Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How Not to Share Your Religion

Found at

Geez, where to begin with this guy?

Okay, first of all, you're not "witnessing." What you're doing is forcing some poor Taco Bell employee to shout out something uncomfortable while you smirk.
And what is it you think you're going to accomplish here? Do you envision the Taco Bell lady shouting "order of cinnamon craps for Jesus Christ is Lord" and someone looking up from his "taco" and saying "he is? He 's Lord? Well, get me to the church on time, for from this day forth I. Am. A. Christian! I know not what choices others may make, but as for me and my hose, we shall serve the Lord!"

Also, this isn't so much "witnessing" as it is blaspheming. If I were working at Taco Bell and someone asked me to address him as "Jesus Christ is Lord" and especially if the condescending prick talked to me like a parent encouraging a toddler "be sure to say it all loud so I can hear you all the way in back" I have to think my response would be something like "no, I will not say that, it would be incredibly disrespectful. I am not going to shout out 'I have an order of cinnaturds for Jesus Christ. I will also not call you "Allah," "Buddha," "Krishna," or "Lord Xenu." Well, no I take that back, I will refer to you as "Lord Xenu," in fact every time you come in here, I will shout out "nice to see you again, Lord Xenu!"

And also, too, if you're going to try to convert people to your religion, it's probably best not to act like a smug, smirking, self-impressed asshole. Just sayin'

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014: The Year in Television

If you know me at all, and you certainly do not, you know I'm a big fan of mankind's greatest invention: television.

No, the other television. 
There you go!

So without further ado, the Daily Irritant is proud to present The Year in Television!

Newcomer of the Year, Comedy:

Broad City

Ilana and Abby get funnier every week. And Hannibal Burress just keeps killing it.

Runner up: Review with Forrest MacNeil starring Andy Daly who should really have been a star for some time now.

Best Newcomer, Drama:


For some reason, this show doesn't seem to be making anyone elses's top-10 lists, but I really love this show.
Mainly because of this guy:

Ashraf Barhom is just amazing as Jamal, the man who wishes he could be a good person but just can't somehow, which is also a really fascinating character. He makes this show which is good, but not great, mainly because of the producers' decision to focus so much on his brother Bassam/Barry who is much less interesting character. I assume they see him as the Walter White of the show, the guy who starts out with good intentions and becomes corrupted, but Jamal is reaaly where the show's focus needs to be.

Performance of the Year Female: 
Tatiana Masley, Orphan Black

She plays five totally distinct major characters as well as  the occasional supporting character, at least one of whom is male. She completely disappears  into each character, I have no idea which character she would even resemble in real life. And a lot of scenes involve two or more of her characters talking to each other. Just amazing.

Performance of the Year, Male:
Ashraf Barhom, Tyrant

See above.

Biggest Disappointment:
How to get Away With Murder

I love Scandal.
Love it, love it, love it love it!
So when I heard that Shonda Rhimes had a new show coming out, and it was called "how to get away with murder," I could not wait!

Then I watched it.
Sighhhhh. . .

It's just bad. Just really badly written, badly drawn characters, bad trying-too-hard direction, just bad. A quick IMDb search reveals that Shonda Rhimes did none of the writing on this show. That explains a lot. Because it's just bad.

Best British Series
Call the Midwife
No, it's not Downton Abbey this year. It's Call the Midwife. This is a show that by all rights should be insufferably saccharine and corny as hell, but somehow is just the opposite. The tale of young nurses and older nuns providing midwifery services to the residents of an impoverished London neighborhood in the 1950s manages to pull off the impossible. It's a drama with no villain. And it works. Somehow a show whose every character you're likely to fall in love with manages to create tension and suspense. My wife says that poverty and illness are the villains and, as usual, she's right on. Anyway, if you haven't seen this show, you're really missing out.

Most Infuriating Development:
Super Fun Night gets cancelled after one season.

Rebel Wilson was one of the best surprises in years, a fresh face with a new style who is consistently funny but also able to bring the heart when needed.

Her two sidekicks were also really good. Screw you, ABC! No wonder no one watches network TV anymore!

Best Reason to sign up for Netflix:
Happy Valley

Happy Valley (2014) Poster

Great British cop show not available on any channel. Sarah Lancashire is one bad-ass cop. There are only 6 episodes in this mini-series so you can binge watch the entire thing in one rainy afternoon.

