October 6, 2010

Don't Stop Believin'!

By Robb Witmer Full 

"She's exactly who I need," —Senator John McCain, August 29, 2008

"This is a moment when principle and political independence matter." —Governor Sarah Palin, August 29, 2008

The chartered Gulfstream jet arrived from Anchorage by the dark of a late Thursday night in Dayton, Ohio. The swirl of rumors about who John McCain would pick as his presidential running mate was beginning to tighten into a tornado.

Up to this point, the most memorable campaign moment for McCain was an impromptu press conference in the cheese aisle of a shit-ball grocery store. The whole operation seemed to have the ambition of a Jay-and-Silent-Bob movie.

This is the moment that could change all that, a shot in the arm, the new blood that jolts the McCain campaign awake, a launching pad for kicking out the jams.

The selection of Sarah Palin looked like it might be exactly that. She was an exciting, fresh face; unknown, young and spunky; the polar opposite of McCain, who seemed to suck the life-force out of any room he entered.

It was certainly a popular move with the religious right. "This is a home run," said Ralph Reed, an admitted delusional kook. "She is really one of the bright shining new stars in the Republican firmament."

But the Religious Right crowd couldn't possibly be enough to win this election. The Bush Jr. administration had been such an uncompromised disaster that even a few dog-whistles about gay marriage or abortion weren't going to be enough. What else was Palin bringing to this feast?

Ah, women voters, that must be it! The Republicans noticed that Hillary Clinton damn near won the Democratic nomination, so maybe, they thought, there was something to this whole Women's Lib thing after all. Throw a woman on the ticket and the female voting population won't know the difference, or won't care.

Yes, it's a cynical move, and one the GOP tried just a few months later in a slightly different form when they named an incompetent black man, Michael Steele, to be the chairman of the RNC, simply so that average white Americans, through the high-fructose haze around their heads, wouldn't know the difference between him and Obama when Steele publicly fucked up.

This strategy surely picked up a few votes here and there, but its biggest effect was probably on women who were on the fence about voting at all, or just plain frightened of John McCain for any multitude of reasons.

"I was going to vote Republican," said Jennifer Raybaud, a 42 year-old small business owner, "but I feel a whole lot better about it now. Sarah Palin is my age, she has kids. She seems like me."

The idiocy of voting for someone because they are the same age as you, or "seems" like you, is of a sort that is pervasive in America, and comes in many forms, but is probably a subject best tackled another time. The point is, not many women were going to vote for John McCain simply because his running mate has a vagina, and certainly not enough to take the election.

Palin was also an appeal to small-town America, what with her being, as Matt Taibbi put it, "just two years removed from running a town smaller than the bleacher section at Fenway Park."

In pandering to Small-Town Folk (or, Real America), Palin "cut right to the core of who they are and what they believe," said pollster and noted dick-head Frank Luntz. "The people who work the hardest and fight our wars."

Right, kind of like when Steve Perry tells a crowd in Cleveland that Journey loves playing there, it's their favorite place to play! For a second the crowd buys it and explodes in applause, but no one actually thinks this is true, they just want it to be.

Then "Don't Stop Believin'" kicks in and brings down the goddamn house.

Of course, wanting to believe something and then hearing someone else say it has become the Modern American version of proof that something is true, so maybe here again a few votes are being picked up.

Plus whatever votes she could grab for the GOP by way of the Boner Vote. A 44-year-old former beauty queen is pretty hot shit for the Upper Management crowd, so at the very least she's putting asses in seats and eyeballs on TV screens.

For a little while, Sarah Palin was exactly what the McCain camp needed, a Red Bull enema for Red State America, a game-changer in Election '08.

Except that it wasn't. Not like that. After a few days, Palin's nomination seemed like it was either a blunder of massive proportions, or perhaps the most calculated practical joke in the history of politics.

Not only had the public and media never heard of this woman, it became obvious that McCain himself didn't have much of an idea of who she even was beyond the cover letter and the few Glamour Shots she mailed in with her application for the job.

