AlterNet.org: Will Durst http://www.alternet.org/authors/will-durst-0 en 25 Essential and Hilarious Items to Pack for the Republican Convention in Cleveland http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/what-you-should-pack-cleveland <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">11. A couple of Bill Cosby albums for Roger Ailes to play at the Fox News party to help female staffers get “in the mood.”</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-07-17_at_2.33.05_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The national political conventions are a lot like professional wrestling. Sure, we know what's going to happen, but every four years, it's fun to see who’s throwing around chairs and getting slammed into the turnbuckle.</p><p>Each gathering offers up unique opportunities for mocking and scoffing and taunting purposes. And this Republican meeting on the banks of an eerie lake promises wacky zany antics a’plenty; like a Ringling Bros. circus tent with all the poles chewed through by termites in the middle of a Nor’easter.</p><p>Yours truly has made arrangements to travel to both the land of Cleve and the delphia of Phil and looks forward to being embedded in the upper Midwest just in time for the Humidity Festival the way a crustacean awaits boiling water.</p><p>And to clarify what we can expect, let him now share a list of indispensible items he’s taking to the first part of this summer sojourn. PACKING LIST FOR THE 41st GOP NATIONAL CONVENTION IN CLEVELAND, OHIO.</p><ul dir="ltr"><li>White shoes and belt to blend in with the fashion style known as the Full Cleveland.</li><li>A Trump University alumni ring to flash at security checkpoints.</li><li>“Make America Grate Again” hat.</li><li>A Cleveland Browns golf towel to wipe away the tears when visiting the Lee Atwater exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.</li><li>The secret password to get into the Log Cabin Republicans party, which always has the best appetizers.</li><li>Noting that the last 2 GOP national conventions were shortened a day because of hurricanes—an umbrella. Also designed to protect from the deluge of partisan splooey about to descend on the 216 area code.</li><li>Two packages of Tums to follow up taste tour of local pierogi shops.</li><li>Bandanna soaked in eyewash for a walk through the protest pit.</li><li>An Anonymous ID to present to authorities when apprehended in the protest pit.</li><li>A Guy Fawkes mask.</li><li>A couple of Bill Cosby albums for Roger Ailes to play at the Fox News party to help female staffers get “in the mood.”</li><li>Two stories of scaffolding and a case of hair spray in the unlikely event of being conscripted to groom The Donald’s hair.</li><li>A chauffeur’s cap to facilitate commandeering a limo after attending one of the good parties.</li><li>A baker’s dozen of Krispy Kreme donuts to assuage the ego of Chris Christie.</li><li>Snake bite serum.</li><li>A Six Wives Club t-shirt with the Donald and the Newt’s pictures on it.</li><li>A DVD of “Hoosiers” to get a sense of the Mike Pence experience. Director’s cut.</li><li>12 pack of Viagra for Bob Dole to sign.</li><li>Sunglasses to protect eyes from the legions of journalists and politicians who overused their white strips.</li><li>A hand mirror to occasionally hold up to the personality- challenged Mike Pence’s lips to insure he’s breathing.</li><li>A dowsing rod to root out the GOP donors who kept insisting that Jeb Bush was “the smart one.”</li><li>A roll of dimes, which, as waitresses all over town will be able to tell you, is the traditional Republican tip.</li><li>Portable espresso machine to stash in hotel room in attempt to stay awake.</li><li>Copy of the Kama Sutra to keep track of Donald Trump’s ever changing positions.</li><li>One Golden State Warriors sweatshirt in anticipation of next year’s Rubber Match.</li></ul> Sun, 17 Jul 2016 11:27:00 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 1060298 at http://www.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 gop will durst 13 Weird Ways Presidential Candidates Will Celebrate Holidays http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/13-weird-ways-presidential-candidates-will-celebrate-holidays <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">We have uncovered a few of the family traditions the presidential candidates plan on practicing this joyous season. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_318051839.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And a large part of what makes it so goldarn fabulous is the festive array of idiosyncratic traditions each family imprints on their holiday gene map like a candy cane tattoo on the soft flesh behind your knee.