it doesn’t have any hits anymore.

Nevada

Declares independence, legalizes everything, but is then mysteriously swallowed up by a giant sandstorm that many claim came to be the handiwork of God, but is really just an unexpected consequence of Lake Mead going completely dry.

Puerto Rico

Given the exodus of states, Puerto Rico finally makes a serious bid for statehood but is rejected.

California

Initially splits into North California and South California, with capitols in San Jose and Burbank, respectively. Following the passage of Proposition 2BU, San Francisco is allowed to declare itself a sovereign nation akin to Vatican City (or, perhaps, the anti-Vatican City), but this liberal utopia quickly goes to shit when President Newsom gives into City Council pressure and abolishes the rule of law entirely. Within days, it becomes clear that nobody is inherently fair and good, as many in the area had come to believe, and are instead selfish and cruel, as Conservatives had long suggested. It isn’t until Nancy Pelosi kisses Dick Cheney’s fat, white ass that he agrees to provide her with a Haliburton private contractor army she can use to restore order.

Texas

After holding a press conference to say he hadn’t advocated secession, Gov. Rick Perry holds another press conference to say that he misspoke at the earlier press conference and that he did, in fact, suggest that Texas secede — until he realizes that if Texas secedes it would have to deal with illegal immigration and border violence without the benefit of federal funds, and then reverses himself on reversing himself on reversing himself until nobody knows what the Hell he means and elects somebody else Governor.

Washington D.C.

Finally allowed to become a state, but elects Marion Berry Governor and then has statehood revoked for lack of jugement.

ECONOMIC CRISIS SURVEY

01. The U.S. Economy is in the worst shape since:
’82.
’73.
The Great Depression.
I don’t know – what’s worse than The Great Depression?
02. Because of the economic crisis I have reduced my household spending:
15% across the board.
To the point where it doesn’t exceed my income. (Who’d of thought that would be so hard, huh?)
Entirely - I don’t have any household expenses because I lost my house.
Not at all. (Thank you pre-Bailout Wall Street bonus!)
03. My home is now worth:
More than what I originally paid for it, but nowhere near as much as I owe in home equity lines.
Half what my mortgage broker swore it would be worth when I bought it two years ago using an adjustable rate interest-only loan that I am just now finding out he got a huge fee for talking me into.
It’s the bank’s problem now, so who cares?
04. If I had to describe my outlook for the economy in one word it would be:
Bad.
Badder.
Baddest.
As George W. Bush might say “Badderest.”
05. The best way to fix the economy is:
The House version of the stimulus plan.
The Senate version of the stimulus plan.
Get a loan from Bill Gates.
Make everybody on Wall Street who got a bonus over the last five years give it back.
Hold a really big bake sale and hope everybody in China feels guilty enough about selling us all those tainted products to buy 1 billion $800 brownies.
Pray.
06. I think the government is doing everything it can to fix the economy:
Which is why I think the best course of action is to be optimistic and wait for the turnaround.
Which is why I’m truly frightened.
Or I would think that if I wasn’t numbing myself with prescription anti-depressants and alcohol.
Who are we kidding? The government?!?!? The government got us into this mess in the first place with all that “ownership society” bullshit, lobbyist-written bills, de-regulation and quid pro quo campaign contributions. If the government was trying not to fix the economy then maybe we’d have a chance, otherwise forget it.
07. The one person I think is most likely to fix the economy is:
President Obama, which almost certainly guarantees that every Republican on Capitol Hill will try to stop him.
John McCain, but he didn’t get elected.
Bernie Madoff (which sounds crazy until you realize this is the guy who ran a $50 billion ponzi scheme for 30 years before he got caught, and if he could do the same thing with the $50 trillion U.S. economy, why the hell not? The rest of the world already blames us, so why not take even more of their money and have some fun.)
My 4-year-old son - ’cause his generation will be the ones who actually have to pay off whatever deficit we run up now.
08. If I had the last 8 years to do over I would:
Have bought a lot more property on thin, shaky, questionable credit but sold it all at the end of ’05.
Taken the cash from my home equity line and stashed it in the mattress instead of buying flat screen HDTVs for my bathrooms.
Have bought a big, huge, gas-guzzling Hummer in ’01 because then I would have been able to drive it for a few years without everyone looking at my like I’m single-handedly warming the planet with every mile I drive.
Shorted A.I.G., the Big Three auto makers, Lehman Brothers and WaMu.
Enjoyed it while it lasted.
09. The most important lesson I’ve learned from the economic crisis is:
Spend less, save more.
If it seems to good to be true it probably is.
Greed makes everybody stupid, especially people who live in Washington D.C.
Nothing. (Sad, I know, but at least I’m being honest.)
10. If things don’t turnaround in the next few months I’m:
Moving back in with my parents.
11. Ultimately I blame:
Wall Street.
Main Street for thinking it could make money like Wall Street.
Poor government regulation of banks, mortgage brokers, hedge funds, the securities industry and itself.
George W. Bush.
Bill Clinton (who really didn’t have anything to do with the mess we’re in now but is still my scapegoat of choice for everything liberal).
Sarah Palin (who definitely didn’t have anything to do with the mess we’re in now but is still my scapegoat of choice for everything conservative).
Barack Obama (and if not now, surely by this summer).
My spouse for talking us into buying a house I knew we couldn’t afford.
My parents (because I wouldn’t be going through this hell if I wasn’t ever born).
Myself, even though it’s hard to admit.
God.
All of the above.
12. If I get through this without losing everything, I plan to take to heart the lessons I’ve learned and devote my life to:
Doing something that makes society as a whole a better place.
Finding work I feel is personally satisfying rather than just financially rewarding.
Finding better work-life balance.
Any of the above, but only after I’ve paid off the credit cards I’ve been living on, which will probably take decades.