Palin was instantly exposed as a TLC Original Programming-wannabe who doesn't read anything more penetrating than People Magazine, or understand her own talking points..

Even McCain seemed terrified at the idea that she could be left in charge of anything, much less the most powerful government in the world. It was a still more frightening thought for anyone watching McCain inch closer to death by the minute.

The best that can be said for the Palin nomination is that it was merely a stunt, a ploy to bite into the 24-hour news cycle and chew on it for a few days. In that sense, it was hugely successful, but when it came time to make like she was a serious choice for vice president, the McCain campaign fell apart at the seams.

Palin never seemed to have any interest in winning the election. And as a candidate, even her many superficial qualities only appealed to the 30-40% of people who were likely to vote Republican no matter what.

Wasn't this the party with Campaign Mastermind Karl Rove and his minions behind the scenes, knowing exactly which cranks to yank to get the American Public to vote their way? Could they really be fucking up this blatantly in a Presidential Election?

"That was the thinking of the GOP moguls and wizards when they decided to dump George Bush and let Bill Clinton take the rap for the next four years of bad debt and misery that even Ronald Reagan realized was coming." —Hunter S. Thompson, "Doomed Hope and Failed Dreams"

Sarah Palin wasn't why the Republicans went down in flames. That was likely to happen anyway. She was, however, a sign that winning the election was not the priority, and probably not even desirable.

John McCain was the last to know that he'd been thrown under the bus, but he had to know something was up. The clear resentment he had for his VP nominee couldn't have been just because she was young and pretty. She knew something he didn't, that the fix was in.

Palin was never looking for any real responsibilities. She was already half-assing the Governorship of Alaska, kicking Reagan's Spokesmodel-in-Chief act up a notch. Campaigning for vice president was a good use of her beauty-pageant training, and with none of the stress because she'd been assured that she wouldn't actually have to take the job.

The News Industry certainly lived up to their end of the bargain. Palin got shopping sprees, guaranteed best-selling books, a TV show she could phone in, speaking engagements for hundreds of thousands of dollars a pop, and a lifetime of "campaign contributions" that she gets to keep because she'll never seriously run for anything ever again.

Her motivations have always been clear, but why would the Republicans roll over like they did? As a strategic retreat, it was probably a good move. Thirty years of Free Market Economics had completely hollowed out the economy, unemployment was skyrocketing, banks were failing, bridges collapsing... Seek cover and escape at the first opportunity.

If McCain had won, the American Dream might have been picked clean with the bones left out to bleach in the sun once and for all. Instead, the remains were left to fester for a few more years, and now the stink-rot is seeping into every crevice.

Robb Witmer Full doesn't like the circus but it's not necessarily because he has anything against clowns.

July 20, 2010

Sucking Balls by the Cuyahoga, Part Deux: "Sleep Well, Cleveland"

By Robb Witmer Full 

"This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his 'decision' unlike anything ever 'witnessed' in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment." -Open Letter to Fans from Cavaliers Majority Owner Dan Gilbert

After his second week of good behavior at the Dr. Clayton Forrester Shock Therapy Institute, the author has been allowed limited contact with the outside world. His mental state is still listed as "less than stable," though he's been described by his doctors as "reasonably coherent" after his most recent marathon session of controlled electrocution.

The author's attitude has not been cooperative with what the doctors at Forrester call "the process," and his mood has been quite demanding on the staff. The hope everyone has is that he will now direct some of his built-up psychic energy and aimless rage into the letters he is now allowed to write, instead of toward the staff itself.

What follows is a letter written to Robinzon Chavez, the editor-publisher-at-large of America-Thrust. It was hand-written on a series of thirty-six unique post-cards, numbered 1 to 37 (with #9 missing, presumably confiscated by Forrester, or possibly lost in the mail).

Most of the post-cards were of the tourist-town variety; Mr. Chavez's favorite was for Denver, touted on the post-card as "America's Toronto!"