Other Shows We've Enjoyed This Year:
The Americans




Mainly due to the performances of Billy Bob Thornton and Allison Tolman. Oh, and Colin Hanks. And Martin Freeman. And pretty much the entire cast, although how Keith Carradine keeps getting acting jobs is beyond me.

The Good Wife

Which somehow managed to get even better after killing off love interest/boss Will Gardner which I thought was going to ruin the show. Adding Michael J. Fox certainly helped.

The Returned (Les Revenants)

The Returned (2012) Poster

Technically, this French import is a 2012 show, but we stumbled onto it on Netflix this year and were hooked from episode 1. They're smart enough to keep the mystery going throughout the entire run without (spoiler alert) ever explaining exactly what the hell is going on. That may make the ending a bit unsatisfactory for some, but any explanation they could have come up with would probably have felt even less satisfying, so I think it was a smart move.

Downton Abbey

And I'm sure I'm forgetting a few. If I remember anything else, I'll do a part two tomorrow. But for now I've got to go. I've been away from the TV for too long.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Weirdest Headline I Have Ever Seen


Wife of freed Cuba agent pregnant, thanks to US

But no, the story is even weirder.

Officials have confirmed that a US senator helped a Cuban spy imprisoned in California to impregnate his wife

What? Why is a US Senator helping a Cuban spy with anything? And why is a US Senator helping anyone impregnate anyone? And how is a Us Senator. . . you know what, never mind. I'm pretty sure I don't want to know.

The highly improbable arrangements allowed for Adriana Perez Hernandez to be artificially inseminated months before husband Gerardo Hernandez returned to Cuba to a hero's welcome last Wednesday.
The parents-to-be owe much of their good fortune to Senator Patrick Leahy, who has made several trips to the communist-ruled island over the years.

Apparently, at least one trip with a vial of Cuban spy baby-making stuff! 

Hernandez was arrested in the United States in 1998 and convicted in 2001 on charges of espionage and conspiracy to murder. He and five other Cubans were sentenced to two life sentences plus 15 years.

But hey, that's no reason a United States Senator shouldn't be jerking you off into a test tube so you can reproduce!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Exploiting Tragedy

On Saturday, two New York police officers were murdered by a scumbag who had just murdered his girlfriend. This is terrible. No one disputes that it is terrible when people are murdered, at least no one at the Chaos Compound. But certain people, certain despicable people, have decided to use this tragic killing as a platform from which to try and score cheap political points.

Take for instance, bow-tied shitweasel Tucker Carlson:

"The murders took place out of the blue in the context of a lot of political agitation," Carlson explained on Sunday. "You don't want to start speculated about why this happened or casting blame unfairly. Again, we know who pulled the trigger, he is ultimately responsible."

Okay, good. Stop. Stop right there, you got it. No need to say any more things.
Aaaaand, you're gonna say more things, aren't you?

"But it's such an emotional thing, it's so wrong, immoral, unfair, that it's almost hard not to point at some of the people who have been whipping race hatred in this country for the past couple of months, and saying they do bear some responsibility for this."
 Right. Just like how you all blamed Bill O'Reilly for the murder of Dr. Tiller, against whom he repeatedly whipped up hatred. . . oh, wait. No. No, that's right, that gunman bore sole responsibility for that murder. Right.

"For [President Obama] to embrace Sharpton," Carlson opined, "Who is just an open bigot and a criminal and a tax cheat, who's been whipping up race hatred in New York for all these decades. For the president of the United States to embrace this guy as a personal friend, an adviser, to show up at the NAN meetings, to have him in the White House again, and again, and again, and again, to endorse his message -- boy, no wonder you've got craziness going on in the streets." 

Yes. Yes that must be it. I'm sure no one was planning on protesting the frequent murders of unarmed black people by police officers, then someone said "hey, looks like Al Sharpton's visiting the White House. To the streets!" Obviously the protestors take their cues from the White House's choice of domestic policy advisers. Of course.

Then there was shameless, soulless opportunist Rudi Giulianni:

“We’ve had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police,” Giuliani said during an appearance on Fox News early Sunday.

 Really? Well, as we like to say here at the Daily Irritant, name one.
Go ahead. Name one instance of President Obama saying anything remotely like "everyone should hate the police." Go ahead. I'll wait. . .