GITMO FOR LESS

Shortly after announcing plans to shut down Gitmo at some point in the not-too-distant future, President Obama was attacked by Republicans for living in fantasyland if he thinks this can happen, if for no other reason than there’s nowhere else the government can house detainees – at least not anywhere they could legally continue to deny them their legal rights.

“Maybe we should re-open Alcatraz and put them there?” joked House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), probably because the island prison is located in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district.

But instead of dismissing these gripes, perhaps it would behoove President Obama to actually consider what his opponents are saying?

Take Alcatraz. While it’s now a National Park, it was once the nation’s most secure prison, so it’s not like we haven’t put scary people there before. Nobody has every successfully escaped from Alcatraz, either, except Clint Eastwood and Sean Connery, but they only did it in the movies. And even if one of these dangerous fundamentalist Islamic terrorists did escape, they’d wind up in San Francisco, which – with its ultra-liberal ways, vibrant gay and lesbian community and tolerance for pretty much anything – is probably the one place in the world they’d be so horrified to see they’d just drop dead from shock.

As for the fantasyland comment, parents everywhere can attest that the real Fantasyland, located in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, would make a good place for detainees, too, because not only is it nearly impossible to escape from, no matter how hard you try or what methods you resort to – i.e. bribes, threats, various forms of verbal abuse etc. – it has the added benefits of having its own security force, so it’s not subject to local laws, being conveniently located just a few hours from the Everglades, where uncooperative tourists terrorists can be “accidentally” dropped off to be eaten by crocodiles, and in light of harsher forms of interrogation being outlawed, it comes complete with the simple yet effective way of coercing confessions from prisoners: making them ride “It’s a Small World” over and over again.

Plus, in terms of cost, as outrageous as many feel ticket prices are, they’re still nothing compared to what the government is already spending on detainees right now.

On the other hand, since Disney might object to one of it’s theme parks being used to house terrorists, perhaps a better alternative would be the DMV. While not quite as secure as a place with walls or fences, it’s still pretty much impossible to ever get out of, at least not with your sanity in tact, and given the on-going legal questions concerning equal protection, it’s worth noting that everybody who winds up at the DMV – detainee or American citizen – has their most most basic human rights violated repeatedly, effortlessly and without consequence.

And anyone worried that detainees might be treated too kindly at such a place need only imagine them standing in line for 18 hours or more while waiting for the next window to become available, being forcibly restrained as two 400 lb. women sit down on either side of them in the waiting area, or being subjected to water-boarding’s distant cousin: the written and driving portions of the Driver’s License exam.

Then again, as Abu Ghraib was closed for similar abuses, perhaps the best solution would be to simply house the detainees with members of Congress who are too busy sniping and complaining to offer realistic alternatives, because nothing would motivate them to find a bipartisan solution more than having to share a bathroom with the jihadist in the guest room.

IMPEACH OBAMA?

Not for the way he’s handled the nation’s business (both sides of the aisle seem to give him good marks so far) but because he let his daughters have a sleepover on a school night.

A SCHOOL NIGHT!

If one of his goals is to lead by example, what kind of example does this set for the rest of America’s parents?

Kid: Can I have a sleepover tonight?
Parent: No.
Kid: Why not?
Parent: ‘cause it’s a school night.
Kid: But President Obama let his daughters have a sleepover on a school night.
Parent: Well… he’s the President of The United States, he can do whatever he wants.
Kid: But it’s wrong for the president to just “do whatever he wants” – at least that’s what you said about George W. Bush.
Parent: Uh…

As if that wasn’t bad enough, he had the audacity to arrange for screenings of both “High School Musical 3” and “Bolt,” which won’t be out on home video for months (except in China), followed by a private concert by Jonas Brothers.