The accommodations at the Forrester are hellish as always. I've tried to explain to the help that shocking the living fuck out of me on twelve-minute intervals has not exactly been improving my condition.

If anything, my violent tendencies are more acute, more focused, more... energized, than they were before. I don't remember having the need to maim people before I came in here, but the only image in my brain anymore is of me running over Dr. Clayton Forrester with a spike-mobile, followed by the burning of his corpse in a raging hay-fire.

Well, you know how all that goes, don't you? Maybe it's not that bad here, at least not all the time. It doesn't help that they have the worst room service of anywhere I've ever stayed, and the food is roughly on par with what you could pick out of the garbage at Del Taco.

But who's complaining? This is all on the America-Thrust dime, no? It's like a vacation, except instead of sitting on a beach, letting the rays soak in, I'm receiving massive doses of electricity and beginning to question my personhood.

My access to the news, or pretty much anything else in the Outside World, has been severely limited. Dr. F theorizes that any contact I have with a newspaper would send me into a vein-popping fury. I can't disagree.

All television is strictly Off-Limits. Even the requested Saved By The Bell reruns were denied. The official explanation is that the electronic signals could interfere with the delicate Shock Therapy Experience... My guess is that Dr. F has a Screech Complex, or some unresolved issues regarding the wardrobe of one Albert Clifford Slater.

The only news story I've been allowed access to is the LeBron James debacle. Every morning, the nurses carefully clip out any LeBron-related story from The USA Today, and gather any pertinent Espn.com print-outs.

Just from those two sources alone I've filled up three five-inch expanding folders of clippings and compiled a full spiral-notebook of jottings and rants. I can't imagine television was any better, with [...]

[ postcard missing ]

[...] or the grip of lunacy that has taken hold of the major sports owners in Cleveland. Randy Lerner went around the bend years ago, largely through no fault of his own, given the pure skull-fuckery of a typical Browns season.

LeBron was the only thing keeping the Cavaliers relevant. Before him, the Cavs were best known for the manner in which they lost to Michael Jordan's Bulls.
"The good news is that the ownership team [...] here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you." [sic]
If he ever wants to get his life back, Gilbert will have to accept the fact that LeBron has already given more to the Cavaliers franchise and the city of Cleveland than either is capable of repaying on any level.
"...this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our 'motivation' to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels."
The use of unnecessary quote-marks is well-known in the Drug Culture as a sure sign of Brain Syphilis, or another similar neurological infection, and Gilbert employs them in spades.

He's probably only in the early stages, but soon he'll be in the same sad boat as Lerner, waiting for the statues outside the stadium to tell him what to do. No small wonder then, that LeBron had zero interest in getting initiated into the Upper Escalon of Cleveland Sports; all the available evidence points to it being curtains for your sanity.

Before long, I'm sure, the story will break of Mike Holmgren's tastes for underage Indonesian hookers and endangered-animal cuisine, but for now we'll have to settle for the late-night, drunken ramblings of Gilbert.

Which are fun, no?
"Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there."
What the fuck? Do you have any idea what he's getting at here, Chavez? This whole thing is at about the maturity level of a ninth-grade break-up, or maybe a night out with you, trolling Pirates Paradise for cheap drugs and free margaritas.
"The self-declared former "King" will be taking the "curse" with him down south. And until he does "right" by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma."
You'd think Cleveland would be used to being shit on by now. Art Modell, John Elway, Jordan... Hell, even Tommy Maddox got a few jabs in.

No one outside of Gilbert's internal monologue could possibly have thought that LeBron was going to stay in Cleveland. This is the NBA; You're not even in the discussion of The Greatest until you have at least four or five rings, and it's not conceivable for that to happen in Cleveland, except for maybe serious users of Voacangine, of which James is not.

If LeBron ends his career with no championships, he's the Dominique Wilkins of the Reality TV Era, a Super-Superstar, but not Great. Even one trophy would only rise him to the ranks of the NBA's Peyton Manning.

