Thursday, April 12th, 2012

As Goes Wisconsin, So Goes Hell

"Peterson said he believed it was human excrement."

A padded envelope filled with human feces is a Rorschach test, representing either: a state in democratic revolt against the overreaches of a berserker Republican legislature and governor; a Petri dish for the pushback against corporate ownership of government; or the last doomed charge of organized labor bashing its soft skull against the stone walls of a new era of "it's working" conservative austerity.

Wisconsin has become a place where arguments begin with John Adams' "Facts are stubborn things" and then follow with "The Bible tells us…" It's also a place where a leader who disbands collective bargaining is [...]


America's Unchecked Gun Culture Killed Trayvon Martin

As the investigation into what happened on February 26 continues, it appears increasingly more likely that Trayvon Martin, not George Zimmerman, was the one exercising his rights under Florida's Stand Your Ground law. On CNN, Martin's mom declared as much, saying, "My son was exercising his stand your ground rule.” Except, of course, 17-year-old Martin did not possess the single crucial element for standing one's ground in the United States: A gun. Florida law restricts concealed handguns to those 21 and older. Instead the teen had a bag of Skittles.

This will happen again, probably soon, but not because of race relations or hoodies; because of guns and a [...]


March Madne$$: The School Tuitions Of The NCAA Bracket

Today begins NCAA basketball's "March Madness." The tournament's eventual champions will get to bask in the national spotlight until the next cruise-ship disaster/naked Congressman/shark attack/GOP primary/baseball season/chain-restaurant review by a flyover-state newspaper happens. And sure, winning a basketball title is worth bragging about. But we all know the real champion is the institution of higher education that can charge the most tuition and still have enough would-be students to be able to send out rejection letters every year. For a second year, here's the NCAA bracket by tuition, using the college information resource Peterson's. (Where available, in-state tuition was used.) Who will be the champs this [...]


'Act Of Valor' And The Myth Of An Anti-Military Hollywood

Act of Valor cleared $24.7 million this weekend. Along the way to the movie's release, it's become an accepted bit of truth that the film is meant to boost Navy recruitment. But while that may once have been the filmmakers' intention (and the Navy's), the final product works as a piece of propaganda in an entirely different way. Another piece of the film's promotion has been to portray Act of Valor as running against the grain of Hollywood: the first pro-military film of its kind since Vietnam. That is even less true.


The "Long-Feared Asiatic Colossus" Attacks America's Theaters

Fans awaiting the long-delayed remake of the Red Dawn reboot will have something to slake the thirst this weekend. The United States is finally getting a theatrical release of Tomorrow, When the War Began, the tale of Australian teenagers in armed rebellion against a national invasion.

Based on the wildly popular Tomorrow book series from the 1990s, Tomorrow, When the War Began updates one long-debated detail of the young adult novels. Now there is no doubt that the invaders are Asian.

It's a perfect film for the anxious American scene now, where a number of factors are colluding to expose just how far Asian stereotypes have hooks [...]


Herman Cain's Most Magical Year Ever: A Photo Scrapbook

I met Bill Nye, the global warming guy.

Herman Cain went from "That guy who debated Clinton?" to candidate for the Republican nomination for president of the United States of America to frontrunner in that race to the "Cain Train!" to walking embarrassing quote machine to "Sexual Harassment Train" to "Whatever happened to that guy who debated Clinton and then ran for president?" That took place in about nine months.

But all was not lost. Along the way, Herman met a great gang of people. And as they say, what's important is the journey, not the destination. Let's look back on a scrapbook of Herman Cain's two [...]


With Ron Paul, Fighting for Minnesota

They are young—so young. Impossibly young for attendees of a political rally that does not happen on a street. The slowest moving of the thousand or so streaming into the Minneapolis Convention end up standing for Ron Paul's address on the eve of the Minnesota caucuses. But they're young enough to handle it.

A Ron Paul rally is an experience every cynical, bedraggled, politics-reporting cur should take in at least once in a career. Plus, in the GOP 2012 field, Ron Paul supporters easily hold the title of most bangable.

The event was set to begin at 7:00 p.m. The first "End the Fed!" chant started at 7:03 [...]


The Federal Campaign Giving History for Susan G. Komen Founder & CEO Nancy G. Brinker

Sen. Richard Santorum (R-PA)


Saul Alinsky's Lesser Known Rules for Radicals

Rule 23: Always separate your cause buttons for easier reading.

Rule 24: Layer for warmth.

Rule 25: "Birth of a Nation" is a great pre-action psych-up film no matter the political faction.

Rule 26: Beer before liquor, never been sicker. Liquor before beer, you're in the clear. Also, vomit is an acceptable protest projectile.

Rule 27: Ridicule is the most potent weapon you can use as a commenter on Brooklyn Vegan.

Rule 28: By substituting a Panera Bread's® Half Smoked Turkey Breast Sandwich on Country Miche with Steak Chili for full Frontega Chicken® Panini on Focaccia, you'll save 370 calories.


This Man Will Embarrass Mitt Romney on National TV for You

"Look at my picture and ask yourself 'Would he really do that for money?' YOU CAN TELL I WOULD!"

That's how Ron D. of Loudon, Tennessee, described the seriousness of his eBay listing, which was called "I will embarrass Mitt Romney on national TV for money."

What would your high bid buy? "The possibilities," the seller said, "are endless… As long as it isn't against the law, I'll do or say whatever you want until someone comes and drags me away. And it will take a few of them. I'm a biggun." Bidding started at one penny.


