So, this is about the coolest thing I ever saw. The Forest Park-Pasadena shuttle might be my favorite touch, being from Chicago and all. That is some commute, fortunately, you don’t have to wait long for the next bus.
So, over the week, Roger Ebert died, like a day after he said that he was retiring. This left a lot of people sad, including yours truly, because Ebert had a warm heart, and he was a pretty damn fine movie reviewer, especially, of course, when paired with his best foil, Gene Siskel. When I was a kid, they had a show on PBS, and they were the most well-known critics in the land. Siskel was a little higher-brow with his taste in movies, and Ebert was more kid at the show, whatever works, works, and together, one could get a good feel for the movie, whether or not it would suit personal tastes. Thumbs up and thumbs down; I think later on, they added thumbs sideways, for indifference, but that could have been after Siskel died and Richard Roeper took his place. Tried to take his place, Roeper is okay and all, mediocre at best at it; he never was able to fill the shoes. And then cancer, and Ebert’s turn to blogging, and so on, until last week.
And he wrote a lot of books about movies and a couple screenplays, which getting back to it, Ebert was originally a critic writing in the newspaper. Besides the movies angle and the liberal blogging angle, what surprised me reading the eulogies online were the number of people who said that Roger Ebert was the person who had inspired them to write, to decide to be journalists and authors, when they were young. Which, if that isn’t the highest praise, I don’t know what is. To be an inspirational figure, to make an adolescent see something in themselves, something for the world, an idea, and an identity. It’s pretty cool, and Ebert was a pretty cool guy. He lived a life worth living that positively influenced the world around him, beyond just being good at his job.
The movie that was Roger Ebert’s life just finished. I give it a thumbs up.
Within a week of each other, the real-life woman who shot the handsome baseball player which became ‘The Natural’ and the real-life arsonist played by Donald Sutherland in ‘Backdraft’ both passed away, in or near Chicago. Which is kind of odd, isn’t it?
Apparently, the Tea Party is boycotting Fox News, for being too liberal. How deluded is that, if they’re true to their word? Conservative thought has been cocooned in an echo chamber; they’ve been sniffing each other’s farts for so long, they’ve gone full doublethink, and believe their own bullshit. But this is an unexpected twist, at least in my eyes. I guess it makes sense, with the red meat they’ve been fed for 30 years, that they need more and more, more outrage, it’s never enough. Like a drug; at first, a little gets you high, but then you need a bit more and a bit more to do the trick. And then eventually, you’re shooting up through the veins between your toes, because the other, better ones have collapsed. Which is where the tea party is at, apparently; sucking cock around in the alley, no amount of outrage can satisfy, and not even Fox News can get them off any more.
I just want to give a shout-out to my man Mr. Rogers, who would have been 85 yesterday. Like every other kid in America up until the age of whenever he was no longer on the air, I grew up with Mr. Rogers and his messages of kindness, sharing, and community. He also demonstrated the benefits of comfortable footwear, the proper attire for the right occasion, and sweet sweaters, which is great advice, as well, and he was a friend of mine. Your’s too, I’m sure, and the thing about Mr. Rogers was that his was a kindness that couldn’t be faked. There’s no way Mr. Rogers wasn’t the nicest guy on the block. And his advice is right-on. So everybody pour out a sip of your 40 for Fred Rogers, happy 85th birthday to one of our oldest friends.
So, right on time comes Thomas Friedman, ‘The Mustache of Understanding’ as he’s known in the liberal blogosphere, to back up the assertions of my last two posts. As one of the people that I specifically cited as complicit, as driving the getaway car for the Bush regime before, during, and after the Iraq War, he was kind of on the line to come through on this one. But come through he did; he didn’t disappoint, and I thank him for that. And so punctual, too! I’ll explain; but first, a little about the man himself.
Friedman wrote this book, and it’s a really good book, called ‘From Beirut to Jerusalem.’ He documents his time as embedded reporter in both cities, during the heady times of tumult in the 80′s, and explains how and why what happened happened. He does a good job at that; like I said, it’s a good book, at least the Beirut part, because I never finished the Jerusalem part, taking too long with a book lent from a friend. I learned quite a bit, who the actors are, why they’re doing what they’re doing, personally, and I’m sure a lot more people did, too, because because of this book, Friedman had a pretty good name for himself going into the 21st century. He had been there, and done that; reporting in Beirut in the 80′s was the gold standard in embedded journalism, and ‘From Beirut to Jerusalem’ separated him from the rest of the pack and put him up towards the top, in television- and NY Times- pundit land, where your opinion has some pull and the big bucks are made.
