Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

I do believe this is conduct unbecoming to a lawmaker:

One of these days, it sure would be nice if Republicans felt the need to denounce this kind of radical, vile rhetoric.

At a town hall Wednesday night, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) told constituents, “We’re almost reaching a revolution in this country.”

Inhofe also said he doesn’t need to know what’s in a health care reform bill to vote against it.

“I don’t have to read it, or know what’s in it. I’m going to oppose it anyways,” he said at the event in Chickasha, Okla.

The senator was in good company, with most of the audience agreeing with him and expressing their disdain for big government and Democrats. One man said, “No more compromise. We’re losing our country.”

I can’t begin to understand why Inhofe and his like-minded extremists are so angry. But for an elected member of the United States Senate to speak publicly about the possibility of a “revolution” is deeply frightening.

What’s more, let’s not forget that Inhofe isn’t the only one throwing around insane rhetoric like this. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has encouraged her supporters to “rise up” and be “armed and dangerous.” Several GOP lawmakers are talking up the idea of “nullification,” which is effectively secession-lite. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s former press secretary recently wrote about “the coming revolution,” which he suggested might be similar to “Project Mayhem” from the movie “Fight Club.” (In the film, “Project Mayhem” involved militarizing terrorist cells that blew up banks.)

Inhofe is a U.S. senator, and he’s decided to fan the flames.

Of course he did, because he’s a fucktard who can’t even be bothered to do his job. I don’t know how the fuck he found enough deeply stupid people to elect him, but all he’s in government for is to fuck things up. He’s a useless piece of garbage who’s a disgrace to the Senate.

I hope the fuckwits stupid enough to play with fire are the first to get burned. We should be so lucky.

And here we have yet another fucktard making the kind of “jokes” that get people killed:

Much of my family still lives in Idaho, and my dad is fond of hanging at the gun range. He says he hears guys talking casually about how easy it would be to shoot President Obama with a long-range rifle. And how they’d really like to do it. Jokes like that are becoming common there, too.

So it really didn’t surprise me when one of the wingnuttiest wingnuts in Idaho (this is really saying something) joked about how he’d happily buy a hunting tag for shooting President Obama:

Rex Rammell, a long-shot gubernatorial candidate seeking the Republican nomination, criticized Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter on Wednesday for not making good on a promise to buy the first wolf tag. Tags for hunting the gray wolf went on sale Monday.

Rammell’s remarks on Otter came in an interview Wednesday after the Times-News asked about comments Rammell made Tuesday night at a local Republican party event.

After an audience member shouted a question about “Obama tags” during a discussion on wolves, Rammell responded, “The Obama tags? We’d buy some of those.”

While free speech is wonderful and allows all kinds of people to say all kinds of outrageous things, I think the line has to be drawn with elected officials joking about buying tags to hunt the President. That kind of talk is so far out of bounds it can’t see the stadium with the Hubble.

These assclowns demand we show them respect and trust them to govern when they encourage talk of revolution, joke about assassinating the President, and reflexively oppose legislation that would not only provide health care to all Americans, but help bring down the deficits they were largely responsible for. And there’s an enormous parade of them who are happy to rake in stimulus money with both hands while decrying that same stimulus in Washington. The latest:

The AP reports that Republicans who opposed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly referred to as the stimulus, are nonetheless vigorously pursuing money from the program. Many GOP members, like Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), are still slamming the stimulus as waste and a failure, yet at the same time are making internal appeals for more funds. Guthrie, attacked the Recovery Act for its “staggering” costs just days before he urged Defense Secretary Robert Gates to consider using stimulus money to renovate a military hospital in his congressional district.

Other opponents of the stimulus now pleading for stimulus money include:

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) opposed the stimulus and attacked it as a bloated government giveaway. However, both senators recently asked Gates to steer $50 million in stimulus money for a bio-energy project. Visiting a food bank aided by money from the stimulus, Chambliss exclaimed last week, “I’m very pleased that the government continues to play a key role, here, from the standpoint of providing food.”