The Cathovangelical: Rick Santorum's Quest for a National Abortion Showdown

It's a fine how-do-you-do. Fifty years after Democrats struggled to prove that their candidate for President "just happened to be a Catholic," now they face the prospect of painting a Republican challenger as a dangerous follower of Rome's socially extreme dogma.

The ascension of former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum to maybe-viable contender for his party's nomination and even a Pennsylvania Avenue address promises a number of rather unique possibilities. (Get ready for the "surprise" when he takes North Carolina.)

Most immediately, and a source of far more spiritual indigestion, a Santorum nomination would mean the most bloody dust-up over abortion and faith modern America has ever experienced. That's [...]


It's Time for Michelle Obama to Get Pregnant

Worried about Barack Obama's reelection chances in the face of flagging support from his base, experienced Democratic political strategists, former White House administration officials and professional political pundits have called for the president to "go bold." Last week, former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich even predicted that Obama dump Biden in 2012 and make Hillary Clinton his new vice president: "Because Obama needs to stir the passions and enthusiasms of a Democratic base."

Only a Yale-educated statusquocrat's idea of "bold" would be to add another Clinton. I have a far more truly bold political strategy for 2012 (one based on absolutely no inside information): Get Michelle Obama [...]


Michele Bachmann, America's Perfect Monster

In a campaign field that includes a twice-divorced anti-gay-marriage candidate who took an oath against adultery and who believes in mining the moon, it takes a special candidate to stand out. Michele Bachmann is just that special.

As she prepares to caucus dead last in her "home state" of Iowa, Minnesota's 6th District Congresswoman insists she still has a chance to win the Republican nomination for president. Odder things have happened, like that time one day's worth of lamp oil lasted eight.

Like a lot of impossible things Bachmann says—from claiming the HPV vaccine causes retardation, to the fact Obama is grooming NASA "for outreach to the Muslim [...]


"Not So Pure Michigan": The Man Who Hates Wisconsin and Ohio

When Wisconsin's tourism bureau launched a war on its neighbor by suggesting Wisconsin is actually the "mitten state," Michigan saw an unlikely ally come to its defense: a 30-something video pro named John Kerfoot.

Since 2006, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has run a branding campaign titled "Pure Michigan." A few years into the campaign, Kerfoot took his camera to nearby Lake St. Clair to shoot a Pure Michigan spoof about the lake's scourge of fish flies, which appear every year in swarms so great that, as the voiceover goes, "visitors are left wondering, 'Why the hell do I live in Michigan?'" (Insert blanket headphones-at-work [...]


North Dakota: The Rise of an American Petrostate

North Dakota is suing Minnesota, alleging the Land of 10,000 Lakes is discriminating against it because it is black. Lignite black. Lignite coal black. The lawsuit contends that the Next Generation Energy Act—a law signed in 2007 by Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty, which limits the amount of power Minnesota utilities can acquire from new fossil-fuel plants—violates the commerce clause of the Constitution. The federal rules, the suit argues, should force Minnesota to buy more of North Dakota's coal-fired power. The EPA, the suit argues, is the only authority whose regulations should matter.

Most experts have scoffed at the suit. But it's made all the more bizarre by the [...]


Names On Birth Certificates Of GOP Presidential Candidates

• Gary Earl Johnson • Willard Mitt Romney • Michele Mari Amble • Ronald Ernest Paul • James Richard Perry • Jon Meade Huntsman Jr. • Richard John Santorum • Herman Cain • Newton Leroy McPherson

Abe Sauer's book How to Be: North Dakota – A Guide to the Plains is available now.

Photo by Christopher Halloran, via Shutterstock.


Excerpts From 'How to Be: North Dakota'

How to Be: North Dakota – A Guide to the Plains is out now (and psst, costs only $8.95). The book, which features illustrations by Amy Jean Porter, would make a great holiday gift for anyone "who has looked at the vast expanse of Ole and Lena jokes and asked, 'Is that it?'"


Naugahyde While its use peaked in the rest of America in the early 1970s, the tanned skin of the wild nauga remains popular in North Dakota.

Bison vs. Buffalo Buffalo, home to terrible pro-sports teams, is an industrial wasteland in New York State. A Bison is the mascot of a [...]


Mitt v. Newt: Tonight's Debate Could Be the Heritage Foundation's Nightmare

Gingrich: There is a lot of big government behind Romneycare, not as much as Obamacare, but a heck of a lot more than your campaign is admitting.

Romney: Actually, Newt, we got the idea of an individual mandate from you.

Gingrich: That's not true. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.

Romney: Yeah. We got it from you and the Heritage Foundation and from you.

Gingrich: What you just said is not true. You did not get that from me. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.

That exchange, from the October 18th GOP presidential primary debate, likely caused a good number of clenched sphincters within the drop-ceilings of power at The Heritage Foundation. Until [...]


Occupy Wall Street Runs Out of Ideas

Dear Occupy Wall Street,

Please invent your own 他妈的 iconography.




It's Working: Wisconsin's Recall to End all Recalls

Recall is the new Occupy. Today, seven states will see at least 26 separate recalls in 11 jurisdictions. And starting November 15th, a massive Wisconsin-wide petition drive will attempt to fulfill a promise from February to recall Governor Scott Walker. It's a massive undertaking, and there is reason to believe it will succeed, but also reasons it will fail. Once filed, the recall effort will have 60 days to—

Suckers! On the afternoon of Friday, October 4th, a former Walker donor submitted a petition to recall the governor under the committee name "Close Friends to Recall Walker." The filing, which noted it was done "to fulfill my friend's [...]