There’s no question the First Daughters deserve something special for what they have gone through over the last 18 months, but it’s important to be conservative (just this once, anyway) because there are a lot of parents in American who will do anything for their kids – even vote Republican in 2012 if that’s the only way they can avoid being shown up.

IN RE OOPS

While administering the Oath of Office today to Barack Obama, Chief Justice John Roberts departed from the original text and said “…execute the Office of The President of The United State faithfully…” instead of “…faithfully execute the Office of The President…” As the Oath is part of The Constitution, legal scholars immediately weighed in. Strict Constructionists defended Roberts by pointing out that this was nothing more than a minor change and that when his intent and other contributing factors were taken into account it was clearly no big deal. Liberals disagreed, naturally, and quickly condemned Roberts for such a blatant act of judicial activism. While pretty much everyone else just assumed Roberts messed up because it was cold.

FORECLOSURE ETIQUETTE

  1. No gloating.
  2. If you must ridicule your neighbors for being stupid enough to get an adjustable rate mortgage, do so in private.
  3. And before you do ridicule your neighbors in private for being stupid enough to get an adjustable rate mortgage, check your own mortgage to make sure you didn’t do the exact same thing.
  4. Keep in mind that while neighbors should try to help each other out in times of trouble, this does not mean you should offer to buy their almost-new home theater set-up for 10 cents on the dollar. (Unless they are moving out of the area, in which case, go for it.)
  5. To get back any tools, toys or lawn furniture you’ve loaned them, take the indirect approach. Start by saying, “Oh, say, did we ever return that lawn aerator we borrowed? We should both probably check our garages, just to make sure nothing gets left behind.”
  6. Don’t drop off a tuna casserole. They are not infirmed.
  7. Do bring liquor.
  8. If you’re so inclined, pray (for them, not that the same thing won’t happen to you).
  9. If your kids ask you why the neighbors are losing their house, just say “They’re not losing their house – it’s right there where it’s always been.” And then tell them to get ready for bed before they ask a lot of questions that even the world’s foremost economists couldn’t fully explain.
  10. If anyone from outside the neighborhood asks what happened, lie and tell them the neighbors are trading up, relocating for business, downsizing and moving to a small town in Ohio, getting divorced, etc. – anything but the fact they’re being foreclosed on, as that information could have a negative effect on property values.
  11. Always remember that it could just as easily have been you.
  12. And still might be.

ARE YOU BIPARTISAN?

01. How would you describe yourself politically?
Moderate.
Liberal.
Conservative.
Right.
02. In the last election, which candidate did you vote for? The one I liked the best.
The one I agreed with the most on the issues.
The one I felt would do the best job leading the country.
The one I thought would win.
The same one I vote for in every election — the one my party tells me to.
03. “Vigorous debate” is to “healthy democracy” what:
yeast” is to “bread.”
truth” is to “justice.”
rat infestation” is to “uninhabitable property.”
04. People who don’t agree with you on the issues are:
Entitled to their opinion.
Entitled to their opinion, even though I believe they’re clearly wrong.
The enemy.
Obviously going to Hell.
05. The greatest threat facing America right now is:
Terrorism.
The economic crisis.
Global warming.
Blowback from the failed policies of George W. Bush.
People who disagree with me.
06. Bill Clinton is:
One of the most effective presidents of the 20th Century.
Probably having sex with somebody other than his wife right now.
A liar.
Not nearly as frightening as Nancy Pelosi.
07. George W. Bush is:
A fundamentally decent man who but did the best he could under the circumstances.
Gone, so let’s just forget about him and move on.
To blame.
To blame for every problem we’ve had since Ronald Reagan ruined the country.
08. What would you do if Sarah Palin were elected president in 2012?
Be very surprised.
Be shocked.
Be happy America has finally come to its senses.v Be vindicated.
Be ready to show her all the support she needs in reclaiming America for “real” Americans.
09. I hope Barack Obama:
Succeeds.
Succeeds, even though I didn’t vote for him.
Single-handedly ushers in a new era of Republican dominance after being rebuked for trying to turn America into a socialist country.
Keeps my name in the press, because it’s good for ratings.
10. What would you do if you had to work with somebody from the opposite side of the political spectrum?
Try to find common ground.
Kill myself.
Kill them.
11. Who do you most blame for today’s problems?
Nobody, because blame is counterproductive.
Myself.
All of us because we’ve clearly made some bad choices lately, but now is the time to come together to set things right.
Two-Party Democracy — ’cause if we didn’t waste so much time and money dealing with the other side’s stupid ideology we could actually make America what it was meant to be.
12. If you were stranded without food in the Andes with a group of politicians, what would you do?
Nothing, because Democrats and Republican don’t do anything together these days, so obviously I’m dreaming.
Take a vote to see who goes for help and hope nobody filibusters.
Eat the Republicans, since those fat-cats are probably as marbled as a prime cut of kobe beef.
Starve, ’cause Democrats leave a bad taste in my mouth.
13. Political ideology is:
A starting point for informed debate.
The basis for legitimate differences between well-intentioned parties.
Stupid.
Stupid when it’s not my own.
14. What does it mean to live in a democracy?
That I have to tolerate other points of view.
That I have to defend the rights of people I don’t agree with as vigorously as I defend my own rights.
More work.
That I can’t just sue, imprison, deport or beat the shit out of anyone I don’t agree with, no matter how much I want to.
15. It’s important to be bipartisan because:
America can only be great if we all come together.
That’s what the Founding Fathers intended.
Actually, I don’t believe it’s important to be bipartisan at all. (And not just because I’m in Congress.)
Important to be bipartisan?” What are you, naive?