</p><p>Every family has their own take on wreaths, ornaments, mistletoe, cookies, carols, cards, 30-foot inflatable snowman, sleds perched precariously on rooftops, stockings, red &amp; green everything, poinsettias, yule logs, elves, nutcrackers, indoor lights, outdoor lights, lighted candles, lighted ornaments, lighted 30-foot inflatable snowmen, and musically co- ordinated, laser-lighted extravaganzas that can be seen from orbiting satellites.</p><p>There’s the foliage conundrum. Live tree or phony tree. Aluminum, plastic, flocked? Flocked aluminum? As long as it’s sincere. And the eternal question pondered by Western religious experts for centuries: tinsel or no tinsel?</p><p>My motley crew starts every gathering with generous amounts of adult amber beverages. We end them that way as well. And fill a large part of the middle. Because, as my lovely wife Debi Ann famously says, “every time a martini is shaken, an angel gets its wings.”</p><p>After a little investigative reportage, we here at Durstco have uncovered a few of the family traditions the presidential candidates plan on practicing this joyous season and present them here for your viewing pleasure.</p><p><strong>2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE HOLIDAY TRADITIONS.</strong></p><ul><li><p>Carly Fiorina will watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and root for Mr. Potter.</p></li><li><p>Ben Carson plans to hand out belts to the homeless that are 2 sizes too small to encourage them to diet.</p></li><li><p>Rick Santorum will trot out his annual “dangle the stuffed santa legs up the chimney” and encourage the kids shoot at them with shotguns to stress the importance of their 2nd Amendment rights.</p></li><li><p>Once again Bernie Sanders will hire a team of native Inuit caterers to roast an entire reindeer, which he then will refuse to eat.</p></li><li><p>The whole Donald Trump family will dress up in Santa Claus outfits and limo around New York City throwing lumps of coal at poor people.</p></li><li><p>Hillary Clinton annually commissions a local artist to create industrial strength tinsel, that in a pinch could be used to strangle members of the vast right wing conspiracy. Or husbands.</p></li><li><p>John Kasich spreads joy amongst yon round Ohio virgins.</p></li><li><p>Marco Rubio will travel back to his parents’ homeland of Cuba and try to dig up dirt on Ted Cruz’s father.</p></li><li><p>Ted Cruz will travel back to his father’s homeland of Cuba and try to dig up dirt on Marco Rubio’s family.</p></li><li><p>Jeb Bush plans to plaster a phony smile on his face and suffer through another family dinner where his father and brother tell fascinating stories about being Commander-in-Chief. Again.</p></li><li><p>Rand Paul and his father Ru revive an old Texas tradition by painstakingly separating their seasonal collection of fruitcakes into individual fruits, then throwing them at passing Volkswagen Vans.</p></li><li><p>Chris Christie’s holiday meal consists of low-calorie, Weight Watchers turkey dinners. 19 of them.</p></li><li><p>Mike Huckabee will organize a bus tour, dress as a vengeful god and scream holiday epithets outside entrances of Planned Parenthood.</p></li></ul><p>God bless us everyone. Or as we say in politically correct San Francisco, “may the corpulent bearded one in the scarlet suit smile upon your chosen shrubbery.” Flock it.</p> Tue, 22 Dec 2015 09:05:00 -0800 Will Durst, AlterNet 1047788 at http://www.alternet.org News & Politics Election 2016 News & Politics candidates election 2016 Pope Francis: Tree-Hugger or Commie? http://www.alternet.org/belief/pope-francis-tree-hugger-or-commie <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The pontiff&#039;s recent views on the environment have some calling him either the Green Pope or Comrade Pope.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/8da72cb87d4867b3045e94f086450e84d6dd5007.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>He gets under their skin like termites in a boathouse. Drives them crazier than Hillary Clinton and Yoko Ono dancing on a gay pride parade float. He’s the itch you can’t scratch. The thorn in the palm of their paw. The 3- inch scratch on their favorite Ted Nugent album. Talking about that hot new Catholic sensation, Pope Frankie.</p><p>At first it was his general commie pink yellow rat bastard predilection for focusing on the poor. “The poor. The poor. Why is it with him, always got to be about the goldarn poor.” But now the former Jorge Mario Bergoglio has issued an encyclical that claims humans are responsible for global warming. Did he not get the memo? Listen close and you can hear Mitch McConnell echo Henry II, “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?”