“The protests are being embraced, the protests are being encouraged. The protests, even the ones that don’t lead to violence, a lot of them lead to violence, all of them lead to a conclusion: The police are bad, the police are racist. That is completely wrong.”

 Wait. "even the ones that don’t lead to violence, a lot of them lead to violence?" Do you really not prerpare yourself at all for going on television? I mean, I know it's FOX, but still.

So, you're saying that the president and others who have "embraced" and "encouraged" the protests have some culpability if those protests lead to violence? I mean, setting aside for a moment that the man who killed these three people was not one of the protesters, wasn't even a New Yorker, setting that aside for a moment, I'm curious what your take was on the last prominent cop-killing?

NBC News
A Las Vegas couple who shot to death two police officers, a civilian and themselves delivered an ominous message before they left home with a shopping cart of weapons to carry out the anti-government ambush, a neighbor said.  
Authorities said they believe the Millers were acting alone but they espoused an "anti-government, anti-police" ideology with militia and white supremacist overtones. 
 Investigators were looking into possible links between the couple and some of the groups that converged on rancher Cliven Bundy's property during his armed standoff with federal rangers over land rights.

 So I assume you equally condemned the people who promoted the anti-government, pro-Cliven Bundy mindset that led to this violence?

 Fielder said she had heard Jerad Miller make anti-government statements in the past — including a desire to overthrow the government and President Obama and kill police officers

Surely you denounced in the strongest possible terms those who embraced that kind of hatred for government in general and Barack Obama in particular, right?

 They covered one with a swastika and the Revolutionary War-era Gadsden flag, which depicts a coiled snake and the words “Don’t Tread On Me.” On the other officer was a note that said, "The revolution is beginning." 

And I'm sure you heaped blame on any public personality who spoke encouragingly to crowds waving those Gadsden flags and calling for revolution, right?

Disingenuous piece of shit.

And somehow Bernard Kerik keeps being given a platform to spew shit like this:

"This guy's intent — based on that Instagram post — was retribution for Eric Garner and Michael Brown," he told Newsmax. "The people who encouraged these protests — you had peaceful protesters who were screaming 'kill the cops' — the so-called peaceful protesters.
"Who was encouraging these protesters? De Blasio, Sharpton and other elected officials and community leaders. They encouraged this mentality. They encouraged this behavior.

"They encouraged it — and these two cops are dead because of people like them," Kerik said. "They don't owe the cops an apology.

"An apology isn't good enough. They have blood on their hands."

And how did Maqyor De Blasio "encourage" this mentality? Who knows? And no one is going to ask. As long as these assclowns stick with FOX and Newsmax and these other half-baked right-wing jokes of journalistic outlets, they can make up whatever kind of crap they want, because no one reading or hearing them is going to do any research to find out what it is  that Mayor De Blasio or President Obama or Rev. Sharpton may or may not have said. they'll just hear these little sewer rats say that they encouraged the killing of cops and think "yeah, I could see De Blasio giving a speech telling people to kill cops." "Yeah, makes perfect sense to me that Barack Obama was probably reciting 'Fuck Tha Police' at his latest press conference. I could never tell the difference between him and Eazy-E anyway."

Later, Kerik called for peaceful citizen demonstrations over the deaths of the officers.
"What I want to see is a day of outrage," he told Jeanine Pirro on her Fox News program. "I want to see protests for the two cops that are lying dead tonight.

Of course he said that. And he wasn't the only one trotting out this bullshit trope.

Bill Kristol put down his shit sandwich long enough to say this:

"Well, it's terrible what happened," Kristol remarked. "And I hope liberals show as much concern about Officer Ramos and Officer Liu as they did as they did about Mr. Garner and Mr. Martin. We'll see."
They always do this. Whenever there are protests over the murder of a Trayvon Martin or a Mike Brown or an Eric Gardner, or one of the many otheres, they always trot out this whole "hey, there was a white guy killed by a black guy, why don't thery protest about that?"
As if they didn't know that the reason no one needs to protest about the dead white guy is because the perpetrator will no doubt be arrested, charged, tried and convicted. If the scumbag nut who killed these two cops hadn't killed himself, there is no question but that he would have been arrested ( or been killed while "resisting arrest") charged, tried, convicted and executed.
People protest because unarmed black people keep getting killed and the killers are never brought to justice.  They never face any consequences. They don't even lose their jobs as police.