BIPARTISAN HALLOWEEN

Kid #1: Got your Halloween costume yet?
Kid #2: No.
Kid #1: Why not?
Kid #2: I got grounded.
Kid #1: On Halloween? What happened?
Kid #2: I told my parents I wanted to be something really, really scary, so my mom said I should be John McCain, and my dad said I should be Barack Obama.
Kid #1: Okay.
Kid #2: But then they started arguing about who was right and who was a pig-headed moron.
Kid #1: I hate it when parents do that.
Kid #2: Me, too. I stood there for as long as I could, but finally I couldn’t take it anymore.
Kid #1: What did you do?
Kid #2: I said if they really want me to be something scary, I should just go as Sarah Palin.
Kid #1: So why’d you get grounded?
Kid #2: Well… the only way I could get their attention was by smashing the table lamp.
Kid #1: Yikes.
Kid #2: Yeah, but at least they found common ground.

WHAT IF YOUR KIDS REJECT YOUR POLITICS?

As a parent, you know what’s best. That’s why you’re raising your kids to be God-fearing conservatives or free-thinking liberals, just like you.

Or so you thought until you came home one night to find an Obamarama going on in your living room, or caught one of your kids watching Fox News wearing a Glenn Beck Fan Club t-shirt.

Fortunately, there are ways to deal with this unsettling situation:

  1. Ground them until after the 2012 election.
  2. Force them to live their politics. This means that if your Little Limbaugh objects to your anything-goes liberal ideology, remind him that conservatives are against welfare of any kind (except corporate), so he needs to either pay his own way or go live in a homeless shelter with all the other free-loaders. Or, if your Lil’ Nancy Pelosi condemns your unwavering support for God, guns and unborn babies, remind her that come Judgment Day, she’ll be the one burning in Hell.
  3. Move somewhere so far to the Left or to the Right that your kids won’t have anyone to join them when they pass out fliers condemning Barack Obama or stage a sit-in against the evil influence of Big Oil. For liberals, this means moving to Berkeley; for conservatives, try Oklahoma City, OK or Cincinnati, OH (or if you’re a Mormon, try Provo, Utah, which is regularly ranked the most conservative city in America).
  4. Have them deprogrammed by either sending them to an Evangelical Christian Boot Camp or making them watch Oprah all day, every day until they come around.
  5. If you’re a conservative, blame Bill Clinton.
  6. If you’re a liberal, blame Ronald Reagan.
  7. If you’re either, blame George W. Bush (as the least-liked president in modern history, he’s become the official scapegoat for everything).
  8. If all else fails, break out the big guns of parenting – guilt and shame – and let your kids have it until their fragile egos are so crushed and broken the Stockholm Syndrome kicks in and they begin to love and embrace you and your ways once again.

POINTING FINGERS

When it comes to solving the nation’s problems, why does it seem like solutions aren’t nearly as important as blame?

Sure, blame makes for spirited debates on the Sunday morning talk shows and gives politicians material for their fundraising letters, but mostly it just helps us quickly pick sides in the ideological fight for the country’s future — which may explain why no matter how how unique, unexpected, unusual or complicated the problem, the root cause always comes from the same list.

For Republicans:

  • taxes
  • big government
  • unnecessary government regulation
  • welfare
  • flawed values
  • the liberal media elite
  • unions
  • trial lawyers
  • Bill Clinton
  • Nancy Pelosi
  • The pro-choice movement
  • the “gay agenda”
  • Hollywood
  • liberals

For Democrats:

  • big business
  • greed
  • de-regulation
  • lobbyists
  • corporate welfare
  • George W. Bush
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Rush Limbaugh
  • Sarah Palin
  • attempts to overturn Roe v. Wade
  • Fox News
  • special interests
  • evangelical christians/right-wing zealots
  • conservatives