</p><p>An encyclical sounds like half an encyclopedia or what happens when a bicycle pushes the edge of the envelope, but in reality, it’s the farthest a Pope can go without playing the infallibility card. A distinct possibility when the Head of the Catholic Church is intent on making a stink. Being infallible is the Vatican’s superpower. But something the smart Big Miters save for when they really really need it. Infallibility is not something you whip out in line at the grocery store. Like truffles, a little bit goes a long way.</p><p>In his 180- page “Laudato Si,” or “Be Praised,” the 267th Bishop of Rome’s (give or take a few) initial solo effort at a treatise, Francis calls on Catholics to make safeguarding the environment and battling climate change a top priority and couches saving the planet in moral terms. Which the GOP sees as a threat to everything they stand for and akin to waving a red flag in front of bull, papal or otherwise.</p><p>This move into environmentalism has prompted some supporters to call him the Green Pope, but conservatives increasingly refer to him as Comrade Francis, the Red Pope. But hey, wasn’t there another Christian guy who focused on the problems of the poor? What was his name, oh yeah, Christ. Whatever happened to him?</p><p>The big dilemma is how to respond. You can’t dismiss the Pope as a tree-hugging hippie liberal. He’s the Pope. Difficult to attack a man that 16% of the planet considers the vocal chords of the Big Angry Daddy in the Sky. A lobbyist for Arch Coal did rebuke him for not endorsing fossil fuels as a solution to poverty. Seriously. You can't make stuff up like this.</p><p>Catholic Rick Santorum objected to the papal paper, saying “we should leave the science to the scientists.” Unh- hunh. And then what, ignore them? Santorum is guy who doesn’t believe in evolution, and ironically, he is his own best argument. Then remember the Argentinian Pontiff is a chemist by trade and Santorum’s argument grows weaker than a lovesick songbird in Beijing.</p><p>But the Pope needs to be careful. If he doesn’t cool it with the focus on the least fortunate, the party that conducts rigorous experiments to guide camels through the eyes of needles will declare him Public Enemy #1. Easy to imagine Fox News blaming the Vatican for everything from illegal immigration, the death of Vince Foster and Benghazi.</p> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 09:05:00 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 1038316 at http://www.alternet.org Belief Belief Environment News & Politics Pope Francis environment climate change global warming 10 Pluses and Minuses of Being an Aging Baby Boomer http://www.alternet.org/culture/10-pluses-and-minuses-being-aging-baby-boomer <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The ups and downs of getting older.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2015-06-06_at_2.32.46_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Population scientists describe the Baby Boom generation as anybody born between the years 1946 and 1964. Which means the youngest of the Baby Boomers turned 50 last year, and the oldest will turn 70 next year, which is just so wrong. We Boomers are the architects of the youth culture. We invented young people for crum’s sakes. We’re the Pepsi Generation... that had a minor fling with Coke.</p><p>But fear not. As we evidenced throughout the entirety of our flower-powered history, this autumn of our lives will be charged into with unwavering optimism, a firm commitment to affect positive change and pockets full of drugs.</p><p>The first item of business that needs to be put in order is the nomenclature. Is it really necessary to refer to us as elderly seniors winding down our golden years? We’re vintage. Classic. Enduring. Seasoned. Steadfast. Resilient. Ripe. And accumulating ripagosity every day.</p><p>But all you kids out there shouldn’t think that growing old is all gloom and doom. No. No. No. There’s an equal amount of marvelous traveling hand in hand with the gruesome. Compare for yourself, the 10 major advantages and disadvantages of being an aging baby boomer.</p><p>The 10 Major Disadvantages to Being an Aging Baby Boomer:</p><p>1. Exorbitant cost of replacement parts.</p><p>2. Sex and drugs and rock and roll and now naps.</p><p>3. When acid flashbacks meet dementia. On Prozac.</p><p>4. Turns out that old adage was right: the good DO die young. Which explains why we’re still here.</p><p>5. Your children are no longer reliable sources when it comes to tech support and all the grandchildren have lost the ability to pick up a phone.</p><p>6. Grandma’s field of butterflies tattoo is now a flock of pterodactyls.</p><p>7. Looking at Harold &amp; Maude from Ruth Gordon’s point of view- not Bud Cort’s.</p><p>8. Rumors abound that despite the name, sexagenarians, alas, don’t really engage in a lot of sex.</p><p>9. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome, getting old means doing the same things you always did, with constantly varying results.