So, that’s the setup. And then the Iraq War happens, which Friedman was a head cheerleader for; he would be one of the girls at the top, with one foot cupped in the hands of those below, and the other pulled up over her head and held with one hand as she holds her arms up in a ‘V’. This shit was going to be great, said well-respected journalist and war correspondent Tom Friedman, for no other reason than, as he famously said on PBS, telling the Middle East to suck America’s dick. The Middle East needs some slapping around, and the US of A are just the guys to give it to ‘em. Besides, it’s going to take like 2 weeks anyways, remember the last time? We’ll be greeted as liberators, the oil will pay for the war, it’ll be like the end of a movie, all neat and tidy with a bow. And if well-respected journalist and war correspondent Tom Friedman says this war is going to be totally awesome, you had better believe it’s going to be!
And it was, for a little while. It was just like the first Iraq War; even easier, really, when no Republican Guard showed, to put up any resistance. Saddam got his, and his son did, too. The US’s dick was being waved for all the world, and the slapping around the Middle East deserved was being administered. But funny, none of those WMDs had turned up yet. And funny, too, there wasn’t much greeting as liberators going on. And then, funnier yet, the Iraq War started turning to shit, openly and obviously.
So Friedman came up with ploy, which has come to be known as the ‘Friedman Unit.’ If we haven’t found any WMD yet, said Friedman, just wait a little while, it’ll turn up, just you wait and see. Give it another six months or so, we’re going to find that shit in a bunker somewhere. If we aren’t being greeted as liberators, said Friedman, just give it some time, when the Iraqis see all these great things we’ve done for them, they’ll change their minds. Give it another six months or so, they’ll stop blowing our stuff up and start throwing parades. You just wait, you’ll see. Just another six months or so, and everything will come up aces.
And that bought himself and the Bush regime some time, about six months or so. And when six months or so had gone by, and still no WMD, and still no greeting as liberators, well, he just did it again. Just wait a little bit longer, said Friedman, you’ll see I’ve been right all along. And because there was no pushback, no questioning of the war allowed in the press, that was enough, we’ll just have to wait and see. It was just that easy.
That ended up buying Friedman and the Bush regime about 6 Friedman Units, or 3 years in yours and my time. Until shit was so openly bad, the stink was just seeping through everything they did to mask it, and they couldn’t hide how things, shall we say, were not going according to plan over in Iraq. Was this war winnable?, that was the new question, when the stink was no longer maskable.
In answer to the new question, Friedman gave his old reply. Just you wait and see, only a little longer, we’re gonna win this war. And then whether or not to send more troops, in what is known as the Surge, a Friedman Unit or two later. Just you wait, after the Surge, you’ll see. And so on. And so forth. The War proceeded along in Friedman Unit increments, lasting about 16 in total, until Obama pulled the troops out and left the mercenaries in, calling it a war.
So now this week is the 10-year anniversary of all that, the beginning of all that, at least. Or the 20 Friedman Unit-th anniversary, which, Wonkette already beat me to the punch on that joke. And what does The Mustache have to say about it, given so many Units to reflect? What will happen with Iraq, what is the legacy of the war? And I shit you not, Friedman says that we have to wait just a little bit longer…it may take generations…we won’t know until the 20th anniversary of the war.
Well-respected journalist and war correspondent Tom Friedman, everybody! A big round of applause! A guy that’s not ashamed to play his big hit, over and over again, night after night, ‘cuz that’s what the people paid for. Not only that, he took it to eleven and went meta with it, for the big 10-year anniversary column. I heard you like Friedman Units in your Friedman Unit, so you have to wait Friedman Units for your Friedman Units. It’s amazing in its simplicity, yet audacious in its design. It’s a fractal; Friedman Units from Friedman units, to infinity. Truly the work of a master.