Rep. Mary Fallin (R-OK) — who called the stimulus a “Big Brother spending program” — asked Army Secretary Pete Geren to use $8.4 million in stimulus money for repairs to buildings at two Oklahoma National Guard sites.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) told CNS News last month, “I don’t think it [failed] – I know it. I said at the time, there’s no stimulus in the stimulus bill.” He also called the Recovery Act simply “welfare.” However, a recent press release from Inhofe hails $1.9 million in funding for a Claremore regional railroad-based trans-modal facility, noting the investment will “help spur additional economic growth” and that the senator is “happy” about the way the money is being used. Inhofe, of course, makes no mention that the money is authorized by the Recovery Act.

Rep. John Carter (R-TX) opposed the Recovery Act, and recently called the entire program a failure that should be “repealed.” Regardless, Carter’s public pronouncements did not stop him from requesting $621 million in hospital projects from the stimulus — then calling the funds a victory for the economy in central Texas.

Rep. Bill Young (R-FL), another stimulus opponent, now lists various links on his website to help his constituents “take advantage of the federal stimulus money.”

The DCCC has a Hypocrisy Hall of Fame with a list as long as your leg highlighting the two-faced sons of bitches, and their list only includes the Reps, not the Senators, who are engaging in this bullshit. As Steve Benen said, “The campaign committee probably ought to save room for a lot of inductees.”

They’ll have to buy extra servers at this rate.

I wonder how much hypocrisy we’d be hearing if a vote against the stimulus and continued claims that the stimulus is a worthless waste that should be abolished meant those reps and senators didn’t get a single shiny dime from that package?

Speaking of people who should be required to experience a life without government largesse, the Tenthers come to mind. They’re the assclowns who think the Tenth Amendment means things like Medicare are unconstitutional. Their latest outcry is against roads:

In a recent radio interview, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) made the seemingly-innocuous statement that the federal highway system, as well as federal laws ensuring safe drugs and safe airplanes, are constitutional. Nevertheless, Shea-Porter is now under attack by “tenther” activists who believe that virtually everything the federal government does is unconstitutional:

Author and historian David Barton, the president of WallBbuilders, [sic] says Shea-Porter’s comments reflect her view that Washington government should run everything. He notes that both the Ninth and Tenth Amendments say anything that is not explicitly covered in the Constitution belongs to the states and to the people.

“All of those issues belong to the states and the people. Healthcare is not a federal issue. It is a state and people issue — the same with transportation. The Constitution does say that the federal government can take care of what are called the post roads — those on which the mail travels — but outside of that, states are responsible for their own highways, their own roads, their own county, local, state roads,” he notes.

You know, I hate to break this to you, fucktard, but the mail travels on nearly every single fucking road in this country. So even by your own inane argument, roads are very much a federal issue.

I’d ask for smarter Cons, but I know I wouldn’t get them. Not when they’re too clueless to realize that inviting Sarah Palin to a gathering without a backup speaker in place is just asking for a disaster:

If these circumstances sound familiar, it’s because we’ve heard this story before.

Organizers of an Anchorage event that has been billing Sarah Palin for weeks as a star speaker were left scrambling Wednesday after learning that the former governor won’t be there for tonight’s event and claims to have never been asked.

It would be at least the fourth time in recent months that an anticipated Palin speech has fallen through after Palin and her camp disputed they had ever confirmed it. That includes the brouhaha over whether she’d speak at the annual congressional Republican fundraising dinner in Washington, D.C., this summer.

This time it’s an event promoting an Alaska ballot measure aimed at making it illegal for teens to get an abortion without telling their parents. The Alaska Family Council has been advertising that Palin would give a speech and become the first official signer of the ballot petition tonight at ChangePoint, the Anchorage megachurch.

Alaska Family Council President Jim Minnery and his group have been promoting the event, and Palin’s appearance, after having been in contact with the former governor’s aides. Palin’s spokesperson said yesterday, however, that “this is the first we have ever heard of a speech.”