They know this. They know damn well, but they don't care. They just want to use the tragic deaths of their fellow human beings to score cheap political points. And it's disgusting.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Conservative thinking in a nutshell

The Clay Hunt Suicide prevention for American Veterans Act seems like the sort of thing that no one could oppose. A plan to try and help veterans, people we sent into harm's way for little discernible purpose, cope with the trauma that was inflicted on them in our name so that maybe they won't be committing suicide at a rate of TWENTY-TWO PER DAY should be one of those things that passes easily. Unfortunately, this is America 2014, and all it takes is one fuckwad senator to put a hold on a bill and that bill goes nowhere. And apparently, the only senator fuckwadded enough to actually put a hold on a suicide prevention bill for the goddamm troops is Tom "Dr. No" Coburn. Because he thinks it costs too much.

No, really. He thinks that preventing the suicides of troops with PTSD is something that maybe we ought to pinch pennies on. You know, shop around. Try to get a bargain.

But it needn't be pricy!

Now you might think that was the epitome of conservative thought right there, and it probably is, but take a look at this video from Clay Hunt's parents, pleading with Tom Coburn to please allow this bill to come to a vote. (skip ahead to about 1:30)

This is conservative thinking in a nutshell.

If you don't want to bother watching the video, let me summarize. Mr. Selke begins by telling Senator Coburn that he is a conservative Republican from Texas and thanks him - twice- for his "vigilance" on the budget. He agrees with the Senator that there is just too much darn government spending, and adds "but this is an exception."

That's conservative politics in a nutshell. The budget must always be cut, spending must always be reduced. . . until it's something I need, then that's an exception! Granted, this is a very important bill, one that needs to be passed, and there is a special place in Hell for Coburn if he doesn't relent on this. I don't dispute that at all. But when they want to cut, say food stamps, I'm guessing there's nary a peep out of the Selkes. (Certainly not from the wife, who seems to be a mute) Just last week, 10 new senators promised to eliminate food stamps entirely.  (link) No conservatives are going on tv saying "this is an exception."  Because it doesn't affect them personally.

Mr. Selke rightly states that each of these troubled veterans is a "valuable, precious child of God," but so are the kids who will go hungry if SNAP is eliminated. But those are other peoples' kids, so that's not an exception. Cut away!

I'm pretty sure that the people whose homes were destroyed by hurricanes were also precious children of God, but how many conservatives came out publicly to ask for an exception to be made when Tom Coburn wanted to withhold disaster relief from them.

Conservative thought in a nutshell: government spending for me - good. Government spending for anyone else - wasteful pork!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Jeez, can we please get rid of this guy?

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said in an interview Friday that torture isn't

Scalia on torture morality: 'I don't think it's so clear at all'
 By Eric Bradner, CNN updated 4:53 PM EST, Fri December 12, 20

Yes. It is. It's really one of those super-easy ones. You know how a lot of things aren't really black and white? But this one totally is. It's like debating about the morality of child-molesting, or serial-killing.

"I think it is very facile for people to say 'Oh, torture is terrible,'" he said.

Um, I know you mean that sarcastically, but it really is facile. As in easy. Because condemning torture really doesn't take a lot of philosophical pondering. It's like asking what color is an orange? It's obvious.

"I think it is very facile for people to say 'Oh, torture is terrible,'" he said. "You posit the situation where a person that you know for sure knows the location of a nuclear bomb that has been planted in Los Angeles and will kill millions of people.
"You think it's an easy question? You think it's clear that you cannot use extreme measures to get that information out of that person?"

Okay, fine. If you ever find yourself trapped in an episode of 24, then sure. If you actually find yourself in this situation in which no one has ever been or ever will be, then sure go ahead. But since all the torture that was committed in our names, the torture about which we are talking, occurred in the real non-television world, I hardly think your nightmare scenario is all that relevant. It's just a thing people make up when they can't think of any other way to justify committing crimes against humanity.

Scalia also discussed the death penalty, saying he thinks it's "too bad" that a campaign in Switzerland to re-institute capital punishment has been thwarted by the the country's membership in the Council of Europe, which has made the issue a requirement for all participating countries.
Of course. Of course he wants to kill people. Hey, maybe we could execute prisoners after torturing confessions out of them! Just like Jesus would want. Pro Life!