So here’s to the Mustache himself, well-respected journalist and war correspondent Tom Friedman, on his brilliant work, for which, he has paid no price whatsoever. May the next 20 Units be just as wonderful as the last 20 were.
postscript: I swear that I did not know of this before, but apparently this shit really does write itself. Via Wonkette after going back and comparing what I wrote to their Friedman article, the Thomas Friedman Op-Ed Generator.
To address the inevitable question regarding my previous post, ‘How could the media be in the bag for the GOP, when the press is liberally biased?’, the answer is projection, and blaming your opponent for what you yourself are doing.
Press is in cahoots with the wealthy and the GOP? Liberal bias.
George W Bush can’t string two coherent sentences together? Obama is an eloquent speaker only because of the teleprompter.
Reagan and W Bush exploded their national budgets, and increased the national debt more than the rest of the presidents combined? The only times in the last 30 years that the budget has been balanced (Clinton), or the decreased over year to year (Obama) have been under Democrats? Democrats are the big spenders, and the GOP is the party of fiscal responsibility.
Brushing off the intel left from the departing Clinton administration, marked ‘Urgent!’ and ‘Attention Required’ about how there is an imminent threat of bin Laden going to carry out a terrorist attack in the US, with a ‘you covered your ass, now can we get back to figuring out how we’re going to gin up a war with Iraq?’? Bengazi is totally the worstest most incompetent terrorististicest thing ever!
See how that works? I could go on and on. Give me any example, and it is simply a case of: ‘you’re guilty of what I’ve been doing.’
Reagan dealt with terrorists and drug cartels, yet Clinton was the one impeached.
W Bush fucked things up so hard, so out in the open. Blew the budget, doubled the debt, instituted a huge beurocracy of spying on American citizens, pissed away any good will towards the US, instituted torture, got a whole bunch of people killed that didn’t deserve it for no good reason other than to line the pockets of himself and his cronies, made the schools get worse under No Child Left Behind, allowed the environment to get worse because everyone stopped giving a fuck apparently and we’re seeing already where that’s getting us, left the country in a huge deficit, on the brink of economic collapse, a bunch of people lost their jobs and the stock market crashed, 401K’s were cut in half, home values, too, trillions had to be spent to prop up the banks lest the entire world economy was going to come tumbling down?
Obama’s fault; because it sure wasn’t the other guy, what was his name again?
Bonus opposite example!: Obama was the one that got bin Laden? In two years, after W Bush’s 8? Clinton totally dropped the ball on getting him in the 90′s. I’m just going to pretend for a second that 9/11 didn’t happen in 2001, that we had the opportunity to get him in 03 but Bush said that ‘was not a priority’ never happened, and that 8 years never actually transpired between Clinton and Obama at all. (No. You never break kayfabe.)
This week is the 10-year anniversary of the onset of the single greatest mistake in American history, the Iraq War. It lasted a couple years longer than WWII, and besides the number of lives lost for no reason other than to line the pockets of the sitting Vice President and his cronies, _and_ the taking our dick out and waving it in the faces of the rest of the world, ally and foe, by going in against the wishes of the international community and the UN, _and_ the false and ginned-up pretenses, of course, _and_ that it took our eyes off the prize in Afghanistan, leading to that war still being an ongoing concern, _and_ that it didn’t take 2 weeks, or cost little or next-to-nothing, _and_ there was no greeting as liberators, or democracy in Iraq, or any fulfillment of the other promises and reasonings, _and_ that it only caused a power vacuum in the region, pulling in even worse elements than Saddam and removing the constant check against Iran (and that the Bush regime told Iran to eat a bag of dicks when Iran offered to be our ally in the war, tipping the power to religious extremists in the next Iranian election), making the situation in the Middle East worse, George W Bush and friends’ Iraq War is the single biggest contributor to the national debt.
When you add up the direct cost of the war, $1 trillion, for the actual military, with the indirect costs like Blackwater (Xe or whatever they changed it to), bribing locals and the billions ‘misplaced’ and still unaccounted for, and the school building and well digging infrastructure stuff, another $1 trillion, plus the cost of the VA, and the Pentagon, CIA, and other agencies that aren’t technically military, another $1 trillion, plus the cost of paying the interest on the loans, because the Bush regime thought it would be ok if we didn’t actually pay for the war as it was going on, instead we borrowed the money from the Chinese, and lowered taxes, so we could borrow even more, another $3 trillion.