She’s not showing up. Palin’s spokesperson said Palin will not even be in Alaska when the event is held.

Now, in general, a mix-up between a far-right group and a far-right politician over scheduling issues wouldn’t be especially noteworthy. But what’s interesting about this is that it keeps happening. This is, as the Anchorage Daily News noted, the fourth time some members of Palin’s team committed to an event that other members of Palin’s team never agreed to.

Guess the idiots who invited her to their little anti-choice fest forgot the old saying: “Once is chance, twice is coincidence, but third time’s a pattern.”

That was probably enough of a laugh for one day, but there’s one more gem I just can’t pass up. Cons see an opening for them in Ted Kennedy’s death, and they’re viewing this as the perfect opportunity for Mitt Romney. They need to get their eyes checked:

In Roff’s fantasy scenario, Romney could serve a couple of years, dazzle Republicans with his ideas, and then parlay his Senate service into the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. It’s not just Roff — National Review‘s Lisa Schiffren likes the idea, too.

This is certainly an … what’s the word … imaginative proposal. But I don’t think it’s especially realistic.

First, Romney ran for governor in Massachusetts as a center-left, pro-choice, tolerant New England Republican. He left office after just one term as a conservative with an approval rating in the 30s. Which version of Romney would run for Kennedy’s seat? He couldn’t run to the right; he’d lose. He couldn’t run to the left; it would ruin his presidential ambitions.

Second, Roff may have missed it, but while President Obama’s approval ratings aren’t as strong as they were, he maintains a 73% approval rating in Massachusetts. It doesn’t look as if the Bay State would be anxious to replace Ted Kennedy with a harsh, reflexive opponent of the White House.

And third, by all appearances, Mitt Romney isn’t actually a resident of Massachusetts.

Other than these minor details, though, it’s a great idea. Run, Mittster, run.

Please do. The way must be cleared for the Palin/Bachmann 2012 ticket. You fuckers owe us a good laugh after all of the disasters you’ve visited upon the country.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

We haven’t had a good laugh at Karl Rove’s expense for a while. Happily, he’s provided us with prime fodder for amusement. Turn your irony meters off lest they explode:

Today on Twitter, former Bush White House adviser Karl Rove responded to questions posed by CopyChaser asking “@KarlRove What’s going on with all the czars? Is Obama’s strategy to change the engine of our success as a nation: freedom & capitalism?” and “@KarlRove And do we need both a ‘green’ czar and a ‘climate’ czar?” In response, Rove had this to say:


(I told you to turn the irony meters off. Shrapnel is, therefore, your responsibility.)

I know. Karl Rove complaining about a “giant expansion of presidential power” is like the Discovery Institute complaining about quote mining. But it gets even better:

It’s interesting to hear Rove come to this conclusion now, given the extraordinary Bush/Cheney affinity for czars. Kyle Schmidt noted that Rove himself was deemed the “domestic policy czar” in the Bush White House.

Schmidt also reminds me that I wrote a piece on this subject a couple of years ago, which sought to detail the Bush administration’s reflexive creation of new czars for every conceivable policy challenge. In the span of about six years, Rove’s White House oversaw the creation of a “food safety czar,” a “cybersecurity czar,” a “regulatory czar,” an “AIDS czar,” a “manufacturing czar,” an “intelligence czar,” a “bird-flu czar,” and a “Katrina czar.”

It was such a common strategy for Bush, Rove, and the gang, that it quickly became the butt of jokes. Newsweek satirist Andy Borowitz suggested in 2007 that the White House needed a “lying czar” to “oversee all distortions and misrepresentations.”

Yes, my darlings, that’s right: a former czar who was one czar among many is complaining about too many czars. Delicious, isn’t it?

Here’s something else delicious:

Newt Gingrich tried to take a page out of Sarah Palin’s playbook and took to the waters for a photo-op.
However, a fisherman ripped him.