Real Sports Fans don't care about stats, ability or potential; Even the number of championships isn't that important. To be Great, you must do Great Things. It's an easy formula, and a single Super Bowl win over the Grossman Bears — or a boring seven-game series over, say, the Suns — isn't going to cut it.

The odds against something Great happening in Cleveland are off the charts. LeBron might be a Gambler, but no one is in a position to take that kind of risk.
"Sleep well, Cleveland."

Robb Witmer Full thinks that America probably has a few Torontos.

July 9, 2010

'010 Big East Football Preview Spectacular

By Robinzon Chavez 

PIRATE'S PARADISE, FL — That old scag Witmer has found himself in the Shock House once again, giving me a little breathing room here.

Jesus, if you had any idea what the scene was really like at America-Thrust headquarters with him around, you would understand why we can only publish a few thousand words per year.

His latest Gambling Tirade began with a successful bet on the World Cup "draw" between the U.S. and England in June. Like all good Tirades, it started out on a high note, and like all great Tirades, ended on a foul one.

The Good Times came to a screeching halt when Witmer fell into what many of us Serious Gamblers call "Ripper's Trap." When you've lost a few bets in a row, but are still up — say — and now you have to get your stack going back in the right direction...

You start to think, I can't keep losing every time. It's mathematically impossible; I have to win at some point in time...

Then you lose a bit more and now you're way down. You start to bet massive sums of money because by using this strategy you Can't Lose.

Theoretically, if you double your bet every time, you will inevitably win, even by accident — yes — and then you will have made all the money back that you lost.

If you're one of the sorry bastards who's fallen into Ripper's Trap, then you are already on a bad streak, and now you're begging for more of the same; you're making $1000 bets in the hopes of putting yourself $50 in the black.

You're chasing Break Even. What kind of hunt is that? It's a losing strategy any way you slice or dice it.

The last straw for Witmer was an emotional Over/Under bet in a Brewers/Cardinals game, resulting in seven shattered pint glasses at a low-key pub, two broken ribs (his own), a life-time banishment from said pub, and a serious hit to his bank-roll.

Luckily, he is once again under the dedicated care of the Dr. Clayton Forrester Shock Therapy Institute. The stay is expected to be much longer than the last few, and the staff there will make the call whether or not he needs to go to the LePetomane Hospital for the Gamblingly Insane after his stay at Forrester.

There's a chance Witmer may well get out in time for the start of football season and be back to making any bet against Pitt that he can get, but the chances of him being on a furious enough work schedule to put together a serious look into the Big East's upcoming season aren't at odds that even he would take.

Whatever his circumstances end up being, I'm using this opportunity to spend time away from the HQ, get some real work done for a change, and get ready for another College Football season.

This off-season, the Big East again came close to getting its Death Warrant signed, by BCS money in the form of Big Ten/Pac 10 shenanigans.

It's a sentence that still may be meted out, but really, who besides Jim Boeheim would care? The programs that matter will find a home somewhere, and the ones that matter less will end up in a Conference-USA or some such shit, where about half the Big East belongs anyway.

For now, the Big East is a BCS Conference, a Major Player, King Shit of Fuck Mountain (or at least ON Fuck Mountain), and a Big-Time Bowl Game is on the line. The likes of Syracuse and Louisville will be going for the gold, same as the rest.

In this conference it's best to start at the bottom. Just more comfortable down there; it feels like Real Big East Football.

Starting at the bottom of course leads us to SYRACUSE. This scrappy bunch was able cobble together four wins last year, including a merciless display of shit-kickery in the form of their only conference win, a 31-13 drubbing of Rutgers.

Can these rascals whip up a few more wins this year? How about score some damn points?

The Orange offense last year looked like it was being run by Rich Rodrigez with a blind squirrel stuffed into his pants. Word is that this year they're going to have a football player as a quarterback instead of a basketball player, but that is unconfirmed.

The Over could be undervalued here if their offense starts to click at all, or if their defense lives down to my expectations... Look into it early in the season, and if it pays off, ride that shit as long as it lasts.