That’s $6 trillion. And the debt is $15 or 16 trillion. 6 divided by 16 is 0.375, so 37.5% of the national debt is an effect of the Iraq War.
And all the talk in the political press is about the debt, the debt, the debt.
But not where it comes from. Hey, look over there!
And they don’t really want to talk about what happened ten years ago, either, because so many people who still call themselves ‘journalists’ today cheerled the whole thing. If that wasn’t full-on Minitru stuff, what is? The way the coverage was so one-sided. There wasn’t anyone on the television who peeped a word against, and if they did, they were fired.
That it all proved out false, 100 percent false, everything was wrong, and a lot of mistakes were made, is one thing; but it’s another thing when nobody has paid any sort of price. The same politicians are out there as if they have any sort of credibility on anything, and the same press reports this for the public.
And nobody says, ‘Hey! Aren’t you the same guys that were so totally wrong about everything only recently? Why should I listen to what you have to say?’
(I mean, nobody with any sway. Paul Krugman is out there saying it, and Charles Pierce and Taibbi. But for every one of those guys, there are fifty, or a hundred pundits in opposition, like, Krugman is on Meet the Press every once in a while, but David Brooks or Tom Friedman or George Will or Peggy Noonan are on every week.)
Because they’re complicit in the crime; they drove the getaway car while the GOP robbed the bank. They penned glowing paeons to Bush’s manliness and what a fuckin’ great time this Iraq thing is going to be, and now they are up there, with a straight face!, telling us that the debt is really, really a big problem, and really, who could have predicted that the debt could go up ten trillion dollars over ten, twelve years anyway, amirite? So now we have to cut social security (which doesn’t even contribute to the debt until 30 years from now) and medicare (hey, not only will you get to enjoy medicare beginning at the tender of of 75 (they must expect life expentencies to be going up, which is a good thing, right?), you’ll get a valuable coupon for your next doctor’s visit!).
And nobody can say, hey look, the Republicans were hugely, openly, very recently wrong. About everything. Maybe they don’t know what they’re talking about. Because the press went right along with it. They’d be admitting their own guilt. They’d be admitting that they themselves shouldn’t be given a serious listen, because they were either a) incompetent or b) lying, and both disqualify you for future worthiness as an expert on anything.
So the GOP doubles down on the bullshit, and the press doubles down on obfuscating it. And hey, look over there!, the debt. The debt, the debt, the debt. But where did it come from?, it just appeared there one day, around the day that that black guy got sworn in.
And that’s the legacy of the Iraq War, the single greatest mistake in the history of the United States. Happy ten year anniversary, everybody!
That Blackhawks Rundown That I Know Your Lives Were Left Empty Without After It Got Eaten The Other Day, Give Or Take A Few Days For Me To Forget What It Was Exactly That I Wrote
Hawks laid the beatdown on the Stars last night. When was the last time they scored 8 goals, I wonder? It was a total team win; the Hawks were faster, quicker to the puck, and had possession of the puck for, like Konroyd said, 80 percent of the game. Saad, wow, he had a strong game, he’s very impressive for a rookie; really has a nose for the puck, goes hard to the net, and plays d. Toews’ first goal was a pretty deflection, and the second was classic Toews, dig it out and poke it in. Hoss was being Hoss, taking the puck away from everybody, his 2 goals were like, sure, why not? whipped cream on the sundae.
And that’s just the top line. Kaner had the cherry on top with the highlight reel spin-o-rama, putting it right in the right spot with the backhand flip over the nearside shoulder, without looking, so just before the goalie thought he was going to do it, he did it, and it was done and over with. Overall, he had a good puck-controlling game, floating through the offensive zone; you can overlook his 2 or 3 stupid turnovers when the rest of his game is as good as last night, but that’s Kane and that’s what he’s going to do, so you take the good with the bad. He’s never been more confident with the puck, he’s playing with a lot of patience, even if he still gets too cute at times, which, also, he’s doing less of this year, being too cute with his passes, and just burying that shit, instead. So, more goals and less assists, and he’s never played better or impacted as many games.