The House speaker went down to a New Hampshire river yesterday with a horde of reporters in tow some say to test the waters for a possible presidential bid to chat up some anglers.
But Gingrich had hardly waved hello when a feisty fisherman named Tim Kipp ruined the Republican’s photo opportunity.
“Your politics are some of the meanest politics I have ever heard,” Kipp shouted as he stood waist-deep in the Androscoggin River. “You make Calvin Coolidge look like a liberal.”

Gingrich appeared stunned, but recovered slightly and told Kipp: “Despite our political differences, good luck today.”
But Kipp was just warming up.
“This guy is the most meanspirited, vicious politician we have seen in a long, long time,” Kipp told the reporters.

“The water we are fishing in right now will be destroyed by his policies.”

So much for chatting up fishermen in blissfully ignorant peace, then, eh?

Cons are busy trying to figure out how they can kill the nomination of an eminently-qualified, fairly moderate Latina judge, since the monstrous base they created demands it. Trust Sen. Sessions to step right up, take his best shot, and blow his feet to smithereens:

Sessions then gives the standard GOP laundry list:

  • She’s a racist (a.k.a. “wise Latina woman” remark”),
  • she’ll take away our guns (a.k.a a ruling that top conservative judges agreed with),
  • she hates white people (a.k.a. following precedent in the Ricci case), and,
  • she’s associated with a terrorist organization (a.k.a. the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund).

In other words, same crap, different day. Now, I can appreciate that Sessions has a job to do and wants to do it right. And if Sotomayor had said things like, oh, I don’t know, maybe calling the National Association for the Advancement of Colored people and the American Civil Liberties Union “un-American” and “Communist-inspired,” or, during a murder investigation of the Ku Klux Klan, said that she “used to think they [the Klan] were OK’ until (s)he found out some of them were ‘pot smokers,” or if she made a habit of calling African American men “boys,” and cautioned them about how they talked to “white folks,” she would be unfit to hold any position of power and respect. Right, Mr. Sessions?

This is enormous fun. It’s going to be even more fun watching the shrapnel from this particular explosion take out the last little bit of minority support the GOP’s clinging to.

Speaking of shooting oneself in the extremities and shrapnel and so forth, the idiot taking aim at himself in Kansas should provide a good show:

Now, Tiahrt has decided to stand up to the evil Socialists, President Obama and Nancy Pelosi by proposing a plan that would repeal federal stimulus funds for his state — which would be a total disaster and force the state to make massive cuts to their budget which is already hurting with the stimulus money:

U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, has a bill to repeal funding under the federal stimulus.

Of Kansas’ six-member congressional delegation, only U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Lenexa, whose district includes east Lawrence, voted for the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. All five Republicans voted against it.

But Tiahrt, who is running for U.S. Senate, has ratcheted up the rhetoric, producing a campaign ad against the stimulus program that asks viewers to help him stop President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

State officials said without the stimulus funds, Kansas would be hurting worse. Read on…

Apparently, Tiahrt learned nothing from Republican Governor Mark Sanford’s abysmal failure in South Carolina when he tried to do the same thing.

They’re so much like lemmings it’s eerie. Is following each other over cliffs some conservative ritual I wasn’t aware of? Or does that level of dumbassery come naturally?

And there seems to be an irresistible urge amongst them to parade their abject ignorance of science:

In his 2006 State of the Union address, then-President George W. Bush urged Congress to pass legislation curbing what he considered “egregious abuses of medical research.” Among the threats in need of a legislative remedy? A ban on “creating human-animal hybrids.” It wasn’t long before it was widely mocked.

But some conservatives on the Hill continue to take the matter very seriously.

Senate Republicans have introduced legislation to ban the creation of human-animal hybrids. […]

[Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.)] introduced a bill [Thursday] that would prevent U.S. researchers from developing embryos that use both human and animal material, a controversial practice underway in the UK.


There are currently 20 co-sponsors for Brownback’s bill — 19 conservative Republicans and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who warned this week against the “blending” of species.