In LOUISVILLE, there's a new coach in town, and he can do almost anything — or practically nothing at all — and it would be a cosmic improvement over the Kragthorpe Era.

So long as the new guy doesn't attempt to pull off a completely obvious sabotage-job on the Football Program, the entire Athletic Department and quite possibly the whole damn University, then he will be given a few years to turn this ship around.

Which he probably won't because there's no reason for Louisville to be any good in the first place. This team is C-USA all the way.

In SOUTH FLORIDA, the best thing that ever happened to the program was when Jim Leavitt physically assaulted a player, meaning they finally found their excuse to shit-can him.

One of the worst coaches in conference history, he was supposedly untouchable because he "built the program from scratch," or as I like to say, "he was their first shitty coach."

The assumption now goes that Skip Holtz will choose players based on their ability to play football instead of Combine stats, SAT scores, Social Security numbers, or whatever the hell it was that Leavitt was doing.

I expect a few underdog wins out of the Bulls this year. I also expect Leavitt to be spotted outside Raymond James Stadium wearing an anti-University sandwich-board sign and only an anti-University sandwich-board sign. Well, maybe a two-sided dildo, but do you really wear one of those?

As for CONNECTICUT, forget it. They have been consistently the most erratic and un-handicap-able team in the country for years now. Stay the hell away from this team.

If Greg Schiano ever gets another chance to leave RUTGERS, he would be wise to do so, methinks. The '06 season is about as good as it's ever going to get at New Jersey State, and who in their right mind would want a second-place Big East finish to be what's at the top of their mountain?

But fuck it, they could win the league if a few things bounce their way. So could most of these teams; the whole league is capable of blowing a game late, or giving away what should be an easy win, meaning someone will get a lot of wins they don't deserve...

WEST VIRGINIA has the X-iest X-Factor in the league: Bill "What Just Happened?" Stewart. Opponents never know what to expect next from Old Bill, and frankly, neither does Old Bill. Everything is a surprise!

He's finally given up his role in coaching the special teams, which to me is the most interesting aspect of this team from a Gambler's Perspective. Go Under unless Noel Divine starts going full-on Barry Sanders, and maybe even then.

What to do with PITT? Last year was so close to being a season worth a damn, but that was with their offensive line playing as well as they have or ever will again under Yinzstachio.

Without that line play, they probably can't get that close again, and will be overvalued over and over again because every asshole on ESPN thinks Dion Lewis can walk on water and heal the sick.

Which is exactly what Brian Kelly is expected to do at Notre Dame after leaving CINCINNATI at the perfect time (I'm looking in your direction, Schiano). Like with both Rutgers and Louisville in '06, it's hard to imagine things ever being as good for Cincinnati as they were last year.

Maybe they'll be okay, but who cares? What business does this C-USA team have being in this conversation? ...Ah, relax. It's over.

Goddamn, is that actually it? Only eight teams? But I've still got half a fifth of Sailor Jerry sitting next to me.

Oh, well. At least I can drink it in peace tonight instead of getting mixed up in another knife-fight with Witmer. To hear him tell it, he doesn't even like rum, but that doesn't mean he won't cut your throat for a swig and a half.

If the fine folks at the Forrester Institute have any sense, they will keep him locked up there for a good, long time.

Strike that; if they had any sense at all they would send the bastard along to the next sad-sack willing to take him off their hands... Good luck with that, jerk-asses!

Robinzon Chavez, in his weaker moments, feels sorry for the Big East.

May 12, 2010

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, and All That Shit

By Robb Witmer Full 

"The reason our institutions, our traditional religions, are all crumbling, is because they're no longer relevant." -Bill Hicks

Good thing I'm getting in one final trip to the Gulf before it's slicked completely over like Steven Seagal's hot tub after the pandas come over. The Colorado spring has been decidedly short on sunshine this year, even before the two feet of hail currently falling, and dude needs a tan.