The D corps had three goals, which tells you about the one-sidedness of the game, but hopefully portends more production in the future. Like on the power play, still their biggest weakness, though improved over last year. And more goals from slap shots from the top, in general, is going to make their game better, obviously, because it increases their threat level if they can score from anywhere. Leddy’s game is improving, he’s so smooth with the puck; if he becomes the offensive-defenseman Campbell-replacement he’s looking more and more like, sooner rather than later, watch out. Roszival, I got a hard on for this guy. As Leddy’s D partner, he’s steady eddie so Leddy can work his tricks up the ice; but on top of that, he handles the puck like the seasoned veteran he is, never panics, and can really make some sweet up-ice passes. He plays like the steady veteran defenseman that surprises you at times Sopel-replacement the Hawks have lacked the last few years; and, hockey fans should know, the sixth defenseman is important, because if he’s bad, it tends to show up on the score sheet. I had a hard on for Sopel, too, if that matters.
Hjalmarsson and Oduya have been the Hawks’ best D pair so far this season, it was nice to see Oduya get a goal as a reward last night for those guys. Hjalmarsson blocked another shot as you read that last sentence. Keith and Seabrook are Keith and Seabrook, they haven’t been the Hawks best pair so far, but that isn’t because their play has dropped any, it’s because the Swedes upped theirs. And they finally don’t have to play 30 minutes a game each, and always on the crucial PK and power plays, because they can be confident with their other 2 pairs; so less minutes for them and less production is a good thing.
Crawford had a good game, which, it’s kinda hard to remember back to when the score was tied 0-0 while basking in the postgame glow of a 7-goal curbstomp, he made a few good saves early, before the ice tilted so heavily down into the Stars’ zone. He didn’t need to have a great game, I think the Stars only had 6 shots through 2 periods, but he didn’t let in any soft goals either, something he obviously worked hard to change before this season, so that all went exactly according to plan.
Finally, as this becomes more and more the replacement for the post that got eaten the other day, quick thoughts on personnel, who to dress and whatnot. So, the Hawks have a good problem, in that they sorta have too many guys that are capable of handling it, but not enough spots on the roster each night. (20 guys dress for each game, which usually breaks down as 2 goalies, 6 defensemen, and 12 forwards (four centermen and eight wingers)). So, every game, there is a guy or two or three that didn’t dress, but could have, and had he played, played capably. Plus, right now, Sharp is hurt, so when he comes back in a few weeks, there’s another roster spot taken, and another guy squeezed out. My opinion, and this is over the last couple of roster spots, since it’s mostly determined, but I’m going to write out all the names to keep it straight in my head:
top line: Toews, Hossa, Saad; Saad is playing so well, not only in the role this line needs but the total package, he’s got to stay there, and moving Hoss with Toews rather than Kaner (in years past, Kane played on top line and Hossa on second) has improved everybody’s game, and is a better fit in that Toews’ and Hoss’s games work better together (and Saad’s fits in with as well), with the puck possession, and the taking it away from the other team, and the constantly pressuring the other teams’ zone, while it gives Kane more space to pull his magic tricks, rather than trying to find Hossa and force a pass because you gotta get it to the big guy, he’s Marion Hossa, a two-for-one win-win deal. The game comes to this top line because they bring it to the game, and they don’t have to force it, meanwhile Kane’s game grows, like putting a fish in a bigger fishtank.
second: Bolland, Kane, Sharp when he comes back; Bolland does something every game to earn his status as ‘guy who when he’s on your team, you love him, and when he’s on the other team, you fucking hate that guy’, so, of course, he’s great. If he could only improve his percentage at the dot (Kruger, too, but Kruger seems to have a knack for winning defensive zone faceoffs, and faceoffs at important junctures on the PK, so that’s probably why his line is the defensive specialists line this year, and not Bolland’s like in years past, though the Rat is really good on the PK. Remember that shorthanded goal against the Canucks the year they won the Cup? Duude.). Sharp, before he got hurt, was having a wonky season. He must have hit the post ten times the first few weeks of the season, so he was playing fine, but it wasn’t showing up on the score sheet. He’s always been streaky, but his streaks in the past have been ten games in a row where he scores, not ten games in a row when he hits the post. So, he wasn’t off. But he was a bit off. You know? Fortunately, other guys have been able to step up and fill in on the scoring, before and after he got hurt. Hopefully he comes back healthy, and the time off sets him back to ten games in a row where he scores mode.