It’s unclear whether the legislation stands a chance of passing — my sense is, it’s unlikely — but this kind of ban may have serious consequences for medical researchers. Indeed, when far-right activists talk about banning “human-animal hybrids,” they’re often trying to make a sweeping ban on stem-cell research, which can involve mouse cells.

What’s more, whether these 20 conservative senators appreciate it or not, research that may fall under the “human-animal hybrid” umbrella includes some potentially life-saving science. I recently spoke to a scientist who explained, “For example, it is currently unclear just how certain viruses spread in a person. Animal models are the preferred method of studying such things (for obvious reasons) but many pathogens are species restricted, meaning you cannot infect a mouse with them. By generating a mouse that carries genes to make what are effectively human cells (molecularly, and only a specific subset of cells, such as liver cells, or immune cells) these experiments can be done. Legislation banning such research has profound implications for our ability to stay competitive in the world in terms of basic research, not to mention in terms of medical developments.”

Conservatives have also struggled to define what, in their minds, constitute an actual “hybrid.” If someone with heart trouble has a transplant with a pig valve, is this a “blending” of species that should be outlawed?

Sometimes, I’m afraid to ask such questions, because I’m pretty sure their answer is “yes.” When people are this fucking ignorant, absolutely anything’s possible.

Finally, let’s take a look at the kind of person major Con blogs think makes a good spokesperson:

The conservative blog Townhall has a new spokesperson making the rounds these days and well, let’s just say she is the perfect example of today’s GOP — and all that is wrong with it.

Jillian Bandes has been quite busy lately, appearing on CSPAN Friday morning, then showing up on MSNBC where she got very nasty with our dear friend Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake, who laid waste to her right wing talking points.

Bandes is no stranger to controversy. As Tintin at one of my favorite blogs, Sadly No! reminds us, she made her bones by publishing an anti-Arab screed in her college newspaper:

Hey, whatever happend to Jillian Bandes? You remember her. She was the redneck wingnut who was fired from the UNC student newspaper after writing a column advocating that all Arab guys should be strip-searched at airports and that this wasn’t really a problem because Arab guys would enjoy getting all “sexed up” at the airport. Well, guess what? Jillian is now a contributor to the Clown Hall blog — “Where racism isn’t just a philosophy, it’s a job qualification!

You know, these idiots really do exceed my expectations of their dumbfuckery daily.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Apparently, everyone went comatose just like I did today. The stupid’s a little thin on the ground, but there’s a definite film there, much like the thin film of oil that coats Phoenix streets and waits for the rare rainstorm in order to fuck up motorists’ lives.

It’s coating the pages of the Weekly Standard like a septic tank malfunction:

I’ll give the Weekly Standard credit for clarity. The conservative magazine published two very similar pieces today — one from Stephen Hayes and William Kristol, the other from Fred Barnes — offering the identical attack with indistinguishable language: they want President Obama to do more to intervene in Iran.

The pieces are almost comical in their belligerence towards the White House. Hayes and Kristol lament Obama’s “weakness,” and described the U.S. president as “a de facto ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.” Barnes insists, “Obama has tilted in favor of the regime. The result is personal shame (for Obama) and policy shame (for the United States).”

What I find interesting about the 2,000 words of the conservatives’ angry and righteous denigration is how remarkably narrow it is. For Hayes, Kristol, and Barnes, it’s almost as if the argument presented by the president is so self-evidently horrible, they don’t feel the need to explain why they think it’s wrong.

The same shenanigans went on in the WaPo’s op-ed pages, with the same abject refusal to so much as mention the President’s position, let alone attempt a rebuttal.

I have a different take than Steve’s. I believe they refuse to address the President’s argument because they know he’s right. You know who else knows he’s right?

Gary Sick, a former National Security Council expert on Iran in the Ford, Carter and Reagan administrations — not, in other words, a liberal activist or party hack — explained the other day, “The Obama administration has handled this pretty well. There’s nothing we can do in a proactive way that is going to improve things. We could make things a lot worse.”