If it proves to be too late to avoid the stiff reality of Slippery Black Death, I have no choice but to embrace it and take a Slip 'n Slide head-first dive all the way to Cuba. Not that they'll take me, but it's worth a shot, washing ashore wrapped in an oil-drenched American flag, holding a six-pack of Bud Light Lime and Season 2 of American Gladiators on VHS.

"I come from America, home of the free, land of the brave, and all that shit," I'll mumble to the first Cuban I see, trading him the Gladiators tapes for a two-pound mixto sandwich while I drink as many Limes as I can before he starts asking too many questions about Nitro and Blaze.

The locals gather around, peppering me with questions about the American Dream. "If you can't play baseball, don't bother," I say between bites of salty, delicious pork.

"Anyone here can go to a doctor, and what the fuck, you've already got sun-drenched beaches, plus of course these sandwiches... As for the rest of it, everything you need to know is on those tapes."

What the Cubans don't know yet is that the complete and total collapse of the Global American Empire is entering its climactic and explosive final stage. Grab whatever you can get your hands on, hold tight, and pray to Jesus it doesn't suddenly catch fire. It's been happening in slow motion for thirty years now, but this is the fun part, with floods and flames and oil-volcanoes.

There's still hope, no? A political awakening? The American People have to be better than this, right? Sure, whatever you say. Anyone who believes that clap-trap has never been to a Wal-Mart, or an NFL game, or watched cable television.

The best we've been able to muster is something called the Tea Party, full of the usual hypocritical bull-shit, which is to say it is supremely American. This movement is in favor of cutting both taxes and the deficit; they want their jobs back, and also support Globalization; they want immigrants to leave and they want cheap vegetables.

No movement will ever get what it wants if it doesn't know what it wants, and no large group of Americans is capable of thought that deep and critical. We do what we are told, repeat what we've heard, and think the universe revolves around each and every one of us.

The Tea Party is the mutant offspring of the Patriot Movement, that was and is rather fringy, but at least consistent in its libertarianism across the board. Some of the principled few surly remain, but how long can they possibly hang out with people who go to a political rally without a basic understanding of words like "socialism," "communist," and "democracy."

In a pick-and-choose society it's easy to be anti-tax and pro-war, against big government and for-Reagan, to believe that Fox News — owned and operated by one of the richest mother-fuckers on the planet — is looking out for their interests, while MSNBC — owned by one of the biggest military contractors on the planet -- is part of the "liberal media."

Anybody who takes themselves seriously would walk out on any room that Glenn Beck was in. The man's got a money-dick so far up his ass that you can see it through his teeth when he talks.

"But freedom," the Cubans prod. "You have freedom in America. Beautiful freedom."

"Yes," I scoff a little, doing my best to respect their basic Caribbean dignity, not making fun, hoping someone has rum. "But freedom is flexible. Our way of life is non-negotiable, but freedom..."

The average American has been spending more than they earn since 2005; Credit card debt averages roughly $16,000 per American household; The average college student is graduating with about $25,000 of student debt.

"We define it differently."

In the name of preserving the intellectual construct that is the Global Economy we've allowed two Major American Cities to be destroyed. Our local governments are bankrupt; our state governments are bankrupt; our federal government is bankrupt; Iceland is bankrupt; Greece is bankrupt, Ireland is bankrupt; Spain is bankrupt; Portugal is bankrupt; the entire developing world is behind the IMF eight-ball... Corporate profits are at world-record levels; bankers pay themselves hundreds of billions of dollars per year... This paragraph could go on for decades.

"We have the freedom to never ask questions," I say. "We have the freedom to pretend we don't know where all our fucking money went... Who has rum?"

Robb Witmer Full is no fan of swimming.

April 29, 2010

What of America, Eh Chavez?

By Robb Witmer Full 

"Politics is the entertainment branch of industry." -Frank Zappa

After back-to-back extended stays in the William J. LePetomane Hospital for the Gamblingly Insane and the Dr. Clayton Forrester Shock-Therapy Institute, respectively, the author agreed to return to his position with America-Thrust provided the following conditions be met by management: 1, doubling of his salary; 2, use of the corporate jet; 3, tripling of his salary; and 4, complete editorial control of the entire America-Thrust enterprise.