</p><p>10. No jet packs.</p><p>The 10 Major Advantages to Being an Aging Baby Boomer:</p><p>1. Fewer peers means less peer pressure and it diminishes every day.</p><p>2. The phrase: “lifetime supply” becomes a much more imaginable concept.</p><p>3. Always one ear hair so long and thick you can cut cheese with it.</p><p>4. No longer have to worry about being the fresh young thing in prison. Sweet.</p><p>5. Knees are better at predicting the weather than that guy on TV.</p><p>6. Just saying “irritable bowel syndrome” creeps young people out so much they go away.</p><p>7. Can always tell people the battery in your hearing aid is shorting out, even when you’re not wearing a hearing aid.</p><p>8. Totally lack the energy and often forget to keep lifelong grudges active.</p><p>9. The Rolling Stones can be heard in elevators.</p><p>10. Going to the bathroom 3 times a night turns out to be a highly effective means of home security.</p> Sat, 06 Jun 2015 11:23:00 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 1037456 at http://www.alternet.org Culture Culture baby boomer will durst Can We Stomach It? Imagine Another Possible Bush vs. Clinton Showdown in 2016 http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/possible-bush-vs-clinton-showdown-2016 <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">If Jeb Bush leaning, considering, exploring — but we know what that means. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/f7dae7a7e6bca5e4dd9878f84c3391bd65887055.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Still recovering from the sonic bombshell dropped by Jeb Bush announcing he was officially upgrading his prospective candidate status from… considering the formation of an exploratory committee to investigate the feasibility of a possible run for the presidency to… actually authorizing the formation of an exploratory committee that will investigate the feasibility of a possible run for the presidency. Our little caterpillar is now one step closer to being a big bad beautiful butterfly.</p><p>No one will admit the obvious: that the efforts of this exploratory committee could boil down to a simple poll question asking potential voters to rate how deep is their well of Bush Fatigue, on a 1- 5 scale. With 1 being, “who cares what name is on the ballot, they’re all big fat liars anyway” to 5 indicating; “read my lips, no new Bushes. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Did I mention ever? Because I meant to say ever. Again.” (long pause) “Ever.”</p><p>John Ellis Bush, (Jeb for the initials) is son of George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President of the United States and younger brother of George Walker Bush, (Gwibby) the 43rd President. And proving that all things are relative, the former Florida Governor is generally considered “the smart one.”</p><p>Since sister Dorothy is a civilian, brother Marvin is retired, and other brother Neil’s main claim to fame is miraculously not being indicted in the Silverado Savings &amp; Loan debacle during the 80s, Jeb is the last great hope for the Bush Family to finally pull off a third invasion of Iraq and get it right.</p><p>The first Republican through the gate, Jeb will need to prove to the right and the righter that the only thing he has in common with his brother, father and/ or grandfather is their name and a bucket of money. To reinforce that impression, a major order of business might be to convince Dick Cheney to shut the hell up and stop reminding people who tortured what when.</p><p>Either way, the Democrats won’t likely harp too severely on how anathema the concept of dynasty is to this country, since their own front- runner is the wife of a former president named William Jefferson Clinton. #42. Meaning if the 2 of them win their parties’ nominations, that will make the 2016 race- Bush versus Clinton, a re- run of the 1992 election. Giving America the same choice it had 24 years ago. Only different. And not necessarily better.</p><p>Which will be great for all we comedians who can trot out our old 1992 material. It’s the green thing to do. Nostalgia and recycling: together again for the very first time. And for all you “history repeating itself” fanatics, in the year 2040, 24 further years down the electoral road, Hillary &amp; Bill’s daughter, Chelsea, will be 60, and Jeb’s son, George P., 64- and we can do it all over again. Again.</p><p>AND… if Jeb Bush actually does become the 45th POTUS, think of how great it would be for future American elementary school children who would be able to rattle off the answer to: “name the last 5 presidents” by counting their fingers: “Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Bush.” Like a club sandwich. With the Bushes as the white bread. And what could be more apropos than that?