third, and this line is clicking so hard with the secret gritty ingredient Andrew Shaw, who, playing with him, Stalberg and Bickell have upped their games like they ate the manna of the gods, they are a goddamn menace in the other team’s zone, especially behind the net: Shaw, Bickell, Stalberg; Stalberg has been playing awesome, his speed makes him dangerous, and he’s contributed way more than what he shows in points. Bickell is realizing his potential, and together this third line being such an offensive threat is what has put the Hawks over the top and separated them from everybody in the rest of the pack except the Ducks. Shaw, he’s affectionately known as the Scrapper in this household, he plays hard and bigger than he is, and he’s the glue, or the grit, or the magical incantation power word Abracadabra! that created a monster.
fourth line, also playing really well in their role as defensive pains in the ass: Kruger, Frolik, and the interchanging of Mayers, Bollig, and Carcillo game-by-game, depending on who they are playing and what they need in that game; Kruger looks really good this year, he’s taken it to the next level. Frolik in years past was the guy that played good and played hard and had a bunch of shots but none of them ever seemed to go in. So this year, he’s the guy that plays good and he plays hard, and he has a bunch of shots but none of them ever seem to go in, but he’s on the defense line, so all that is just groovy, because the other team didn’t score, either.
(the only thing I’ll say here, is that I obviously like Roszival in the 6th spot, but over the course of the season, I’m cool with giving him a break here and there and getting Brookbank his reps, that’s been working out so far)
(and the only thing I’ll say _here_ is that you got to go with Crawford, even as well as Emery has played. Emery is still the backup, if it turns out that he’s going to go for the playoffs, he goes then, but until then, and the only way you find that out, is Crawford plays most games. If Crawford can play like he has been playing and like he did a couple years ago in the playoffs, or just a shade under, he’ll be just fine for the Cup run. And he looks very solid, thus far, I think he still leads the league in goals against, which is obviously doing a good job.)
So that leaves 2 open spots, barring injury of course, one of which is Sharp’s when he comes back, barring any crazy shit with that. The pool of players who can take the last spot(s), which is basically the ‘tough guy spot’, with the Hawks: Carcillo, Bollig, Hayes, and Mayers. Who is the last guy to dress, in my musings to no one on the internet? Bollig, with a caveat; but first, why not the other guys. Mayers, he’s been the utmost team player, but I’m going with a younger guy. Hayes, he’s the right call-up with Sharp out, but I don’t think he’s there yet (which makes him the right call-up, to get him more reps), if he can play tougher with his big boy frame, which is what he is doing in Rockford, in the big boy league while he’s up, I will have to reconsider. And then Carcillo, in my musings on the internet to no one, the last man cut. I like Carcillo, I do, not everyone does, and they have good reason not to. He plays like a methhead, and it’s when he crosses over the line he constantly straddles of ‘fucking just enough shit up/fucking up too much shit’, that his play becomes a liability, and is ultimately why he’s my last guy cut, and I give the ‘tough guy’ job to Bollig. Because he too straddles that line, but as he’s getting more and more play, he’s making less stupid plays that put the Hawks on the PK and more good hockey plays, contributing more than just big checks and knuckle sandwiches. Carcillo, I think, has played great at times, before he got hurt this year and last, he was mostly ‘fucking up the right amount of shit’ up on the top line, but now Saad has that spot. So, it’s him or Bollig, and I give the nod to Bollig, with the caveat, he keeps getting better and better as he has been; and like I said, it’s a good problem to have, you can never have too much depth, and thus finisheth the Blackhawks musings for the day.
edit: oh yeah, The Streak is what I forgot to talk about, hilariously enough, as that was the only thing that was being talked about before. It’s good that it’s over, it was becoming a distraction, and when it got to the point of ‘what do you think about what Lebron James said about your streak’, I think it can safely be said it became that becoming, past tense rather than future tense. It was a thing in and of itself, rather than just an indication of consistent, sustained strong play that happened to have a couple lucky bounces and a couple games where Emery pulled a rabbit out of his hat that filled in the gaps where a loss here and there would have been. And it had no real significance in and of itself, because keeping the streak together doesn’t mean shit, winning the Stanley Cup is the only thing worth a shit. So all The Streak ™ does is indicate what I just said it indicated above, and potentially give the Hawks a better position for the playoffs. A means towards the ultimate ends; a good thing to have happen along the way, on the journey to Mount Stanley.