"What are human rights is not written up in the sky, and if it were written up in the sky, it would not be up to judges, lawyers, just because they've gone to law school, to know what human rights ought to be and therefore are," Scalia said.

Okay, no it's not "written in the sky," but we have all come to an agreement on what they are. There is a "Universal Declaration of Human Rights." We are a signatory to it. There's no debate on this.

"And therefore each society's perception of what it believes human rights should be ought to be up to that society"

No, that's Civil Rights. Every country has different civil rights. Some places have freedom of speech, others don't.  In some countries, the accused is entitled to a lawyer, not in others. these are civil rights. Human rights are universal. That's why they are called human rights, not national rights, or local rights, because they apply to all humans.
You really think it's OK for a country like North Korea or Saudi Arabia to decide what human rights means in their countries? I know, they already do, but do we really want to say we're okay with it? Do you really look at, say someone being tortured to death for criticizing the dear leader and say "hey, that's just what they have decided that human rights are for that country?" That's wrong no matter what country you're in. Maybe we can't do anything about it, but we sure as hell don't give it our implicit stamp of approval by pretending that human rights vary from one culture to another.

And he brushed off questions about whether Supreme Court decisions opening the door for outside groups to spend unlimited sums of money on elections have hurt the country, saying that "the amount of money that is spent on all elections -- state, local and federal -- in the United States, is less than what women spend on cosmetics for a year, OK?"

 Screwing up the curve.

Wow! I could see if you really, actually believed that you were bound by the First Amendment to allow unlimited spending, I could see where you might defend your sickening decision by saying something like "it's unfortunate that this decision has led to an increase in corruption, but until we amend the Constitution, I have no choice. . ." but you're seriously going with the defense of "hey, it's not that much money?" Really? Because, first of all, that's bullshit.
No matter how much women may or may not spend on makeup, the Sheldon Adelsons and Foster Friezes of the world being able to pour unlimited millions into campaigns is absolutely a recipe for corruption. And it's not the point. The point should be that that's what the Constitution mandates. The point is not "well, the results aren't really that bad."  Because you are required to abide by the Constitution, whether the results are positive, negative, or neutral.

 He said the alternative is having Congress impose limits on "who can speak and how much who can speak."

No. Anyone can speak. I'm speaking right now. Speaking doesn't cost money. The fact that I don't have the money to purchase air time and address a national audience  is not an infringement on my freedom of speech. Limiting how much money one person can donate to a candidate puts no limit on speech. Just limits in how large a soapbaox one might be able to purchase.

Scalia said he doesn't agree with the notion that outspending the other side is the key to winning elections. He said if people really believe "the masses are so ignorant that they are swayed by television ads," then "let's have a king. Right? Let's have a king."

What?!?!? How do you make that leap? People are easily swayed by advertising, so we might as well have a monarchy? How do you get from "people are ignorant" to "let's have a king?"

Gawd, I hate this scumbag. The evil just oozes off him!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Surviving Christmas Music

At some point between now and Boxing day, some people with whom you are required to spend time may engage in the practice known as "singing Christmas songs." Naturally, you being a cynical, jaded bastard, will not enjoy this activity. But you may be under a certain amount of pressure to "join in," lest you be labeled a "Scrooge" or "grinch" or some other such nonsense. So here's a couple of tips to make the singing of these songs more bearable.

1. Replace the word "Christmas" with "Swiss Miss." Then they become songs about your love of cocoa which is infinitely less saccharine than the love of an over-commercialized corporatized holiday.

Try it out.

"I'll be home for Swiss Miss"

Damn right I will!

 "I'm dreaming of a white Swiss Miss"
Swiss Miss doesn't make a white chocolate version,
 but you can dream.

"I'll have a Blue Swiss Miss without you"
Still better than no Swiss Miss at all!

2. Replace the name "Santa Claus" to something more fun. Like "Panda Paws."


"Here come panda claws, here come panda claws, right down panda claws lane."

"I saw Mommy kissing panda paws."

Could you blame her? They're so adorable!

Or try other combinations of words.

Candy bras are comin' to town!

3. Remember that there are good Christmas songs:

Thursday, December 11, 2014

You do realize that if people start being "reasonable" you're out of a job, right?

The amount of projection is staggering!