None of these demands were met, and, after reconsideration, the author agreed to return to his position with America-Thrust under the condition that we allow him to. All parties approved of that arrangement.

The following is the author's first correspondence with Robinzon Chavez, the editor-publisher-founder of America-Thrust, since his return.


If there's one thing you can learn from a spirited stint in an institute of shock-therapy, it's that there are enough crazy fucks out there to give the stupid fucks a run for their money.

It's good to see that the battle to save the sacred Wal-Mart lifestyle has not abated in my absence, though the outfits have changed. The tricorn hat has until very recently been woefully underrepresented in American fashion since the New England Patriots replaced Pat Patriot with that guy wearing a... well, a uni-corn hat.

The Captain America costumes are a welcome addition to any political cause, particularly one so rabidly anti-communist as the so-called Tea Parties are.

What of America, eh Chavez?

It's worth pointing out that from what I can tell, the plan that began with the Great Republican Dive of '08 seems to be playing out perfectly, but to what end? What is it that could lead a major political party to throw a presidential election? There are dark forces at work, and now it's a matter of tracking them down...

Which brings us to what sort of thing I'll be writing for the website we've both been wasting so much time on during the glory years of our lives, when we should be out there doing something important, productive, profitable...

Before I spent my time in the gambler's clink, I was shooting around a piece on Peyton Manning and his almost assured loss in the Super Bowl, then was reworking it, after that loss came, into a piece that focused on his technical brilliance and how it leads to something far short of Greatness, and contrasting that with the game of Ben Roethlisberger, who plays with heart and improvisation... but so much for that.

Something must be done about the amenities in this country's Hospitals for the Gamblingly Insane. An expose?

The Tea Party is America now, what we've become. Not what they believe, of course, not that there's any telling what it is they really believe, or who they really are, or who cares, they're just the latest distractotainment reality-news show... But that is the problem, no? That's all we are. Our culture is fucked.

Forget their political views, their cool hats, and all that. We have people in this country that are actual threats to gain real political power based on the fact that they rank high on something called "Tweets" (some new form of Internets-based social technology; an article investigating this emerging trend?) and page-views on websites.

This shit-can Palin has a cushy job with Fox News and doesn't even have the integrity, no, ... the work ethic... to put together what I would consider a real television show. Instead it's some thrown-together clip show on par with Talk Soup, maybe. Of course, I haven't been a television-viewer in quite some time, so maybe that sort of thing does meet the standard of "real television."

She's regarded as mostly a joke, but that just pisses off people who don't think so, and it pisses them off so much that they're totally willing to elect an idiot as president, just to prove some sort of asinine point. The hero of half-assed America.

And many Tea Partiers are willing to put up with someone like Palin being a media-christened leader because they're unwilling to buy out, to get off this train before it runs into the canyon.

They had the right idea, that maybe we should just burn the whole fucker down. The problem, as I see it, is that they want to be comfortable while it happens. That ain't how it's gonna work any more, not in America.

The point of the article, would be, I think, that the whole thing has been totally co-opted, by Republicans, by Fox News, et al. It's an ongoing Balloon Boy-palooza for the 24-hour news networks. And it's surely tied into the Republican Dive somehow, it being not the Tea Party, but the co-opting of it.

And do you remember that terrible morning-DJ/comedian we heard way back when in Connecticut? Well he has his own TV show now, and the Tea Partiers like him too, only they don't think he's being funny, they think he's being serious. Try to figure that out. That could be an article in and of itself.

No, but what I was trying to say but typed differently was that it's not that the Tea Party has been co-opted or compromised, but that all of American life has been compromised, in the name of what? Some iPads and Double Down Sandwiches? Fuck that.

Are you even fucking getting what I'm trying to say here, or are you already into your second case of Miller Lite? Paying attention?