</p> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 07:11:00 -0800 Will Durst, AlterNet 1029088 at http://www.alternet.org News & Politics Election 2016 News & Politics The Right Wing jeb bush George Herbert Walker Bush george bush Top Ten Comedic News Stories Of 2014 http://www.alternet.org/culture/top-ten-comedic-news-stories-2014 <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">These events were just waiting to be lampooned. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_93202030.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><div>Hey guys, Will Durst here with your eagerly awaited Top Ten Comedic News Stories of 2014. Now, here’s the deal: please do not confuse these amusing accounts with the Top Ten Legitimate News Stories of 2014. No. No. No. They are as different as silky and spiky. Banjos and bullfrogs. Strawberry daiquiris and Chinese made assault rifles. Earrings and peas. Oh sure, we saw plenty examples of super serious humor-resistant stuff that went down over the previous twelve months, including but not limited to: Ebola infested ISIS members flying into Ferguson, Missouri on Malaysian Airlines, carrying pictures of Bill Cosby ogling Janay Rice’s butt.</div><div> </div><div>But fortunately, there were also quite a few events that lent themselves to massive humorosityness and for anyone looking for a column with the vision and courage to lampoon, satirize, mock, scoff, taunt, tease, rib, ridicule, josh, jibe and kid these episodes of entertaining elucidation, you’ve come to the right place. Because here they are: the Top Ten Comedic News Stories Of 2014 as determined by the executive council of the Comics, Clowns, Jesters &amp; Satirists Union, which, as you probably are already aware, is… me. Read em and weep.</div><div> </div><div>10. A new study by German scientists suggests that beer helps prevent prostate cancer. So let’s stop calling them bars, and start referring to them as what they really are: clinics. And we are self-administering patients.</div><div> </div><div>9. Winter Olympics in Sochi. The entire world is relieved when Vladimir Putin doesn’t enter the triathlon by slapping on skis to shoot Ukrainian journalists. Shirtless.</div><div> </div><div>8. Series of Ice Bucket Challenges sweep the country. Minor celebrities enjoy being seen as all wet. During the hazy days of summer. When the Polar Vortex comes calling, not so much.</div><div> </div><div>7. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford runs for re- election, but due to ill health has to pull out and convinces his brother to run. Torontoans refuse to give the Fords another crack at it.</div><div> </div><div>6. Pope Francis says his religious theology is not in opposition to evolution. This guy really does look determined to drag the Catholic Church kicking and screaming into the latter half of the 19th Century.</div><div> </div><div>5. Alaska, Oregon and DC join Washington &amp; Colorado in the legal marijuana club. Stock of Frito- Lay, the makers of Funyuns and Cheetos, skyrockets. </div><div> </div><div>4. Donald Sterling’s racist statements result in a lifetime ban from the NBA. And many folks hope he lives to be 105. And is forced to bunk with Cliven Bundy.</div><div> </div><div>3. The Midterm elections. Mitch McConnell says he wants to work with the President. Yeah, the same way a 5 year old with a magnifying glass wants to work with ants. Only a matter of time before GM is forced to recall McConnell as a faulty airbag.</div><div> </div><div>2. Arizona debates SB 1062, which would legalize bigotry based on religious beliefs. The return of Jim Crow with a cactus beat. The postal abbreviation AZ apparently stands for Angry Xenophobes. And yes, xenophobe starts with an “x” but they don’t know that.</div><div> </div><div>1. ObamaCare rollout. The President said it could have gone smoother. You think? An anvil studded with titanium spikes could have rolled smoother.</div> Sun, 07 Dec 2014 13:10:00 -0800 Will Durst, AlterNet 1028298 at http://www.alternet.org Culture Culture news 2014 comedy 21 Things to Be Grateful For This Thanksgiving From a Political Comic http://www.alternet.org/culture/21-things-be-grateful-thanksgiving-political-comic <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">From Obama to the new Congress, it&#039;s the gift that keeps on giving.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/ac47f353dd3daddd936325a31bf441db08c5139a.