Yes, people believe in absurd things. Like the absurd idea that "sure the climate is changing, but so what? We can deal with it!" Sure, heat might be less of a danger than freezing, but when it becomes impossible to grow enough crops to feed the population, when floods and droughts become the norm,  when Miami is under water, when tropical diseases become common in North America, where are your smug, dismissive little reassurances going to be then, you arrogant little prick?

Also, what's more absurd, believing that 98% of relevant scientists are correct about the scope and consequences of climate change, or believing that they have all, these highly intelligent, well-educated men and women, been conned by, whom, Al Gore? Leonardo DiCaprio?

And maybe you might not want to mock people for believing in things for which there are no proof, like ghosts, when I'm guessing about 99% of your audience believes unconditionally in a God whom they've never seen or heard.

Hell, your audience believes with all their hearts that the President wants to give everyone free slut pills and abortions and also institute Sharia Law!

They firmly believe that the President is a weak-kneed apologizer and also an iron-fisted dictator!

They believe that the rich can only be motivated by giving them more money and the poor can only be motivated by taking money away.

They believe that America is the strongest most dominant military force the world has ever seen and is also on the verge of being completely destroyed by angry goat-herders who will somehow get their hands on nuclear weapons.

They believe that famous actors should stay out of politics and keep their political opinions to themselves and damn, Ronald Reagan was a great president.

And speaking of Reagan, they believe that the man who turned us into the world's largest debtor nation was a paragon of "fiscal responsibility." 

And at least one of the guys on your panel apparently believes that "Land of the Lost" was a documentary!

So good luck with getting people to be "reasonable."

Oh, dear Gawd!

Please, please, pleeeeeease let this be a bad Photoshop!

Because otherwise, yes this pill should not be on store shelves. It should be on the Island of Dr Moreau .

No human torso looks like that!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

News that sounds like the Onion but isn't

Fuckin' Texas, man!

State Reps. Dwayne Bohac and Richard Raymond Hold Press Conference to Raise Awareness for Texas’ Merry Christmas Law

Posted: December, 8, 2014

Really? A "Merry Christmas" Law?

What the hell is a "Merry Christmas" Law?

 AUSTIN, TX – Today, State Representatives Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston) and Richard Raymond (D-Laredo) hosted a press conference at the Texas Capitol to raise awareness for the State’s Merry Christmas Law (HB 308), passed in 2013, that allows parents, teachers, students and school administrators to celebrate the traditional winter holidays of Christmas and Hanukkah in public schools without fear of censorship, litigation or persecution.

Oh, fer the love of. . . well, you know.

Oh, yes. The persecution. Yes, it must be terrible. It must be so difficult to be a Christian in TEXAS! 
You know, what with all the, um. . . are there Muslims there? Probably. I know there's at least one Jewish guy.

“Our school officials and teachers have enough on their plate without having to worry about frivolous lawsuits for merely acknowledging Christmas (a Federal holiday since 1870) or Hanukkah in our public schools,” said Rep. Bohac.

When has a teacher ever been sued for acknowledging Christmas or Hanukkah?  Has that ever happened? Is this really something you needed a law for?

“We are here today to remind everyone that this law offers protection for and guidance to school officials and teachers by codifying Supreme Court precedent, thus providing ‘bright lines’.  This bill is ultimately about bringing ‘fun, joy and magic’ back into our schools during the Holiday Season.”

Oh my God, you said "Holiday!!!!" You called it the "Holiday Season!!!"  How dare you, you heathen? Jeezus, no wonder we need a Merry Christmas law!

House Bill 308, the "Merry Christmas Law," authorizes a school district to educate students about the history of traditional winter celebrations and allows students and staff to offer traditional greetings regarding these celebrations, including "Merry Christmas," "Happy Hanukkah," and "happy holidays."

All of which are already allowed and not in any danger of being not allowed, so what's the point of this law?

   The law affords students, parents and educators the right and opportunity to celebrate on school property with displays associated with those holidays, including Menorahs, Christmas trees and Nativity scenes. 

Now it makes sense. You just want to be able to put religious symbols in public schools. Because you love the Constitution soooo much! I mean, you do know this won't actually pass Constitutional muster, right? I mean, putting a Nativity scene in a public school is clearly using a government facility to promote a particular religion. There's really no way around that.