It’s a position endorsed by other Republicans such as Dick Lugar and Henry Kissinger. Nick Burns, an Undersecretary of State in the Bush administration, said this week that Ahmadinejad “would like nothing better than to see aggressive statements, a series of statements, from the United States which try to put the U.S. at the center of this.”

It’s just a little hard for merry assclowns like Kristol et al to come up with a credible argument against the President’s position when even the foreign policy experts on their side are saying, “Obama’s doin it rite.” So they go with the arguments that lack all credibility, and hope that enough belligerant bleating will blind people to the fact they’re utterly full of shit.

Turning to the wide world o’ finance, and the assclowns who pretend to report on it, check out this quote from CNBC’s Larry Kudlow:

Last night on CNBC, ThinkProgress editor-in-chief Faiz Shakir debated CNBC host Larry Kudlow about a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal which revealed that the CEOs of banks receiving government bailout money are expensing travel on private jets for personal vacations. “I think it’s great because I want to stimulate the economy,” Kudlow said of taxpayer-funded private jet trips by bank CEOs. “I want to help the resorts. … I’m glad the CEOs are going around. I just wish they’d take me with them.”

This, my darlings, from the same network that so enjoyed broadcasting Rick Santelli’s rant against struggling homeowners. When ordinary people accept government money for personal expenses, they’re losers. When CEOs do it, they’re “stimulating the economy.” Natch.

All this talk of media assclowns and hypocrisy reminds me of someone

Remember how, a week or so ago, Bill O’Reilly was preoccupied with the idea that the news media had comparatively obsessed over the domestic-terrorism killing of Dr. George Tiller, while “ignoring” the killing of Private Long, a similar act of terrorism? He had numerous segments complaining that the matter proved there was a liberal media bias.

At one point, he complained that CNN had “ignored” the story — a completely meritless charge. At another, he even claimed that the only place you could find any coverage of the case was on Fox.

Now, compare that to how Fox has handled yet another horrifying case of murderous extremism: the arrest of Shawna Forde and her Minuteman cohorts for the cold-blooded murder of a 9-year-old girl and her father.

Fox simply has ignored the story. There is a single Associated Press story on the Fox website. This AP piece, notably, contains not a single reference to Forde’s long history with the Minuteman movement, her close ties to Jim Gilchrist, or the fact that she intended this Minutemen squad to use its ill-gotten gains to “start a revolution against the United States government.”

When it comes to ignoring right-wing extremism, Bill O’s first in line. When it comes to hypocrisy – well, let’s just say that those people who camp for days for the new iPhone and Star Wars are late risers compared to Bill jumping in the hypocrisy queue.

Finally, let us end with a video that sums up the entire Con argument against health care reform:

At least the Cons inspire creative people to come up with some seriously funny shit mocking them. It’s about all they’re good for these days…

Faux News’s Greatest Hits: Anti-Protester Edition

Yeah, so you know how Faux News is suddenly all about teabaggers and opposition and secession? Remember how it used to be treason to so much as raise an eyebrow at a sitting president? Have a headache from the hypocrisy yet?

Media Matters has a few of their greatest hits:

As Media Matters for America has documented and the rest of the media have noted, despite its promise to deliver “total fair and balanced network coverage” of the April 15 tea-party protests, Fox News repeatedly promoted the protests that day and in preceding days, while hosts and guests, including those on Fox Business Network, engaged in inflammatory rhetoric during their coverage of the protests. By contrast, Media Matters‘ review of Fox News’ coverage of prior demonstrations finds that the network offered no such promotional coverage of 2003 and 2005 protests opposing the Iraq war, the 2006 immigrants’ rights protests, or other demonstrations in support of progressive positions. Instead, the network’s hosts, contributors, and guests often attacked participants in those protests. [snip]

  • On the February 17, 2003, edition of Special Report, Fox News host and Roll Call executive editor Morton Kondracke said of protesters:

KONDRACKE: And it’s curious that they would be supporting a fascist like Saddam Hussein. The only reason that they could be doing that is because they don’t like the United States and they don’t like war and they don’t like a war perpetrated by the United States of America.