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->  You got to love Thanksgiving. You do. It’s the law. And be honest; doesn’t a little tryptophan poisoning amongst family and friends sound pretty comforting right about now? What with Ebola infested ISIS members slithering across the border carrying photos of Bill Cosby ogling Kim Kardashian’s butt? Besides, this holiday isn’t about greasing the wheels of capitalism with the fire hose of consumer debt like that other one just down the road. This one is about gluttony. Pure and simple. And the only attendant religiosity is praying the Cowboys lose. So allow me to express my gratitude for the 4th Thursday of November: it’s annual appearance being one of the little moments that makes life worth living. Right up until the 4th bottle of white Zin, when Aunt Hoogolah informs Uncle Bud how Grandpa characterized his turkey carving and all hell breaks loose. Nevertheless, here’s a few more blessed things that prompt this middle-aged, round-headed, political comic to get down on his knees and thank the maker.<ol><li>Barack Obama. Upcoming 3rd year of his 2nd term promises much bigger, knock- down, drag-out fights with the Republicans. Not to mention… the Democrats.</li><li>Chris Christie for so generously providing the comedy community with such a target rich environment including his Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Float- the only one which is actual size.</li><li>Anchor Steam Christmas Ale. Especially this year</li><li>Hillary Clinton who since 1992, no matter how much effluvium gets thrown at her, just keeps on keeping on, like the Energizer Bunny on steroids.</li><li>Ted Cruz for being crazier than Norman Bates after a dip in a psilocybin bath riddled with corn fungus.</li><li>The International Panel on Climate Change for finally just throwing up its hands and playing darts while drinking beer on the patio.</li><li>Sarah Palin, because she just can’t help herself.</li><li>Bill Clinton, because he just can’t help himself.</li><li>Fox News for incrementally ramping up the vitriol and hyperbole with the obvious goal of eventually featuring giant lizards spitting and clawing at each other.</li><li>Kim Kardashian who determinedly refuses to allow any lack of discernible talent keep her from becoming famous.</li><li>The entire Toronto Ford family including Rob and brother Doug for making American politicians feel better about themselves.</li><li>The airline industry who have driven customers to stow away amongst the landing gear in their never- ending search for legroom.</li><li>Donald Sterling who with his lifetime NBA ban should live to be 110.</li><li>Black Friday Creep for providing the requisite distraction allowing we gluttons to cop extra portions of pie.</li><li>For whoever is marrying Charles Manson. Just because.</li><li>For the entire State of Florida. Just because.</li><li>Harry Reid, for steadfastly refusing to be part of the solution.</li><li>Pope Francis and Pope Benedict, because 2, two, too Popes are better than one.</li><li>The 22nd Amendment: which, for 67 years, has proudly kept the American people from making the same mistake more than twice.</li><li>The GOP, waging an internal war for it’s very soul. GOP Soul. Short book. Put it on the shelf right next to Barack Obama Leadership Skills.</li><li>The Newly Elected 114th Congress. Because if you liked the 113th Congress, you’re going to love these guys. Exponential factor gridlock.</li></ol> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:06:00 -0800 Will Durst, AlterNet 1027663 at http://www.alternet.org Culture Culture thanksgiving Why Are People Going Nuts Over the Latest Smartphones? http://www.alternet.org/culture/why-are-people-going-nuts-over-latest-smartphones <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Anyone depending that much on an accessory for their identity doesn’t need a new phone -- they need a new life.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/8a23c87205dda0e7b4892e0e2d044648ed860b83.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><div>Shake off the blues, put on your shoes, and tell grandma the news: the next generation iPhones are here. Cue the “woo- hoos.” And guess what: they’re huge. Or not. You choose. It’s like iGoldilocks. There’s a small, a medium and a large. And the best part- no bears.</div><div> </div><div>The iPhone 6 is a little bigger than the previous models but the iPhone 6 Plus looks like they shrunk the Minipad. Or tiny iPad. Or whatever they call it. “Is that an iPhone 6 Plus in your pocket or are you just really really happy to see me?” All across America, Baby Boomers are raising 8 ounce glasses of prune juice in grateful toasts. They can finally see their buttons. These phablets are fabulous.</div><div> </div><div>In other fruit computer news, the iWatch did not turn out to be the iWatch: it’s the Apple Watch. Even though the company filed for trademark protection in about 100 markets for the right to call it the iWatch. Of course, the wrist- bound marvel doesn’t become iAvailable until 2015. Or when iSwatch freezes over.