It does, however,  prohibit such a display from including a message that encourages adherence to a particular religious belief.

Ohhh, you  found a loophole!

You can put up a Nativity scene, a display honoring the most treasured story in the Christian canon, a display featuring the Christ himself, but as long as you don't put a "pro-Christianity" message on it, you're in the clear! 

 “This bill originated when I picked up my first grade son from school last year and asked him how his day went. He told me that his class had decorated their holiday tree with holiday ornaments. When I asked what a holiday tree was, he told me it was the same as a Christmas tree. After inquiring with school officials as to why the term ‘Holiday Tree’ was being used, it became apparent that the school was fearful of litigation.” ~ Texas State Representative Dwayne Bohac

Um. . . aren't you going to at least pretend that the kid was somehow traumatized by this? "Cuz it sounds like the kid was fine with calling it a "holiday tree." Seems like he probably had fun putting ornaments on the tree. The only one with a problem was you. I mean, this is your story, why are you the asshole in your own story? Why cast yourself as the blue-nosed busybody who, after hearing about the fun day his kid had, contacts the school board to complain about their terminology? Everyone hates people like that, people who have a pathological need to find some tiny thing at which they can feign offense in every situation. Why in your own story are you the guy who spoils everyone else's fun?
You didn't like the word "holiday" so you decided you needed a fucking law?

You should check out the "Merry Christmas Bill" website. for stomach-turning heart-warming dreck like this:

A child at Christmastime

“Daddy, why do we have a Christmas tree at home and a Holiday tree at school?”

Awww, look at that adorably cloying little moppet. How could a father possibly come up with an answer to such a heartbreaking question? Except for, maybe. . .oh, I don't know, maybe "because, sweetie, not everyone celebrates Christmas. Some people celebrate other holidays and it's not nice to make them feel left out." It took me like five entire seconds to come up with that and I'm not even a father, so I have no experience addressing these difficult issues with a child.

But the best part is the "Tales of Christmas Past" where readers of the site send in their harrowing stories of being told "Happy Holidays" or whatever with all the classic teabagger spelling and punctuation you'd expect to see from Texans who think Christians are being persecuted.

“YES, KEEP Christmas in our schools! I still remember being an angel in my first grade Christmas Pageant... which was a PUBLIC school. KEEP America, American—with the values of our Founding Fathers in tact.”
Deany M.
Houston, Texas

Yes, let's keep them "in tact."

Oyyyyyy. . .

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Bad Ads - Bud Light

Where to begin?

First of all, I'm not sure that you really want your tag line to be that if you're holding a Bud Light you're obviously "up for whatever." Like, obviously this guy has no standards, no concern for his safety. . . he'll obviously try anything once if he'll drink this swill!

Secondly, Jimmy  Johnson is creepy as hell, especially since he did those ads for penis-enlargement pills

which I assume are a total fraud, or otherwise the men of America would all be walking around tripping over their wieners all day. And for a man as rich as Kimmy Johnson, former college and NFL coach, current television broadcaster, to sign on to a cheap con like this is shameful. Bad enough to do ads for a legitimate product, but do you really need to scrounge up a few more bucks taking advantage of gullible insecure saps?

Anyway. . .

The black  guy sitting with "Sean" is also holding a Bud Light, so he should also be "up for whatever," but as soon as Johnson walks in, the black guy immediately gets up like "this guy's obviously here to meet you, Sean" and gives up his seat so Johnson and "Sean" can play football. Like it never occurs to anyone, not even the black guy, that the black guy might enjoy a game of electric football with a gross, creepy former NFL coach. No, he just wordlessly stands up and gets out of the way so that his white friend can get the celebrity treatment.

Also, there is a woman in a 49ers shirt who is all excited to see Jimmy Johnson. 49er fans HAAAAAAATE Jimmy Johnson. Hate him! 49er fans hate Jimmy Johnson the way Republicans hate Obama. Deeply,  viscerally, irrationally hate him. There is no way this woman is cheering the appearance of Jimmy Johnson.

Also, too, no one has ever enjoyed electric football. I wanted one of those games so bad when I was a kid, and I found one at a garage sale, and it was even the 49ers against someone. I was so excited. then I took it home and plugged it in, and immediately realized I'd been ripped off. The players just sort of vibrate around aimlessly, occasionally falling down.  There's no real way to run any actual plays or have any kind of defensive strategy or really do much of anything other than watch the little players buzz around pointlessly until the one who has the tiny ball falls over or happens to stumble across the goal line. No one has ever found this stupid game fun.