Fox News host and Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes also stated:

BARNES: You know, I was struck by how uninformed and morally empty these demonstrations were.


BARNES: These demonstrators are both morally vacuous, they’re stupid, they’re disingenuous.


BARNES: They just don’t want a war and they hate the U.S., Mort’s right about that.


  • On the March 29, 2006, edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Juan Williams stated:

WILLIAMS: These kids don’t know anything. … [A] lot of these are poor kids, struggling along in those schools and struggling to gain some sense of identity, so they’re going to wave the Mexican flag because they feel somehow they are fighting for Mexicans living in the United States. And they’re even going to get into crazy arguments about whether California should truly belong to the Mexico or the United States — all kinds of stupidity.

But those are kids, Bill. I mean, kids who are — I mean, they use kids during the civil rights era as demonstrators. The kids know nothing, but at their heart, they feel like they’re giving a voice to what their uncles, their aunties, you know, some people who are illegal in this country who may never have a voice against the Minutemen and the far right wing that wants to throw everybody out.

Yes, the Cons are all concerned about the children who know nothing themselves, but just parrot what their parents say.

Except, of course, when they’re using them themselves:


Do you have.. The Atheism?

http://www.godtube.com/flvplayer.swfSeriously. Is this a parody? A joke? I can’t actually tell… I know that GodTube is real and really quite frightening. But this clip.. I’m not sure if I should laugh, or start walking across the street just to avoid these kinds of people..

via videosift.com

Dana, feel free to respond to this formally. You’re better at the ranting and raving than I am; I just thought I’d contribute a little something.

For Fuck’s Sake

This is why I’m not in management or PR. Some complete fucktard would come spouting this religiously-induced inane panic, and I wouldn’t write them a nice letter (complete with ALL CAPS emphasizing the REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF that sounds semi-logical but ISN’T RATIONAL AT ALL just like emails FROM CREATIONISTS AND OTHER RELIGIOUS FUCKTARDS – they certainly know their audience. The only thing missing is the changes in font size and color). I wouldn’t spend time figuring out that a literal interpretation of the Bible means the Beast can be subverted merely by switching hands. I would listen to their frothing, stare at them in silence after they’d finished, and then say,

“Are you fucking kidding me?”

Followed shortly by, “You need to stop sniffing your Bible and spend more time with Mr. Reality.” And other choice phrases. Maybe, if they’d really got up my nose, I’d say, “Wow. I’d expect an omniscient and omnipotent God to have smarter followers.”

The people whose freakouts led to this high-tech company having to include this letter with their fucking scanners are not, I’ll have you know, the target of the book I’m writing. If they think using a hand scanner is going to place the mark of the Beast on them, there’s no fucking way they’d talk to an atheist.

And I’ll be forever grateful for that fact.

(Tip o’ the shot glass to Alas, A Blog, by way o’ Pharyngula)

PSTP Coming Soon

Just a quick update. For those who actually read them, there will be a new Press Start To Play next week. It’ll probably be a long one, so I may not include it in its entirety, or I may offer a download of the full article. Or I’ll just throw it all up there. We’ll see. In any case, we are doing a unit on music in my writing class (why we’re doing a unit on music in my writing class is, well, sort of a problem) and I chose to do mine on the history and evolution of video game music. It is a four or five page paper, which is why I am debating on how to transcribe it here.

So stay tuned for next week’s episode of Press Start To Play!


Press Start to Play: Risk and Reward

Press Start to Play is a series of articles cross-posted between En Tequila and Modern Magic. A series about video games as an industry, an art form, and an experience.

(Please comment on the Modern Magic blog if possible)

From a gamer’s perspective, greater risk almost always leads to greater rewards.

From a developer’s perspective, however, apparently hand-holding is the way to sales, no doubt due to the softness of games these days (See “Game Over” below) but I still don’t understand some of the design choices developers make.