Whatever, get back to me. I'm looking forward to taking your money during the upcoming football season. Who's looking good this year? Not the Big East, that's for sure.

In better news for you, it looks like the Pirates may win you that 100 bucks after all. I figure that since the bet was made before I went to LePetomane it's still legit... They need some pitching if they're going to stay out of the cellar. Maybe they have a John Smiley in the weeds somewhere.

Well, the lithium is starting to wear off, so I'm having a hard time bearing the thought of you any longer. It's been too long since we talked... How are things? Been to any good shock-therapy institutes lately?

I have,

Robb Witmer Full is allowed to walk amongst the general public.

January 20, 2010

Obama, Year One: The Dark Night Returns

By Robb Witmer Full 

"Bush returns to Texas with 'a sense of accomplishment'" -Headline in the Dallas Morning News, January 21, 2009

The crowds began to form shortly after the 4 a.m. Last Call was beginning to clear the bars. They stood in bitter, wet cold and pre-dawn darkness, hoping to get a good look at our last best chance for American Redemption.

By the time the horde numbered two million, the familiar frosty Washington bitterness was almost unnoticed, pierced by the pure electricity in the air, the Hope and Change we'd only heard about in TV commercials was now a tangible, visceral rumbling in our guts.

Obama told us that voting was not enough, that forming mobs millions deep, still, was not enough. The heavy lifting lies ahead. "Starting today," he said, "we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin again the work of remaking America."

Bush escaped by helicopter, with a deep feeling of satisfaction in the knowledge that it didn't matter for shit which poor sap was moving in after him. The mechanisms for Real Change were dismantled long ago, the parts now stored deep in the shed on Cheney's CIA-adjacent Washington compound, guarded by Blackwater goons, no doubt.

Still, there couldn't have been a more frightening image to the Power Structure; Literally millions of people gathered at the fulcrum of American political authority, asserting their position that the way things have been done for the last thirty years are Wrong, and Evil, and Must Stop Now.

A year later, those millions of people have scattered, seeking to be alone as the inevitable creep of disappointment smothered them. The story of Obama's first year is the story of Nothing Getting Done in America. The Inaugural Mob, as assembled on January 20, 2009, probably didn't have an escalation of the war in Afghanistan in mind when they voted for him.

Or that the financial system, so thoroughly fucked it took getting bailed-out by the broke-ass American people to keep it from collapsing, has had no new restrictions placed on it. Or that Obama would put the same exact goddamn thieves who got us into the mess in charge of getting us out.

Or that it would take a 60-vote supermajority to get a shitty health care bill passed. Almost passed.

Some of us even had a hard time imagining a world in which Bush, Cheney and the scumbags around them got to keep their status as free men.

Obama was, after all, the Test. Is there still a political tool available to exercise the will of the people? Can a president oppose the Status Quo and still get anything accomplished? Does the president have any real power, anyway?

The answer was quickly obvious, that we were not going into the business of Remaking the American Dream, instead doomed to be caught in the jaws of Karl Rove's Permanent Campaign till the very end. There's money to be made, and the Dream can be outsourced to China.

The smoky spectre of Bill Hicks haunts my dreams these days, and it's always with his old story of a newly elected president...

"I have this feeling that whoever's elected president, ... when you win, you go into this smoky room with the twelve industrialist, capitalist scumfucks that got you in there, and this little screen comes down... and it's a shot of the Kennedy assassination from an angle you've never seen before, which looks suspiciously off the grassy knoll.... And then the screen comes up, the lights come on, and they say to the new president, 'Any questions?'

"Just what my agenda is."

This year, in the wee hours of a brisk winter morning, the National Mall is empty. The bars closed hours ago and most of us have gone to sleep or are fighting the Insomnia with drugs, booze, and SportsCenter over and over and over again. If we'd taken the time to look around during the stumble home, we would have noticed that it's just as dark now as it was before.

Robb Witmer Full is editor-at-large of America-Thrust.