But then again, no one has ever enjoyed Bud Light, either.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Troublesome Christmas Song Lyrics - Vol III

In what is becoming a holiday quasi-tradition (here and here ) The Daily Irritant once again presents Questionable Christmas Songs:

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Why does the song begin with this?

You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

So basically you're saying that in order to keep Santa happy you must not express any emotion?  Okay, I get pouting as a behavioral issue, maybe, but crying? Why is a healthy expression of sadness or frustration or pain be considered the kind of wrongdoing that would result in one being placed on Santa's naughty list?  That can't be a healthy lesson to teach a child. Santa knows if you've been bad or good, so you better keep a smile plastered on your face no matter how you feel!

Which reminds me of another popular Christmas song

Away in a Manger

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.

 Why? Why wouldn't Baby Jesus cry? He's a newborn infant, if he doesn't cry, something's wrong. Why do we associate a lack of crying with goodness? We all do it. When someone has a baby that doesn't cry much, we say "oh, he's such a good boy!" But we can't even assume that because the Baby Jesus is the holy, sinless son of God, that somehow means he wouldn't cry, because:

Luke 19:41
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it

John 11:35
35Jesus wept. 36So the Jews were saying, "See how He loved him!"…

So, if we know that adult Jesus cried, why would we assume that the baby Jesus didn't?

I don't know. But there is apparently something about Christmas that makes people want to suppress any negative emotions.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Presented without comment

Except to say skip forward to about 1:10 to skip the interminable opening credits.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Why I should never be a parent

because, based on things I've said to or thought about my friends' kids, I'm pretty sure I would say things like this:

Oh, sorry  kiddo. Didn't you hear? Yeah, the Disney Channel went off the air. But don't worry, they're showing a John Ford marathon on Turner Classic Movies!

You don't like Taylor Swift. No, you don't. Now go to your room and listen to your Wilco CDs!

No, they don't make Barbie dolls anymore. But here, I got you this cool Michone action figure! Check out her awesome katana!

No, I didn't get you a princess costume for Halloween. You and your brother are going as Franklin and Eleanore  Roosevelt. Yes, again!

Harry Potter? Never heard of him. But since you seem interested in magical realism, may I suggest The House of the Spirits?

The Times was right, it is quite spectacular.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Oh my God, will you grow a fucking spine?

I saw two stories today dealing with President Obama's response to Ferguson.
They were not encouraging.

Story # 1:

President Obama to order more training, oversight for military gear to cops

President Barack Obama is expected to sign an executive order to encourage more oversight of federal programs that dole out military gear to local police departments, senior administration officials said Monday.(emphasis added)

Oh my God, you are the commander in chief! Just tell them to stop giving military equipment to law enforcement agencies. Don't "encourage" them to maybe be a bit more careful handing out the assault weapons and armored vehicles, just order them to stop it.

“There is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement, and we don't want those lines blurred,” Obama said at the time.
But it's unclear if the president's actions will have any effect on the amount of military-style gear the federal government doles out to local cops.

Of course it won't! Why would it have any effect? 
Story # 2:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama asked Congress on Monday for $263 million for the federal response to the civil rights upheaval in Ferguson, Missouri, and is setting up a task force to study how to improve modern-day policing.

Let me save you some money:  STOP MURDERING PEOPLE. Don't let cops who murder people walk free. Arrest them, charge them, try them and jail them. Do you really need a task force?

Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey and Laurie Robinson, a George Mason University professor who is a former assistant attorney general, will lead the task force on 21st century policing, officials said.

Really? You're going to have the task force headed up by a police commissioner? That's like putting Ray Rice in charge of domestic violence prevention.  You couldn't find a critic of police tactics to chair this charade?

 So, how are you going to spend all these millions of dollars?
 The funds would pay for body cameras for police officers to use and expand training for law enforcement in an attempt to build trust in communities such as Ferguson

 Which won't do much good unless the cops are required to wear them and forbidden from shutting them off.

 Please, Mr. President, grow a spine. I know you have good intentions, at least I assume you do, but they don't do much good unless you are willing to take a stand now and again.