When a game takes away a big risk, such as penalties for dying, they also take away a big part of the rewarding gameplay. BioShock was the worst example of this, since whenever you die in BioShock, you almost immediately respawn in a nearby chamber, with all the regular enemies at the health you left them at, and you have all your gear. While, generally, you have a limited amount of health and power after doing this, there is no long-term punishment for dying. So once I realized that I could run up to a Big Daddy, beat him a few times with my wrench, get killed, and do it all over again until the rusty bastard is dead, it completely took away the fear of running into them. Seriously, when you come up against something that big your first instinct should be to piss your pants and run, but when you know there is no significant reason to, throwing caution to the wind is as simple as shooting at a Little Sister.

Image courtesy of Google Images
Image courtesy of Google Images

Now, its not just the player’s life that should be at risk. Another big mistake that developers make regarding AI partners (Killzone, pay attention here) is that friendly units should not be immortal. Why should I run in and risk my life, when I can just order my teammates to run in there and do all the shooting for me? Sure, it’s not as fun but if I’m really worried about dying, I can just step back and take a small breather while my AI buddies fall over, get back up, and enthusiastically throw themselves into the onslaught of bullets once more.

This is why I have worries about the upcoming Prince of Persia game. It’s a game where, essentially, you can’t die. IF you jump off a cliff, your AI teammate pulls you to safety, as well as healing you when you are “knocked out” (a state which is quickly overtaking the concept of dying in games) and even though the enemies also get a healing breather, it’s not enough of a setback to balance that you’re basically unbeatable.

There are certain instances in which I will concede that the lack of big-setback risks is a good thing. In some platformers, such as Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, it’s nice that if I mistake some background hanging ivy art as a climbable surface and plummet to a painful, dismembered death, I can start from very close by, usually the last ledge my feet were thankful to rest upon, without having to go through a menu screen to slow down the flow of gameplay.

However, for the most part, the more risky an action, the more reward you are likely to feel for accomplishing it. In big ways, like making you immortal, and even just partway, like regenerating health bars. If you have a set amount of health at a given time, you’re not likely to want to throw that health away, so you’ll be careful, you’ll take your time, and you’ll ration any items you have. However, when you can take a few dozen bullets to the chest, hide behind a corner and wait five seconds for your health to regenerate, there’s no reason not to jump back out of cover. Yes, it does speed up gameplay and that is about the only reason why I would agree that it’s a good feature. However, I feel much more proud of myself when I make it through a dangerous situation with a mere sliver of health, surviving only on my wit and skill, then when I know I could have taken a few more grenades and died a few times before getting to this point.

Not only does this effect gameplay, but it can alter the feel, mood, and atmosphere of a game depending on what the consequences of your actions are. The Survival Horror genre, actually, best emulates this idea, especially when you examine its effect on the gameplay and how other games are different, but I’ll discuss that further in a separate post.

Meanwhile, let’s look at racing games. Again, if I can crash headlong into a semi-truck and explode in a fiery maelstrom of destruction, I should suffer more than a few seconds off my lap time. I notice that the sooner the game will let me get back on the track and race, the more reckless I am willing to be. Games that set me back, have long respawn times, or other consequences make me more careful, less willing to take a dangerous shortcut or attempt to weave heavy traffic, if I know that I’ll have to make up a lot of time if I fail.

Oddly, this concept of succeed-or-fail gameplay used to see its best use in old Role-Playing Games. Some RPGs have segments where, if you fail, the story goes on but with a different outcome, while in other games (Threads of Fate being one example) there are certain plot points where, in fact, you must lose, as there is no way to defeat the enemy. In these cases, the act of failing, even if inevitable, comes with a consequence that actually carries through with the story, and RPGs have made the best use of this mechanic.

In any kind of mission-based game, there should always be risk, the possibility of failure, and an ongoing consequence for it. It deepens the experience, and ultimately provides even more rewards.

Games are about succeeding over trials and tribulations; and everyone knows that the harder you work for something, the sweeter victory tastes. It’s a simple concept, if only developers would pay more attention to the act of playing games.

That’s my two cents on the topic. Check back soon for more updates.

“Think Deeper