The good thing is, the Hawks knew that/know that/have been stating on the record that/and have been playing like they believe that all along. To play ‘em one game at a time, each game is a separate event, and you play to win each one, and then add it up later. Every sports cliche, just like Crash telling Nuke to write it down on the bus, but showing exactly why they are cliches in the first place, because they work. Their collective mindset is in the right place; they’re playing like they ain’t done shit yet, because they ain’t.
Furthermore, and finally, forsooth and forthwith, that the streak happened at the beginning of a shortened season, the focus on starting strong can really pay off for the Hawks if they can finish strong, and finishing strong is what they’ve been doing within games, which is how they put The Streak ™ together in the first place. Putting yourself in good position for later by playing good now, and the Hawks jumped on it from the beginning (beating the defending Cup champions convincingly on national tv the first game of the season right after they hung up their banner was a pretty good start). They went exactly half of the season without losing in regulation, which is ridiculously good, it doesn’t matter that it’s a half-season. They’ve really put themselves in good position with The Streak ™, it was a good thing even though it’s a good thing that it’s over. The Streak ™ is dead; long live The Streak! ™
So, everyone knows that Buzzfeed is this ridiculous site where they have lists of gifs of ‘the cutest puppies in America’, and ‘reasons why Beyonce is the super-coolest’ and whatever random bullshit their writers can come up with as clickbait. I, for one, cannot get enough; I visit the site at least once a day, and click through all the stupid lists, which only leads to more stupid lists, all in the name of, hopefully, good fun, if not, wasting half an hour or so.
What I didn’t know, is that supposedly Buzzfeed is a political site, with a former Politico guy at the top (Ben Smith? Ben Something). I learned that this week, and clicked through the politics section, seeing that, yeah, I can see this is like Politico Lite. Which, not to get too into it, isn’t a compliment. But I did find something interesting.
Apparently, America has a ‘sadness belt’, like its ‘bible best’, ‘sunshine belt’, or ‘rust belt’. Lots of belts, lots of belts. Anyway, the sadness belt is comprised of the 10 least happy states, which, sort of surprisingly cohere and form a ‘belt’ that runs up through the middle of the country, from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama in the south up to Indiana and Ohio up north. Are all those right-to-work states? I wonder. Let’s see, no, Ohio, W. Virginia, and Kentucky are not, according to the internet. Still, all but Ohio are solidly republican on the state and federal levels.
More interesting tidbits; five of the next ten ‘least happy states’ are in the southeast, plus Missouri, and Alaska. Those are republican states. In the north, the only two states in the two bottom quintiles are Michigan and New Jersey (both run at the state level by republicans). Rounding out the bottom 20 least happy, Nevada is run by republicans, too. So, make of all that what you will.
What I make of it: 9 out of the ‘top ten’, and 18 of the ‘top twenty’ least-happy states are run, at least on the state level, by republicans, and most are republican on the federal level, too. And the solid concentration of states that are ‘the bible belt’ and ‘the South’ all fall in the bottom two quintiles. Every one. For freedom.
Everyone Should Buy a Gun, otherwise It’s on You When You Get Shot with a Gun; An Exercise In Sullivan-esque Bloggery
The Rude Pundit nailed it the other day, with his post on Zerlina Maxwell, and the ugliness surrounding her, after she dared go on television and say that it’s not on her as a woman have to buy a gun, unless she wants to get raped. Rather than arming every woman in America, which is the NRA’s position, and what could go wrong there, she suggested that we educate young people, men and women, that rape is never ok or justified. The gun fetishists’ response was, of course, rape threats, so we can safely say, in their minds, sometimes rape is ok or justified, if she deserves it, and Maxwell deserves it. Plus, if a woman gets raped and she doesn’t have a gun, it was kinda sorta her own fault.
They’ve certainly upped the standards of blaming the victim; this is some end-of-level boss shit here.
Today Checkpoint Charley learned not to use the ‘quick post’ function. I had a good, long post on the Blackhawks, and the streak, and how great it was, and how I’m glad that it’s over. It was pretty good, I thought. But it’s gone now. Just a memory. Not going to blame WordPress, it wasn’t exactly a ‘quick post’, after all, so if it was something that I valued enough, I should have clicked the one extra button, or I can take it like a man if something screws up. So, maybe what Checkpoint Charley learned today could be better described as only using the ‘quick post’ function for quick posts, and not posts that I spent an hour on, and have to take like a man their loss when something messes up.
Breaking Shit as Feature, Not Bug; or, How I Am So Very Tired of Republican Bullshit, and That’s Also Feature, Not Bug with an Extra Bonus Dystopian Cherry on Top
So, like every single minute of every single day, Republicans are out there breaking shit, or trying to break shit. You got an abortion restriction amendment here, and a voter restriction amendment there, all unconstitutional, and all from the party of quote unquote limited government. That’s on the state level, where they’re also giving the farm away to corporations, in tax cuts and subsidies, all in the name of jerb creation. Right to work, don’t forget that, to drive wages down, keep the proles hungry, so that they’ll shiv each other in the back for that last, shitty job. Walmart, basically, when it reaches its higher form.
And again, that’s just on the state level. Jeez, look at Wisconsin just up north, boy they’re getting their money’s worth. On the federal level, nothing is able to get accomplished, and there is a pseudo financial crisis every few months, to keep the economy from picking up any steam. They’ve passed 700 abortion bills in the House, because every single one created 10,000 jobs, and everything the President and Senate propose is immediately off-the-table, outrageous, ‘socialist, Alinsky, Chicago-politics’, stuff like ‘paying the bills that you’ve already accrued’, having the top end of earners, who own like 90% of everything in this country already, pay a bit more, so that we can, you know, ‘keep schools open’, ‘have firemen and police officers’, ‘fix roads and bridges, maybe even build rail, like every other country in the world, because, maybe you’ve heard, gas isn’t as cheap as it used to be’, ‘keep healthcare costs down’ by ‘ensuring that everyone has healthcare, so they don’t have to use the emergency room, which costs about a bazillion dollars’ (I want to ask these people, who do you think paid for the cost of a poor person not paying their bill for the huge cost of going to the emergency room before? The insurance companies? Pff.) etcetera, and so on.
Because I could go on and on. And it gets so tiring. And that’s just what they want, for the average person to tire of it, and tune it out with a pox on both their houses. So, I don’t tune it out, because, I guess, people got to do it, otherwise we’re fucked even faster. We’re all fucked, either way, because it’s a slow erosion; just look at this country over the last 30 years. Republicans took it, fucked it up, somehow, even though I know the media is the propaganda arm of the wealthy I still can’t believe this, somehow, nobody ties the two together. Ronald Reagan and friends established trickle-down economics, the money started being funneled to the wealthy, it never left their hands, the middle class is getting squeezed like never before, and somehow, nobody in the news goes, ‘hey, we got this chart, data turned into information, if you will, take a look. You see here, where these two lines representing the top 1, and top 20 percentiles, see where they spike up? That’s 1981, or 1980 (whatever exactly, look it up yourself ), where the policy, even the Vice-president at the time called ‘Voodoo economics’ was enacted. And look here, at that same point, where the other two lines skew higher, and higher, these other lines here, representing the other four percentiles, over the next thirty years they flatline, actually, they go down a slight bit. That’s ‘everyone else, aka the middle and lower classes.’ So, you know, make of it what you will.’
Nobody’s got their hands on this chart? Nobody can put 2 and 2 together? Of course not, because the media is the propaganda arm of the wealthy, and informing the audience is not the goal, it’s actually the very opposite of the goal, which is ‘keeping the status quo by dis- and mis-informing, make the audience not only unaware of the facts but actually stupider, through obfuscation and shiny objects’. I don’t know if that’s the actual quote in their seminar binders, but something like that.
So, nobody can put 2 and 2 together and make four. I’m a big fan of Orwell, and as everyone knows, Doublethink is ‘the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.’ And so, 2 plus 2 is already five, in the year of our lord (give or take a few years ) 2013.