</div><div> </div><div>In response to the new releases, the Galaxy Android Samsung contingent (GAS) has ramped up their troll- like flame campaign to shame and defame Apple for belatedly matching the lame technology of their sacred superior smart phones. But in such a piercing stridency, one thinks- perhaps they doth protest too much. If whining were beer, these guys would be a frat party during Octoberfest. In Bavaria.</div><div> </div><div>Can’t figure out what it is about these modern communication devices that makes people so crazy. You never hear Lexus owners bashing Acura drivers for finally acquiring contrasting leather stitching on their reclining heated leather seats. Brioni doesn’t claim that Kiton suits are seasons old knock- offs with materials drawn from substandard sheep. Wustof wouldn’t dream of accusing Henckels of stealing their edge design. They might think it.</div><div> </div><div>People, settle down. For crum’s sake. Who cares? They’re phones. A few cosmetic differences but 99% exactly the same. Anyone depending that much on an accessory for their identity doesn’t need a new phone, they need a new life. Smart phones wielded by dumb users.</div><div> </div><div>And next time, pick a feud that’s two- sided: Appleheads couldn’t care less about you Androidites, which probably heightens the frustration. Of course the Apple community is so myopically loyal they would line up to buy the next iteration of Jobsian progeny even if the only new feature was a rotary dial. “No battery? You got to plug it into an outlet? Will it still have the cute little Apple logo and be almost completely useless as a phone? Okay. Whatever.”</div><div> </div><div>Used to be the hippest of phones kept getting smaller until it seemed you would need tweezers to make a call. But with streaming video such a big part of our lives, we’re headed towards a 19 inch model that requires iSaddlebags on an iPony to shepherd it across town. All optional, of course.</div><div> </div><div>Then again, a few of us are still waiting for the phone that will dry the dishes and do the laundry. “Siri? Are you down there? Don’t forget to separate the colors. I swear. That girl would lose her head if it weren’t preinstalled.”</div> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 06:07:00 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 1020271 at http://www.alternet.org Culture Culture apple iphone ipad Samsung Galaxy android Smartphone The Republicans in Congress Are the Biggest Bunch of Slackers Around http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/republicans-congress-are-biggest-bunch-slackers-around <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">This August, Congress is, in essence, taking a vacation from nothing. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_204415774.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><div>More fun than fourteen barrels of flunkies watching our elected officials exit Washington like scared rats streaming out of a sewer to escape Godzilla. And really, who can blame them. Anybody who’s ever spent a summer in DC can tell you the climate is real similar to Hell. With humidity. Then again, not sure even Hell has winged insects the size of footstools. It’s not called Foggy Bottom because that’s the first thing that springs to mind when Diane Feinstein walks away, you know.</div><div> </div><div>Funny thing is, this is the same Congress that lies on the verge of breaking all previous records for complete and utter futility. The Zero Zip Zilch Crew. Who have ridden lethargy into the ground and taken loitering to bold new heights. Or is it depths? Folks who would need hydraulic mechanical assists to raise their attitudes from stuporous to torpid. From the lair of the drugged slugs. Debi Does Drowsy.</div><div> </div><div>In essence, they’re taking a vacation from nothing. Which is a lot like waking up to take a nap. Topping breakfast off with a sleeping pill. Floating off to a loafing, lay- about layoff. Playing hide and seek with the mirror. And losing.</div><div> </div><div>The 113th Congress is destined to go down in history as the most Do- Nothingest Congress of all time. Accomplishing less than all the other Do- Nothing Congresses combined. Which is saying something, because there were plenty.</div><div> </div><div>“Proud to Put the Nothing in the Do- Nothing Congress.” Enshrined as the undisputed heavyweight champion of Indolence. The Friends of Inertia. Slouching towards SlouchVille. The Slacker Congress.</div><div> </div><div>What we the public fail to understand is that nothing can be downright tiring. Yes, there’s the failure to pass a highway bill or any hint of immigration reform, but let’s focus on the positive. During the past 19 months, the Republican- controlled House has shut down the government and voted to defund or repeal Obama Care about a gazillion times and don’t forget the 2 dozen or so Benghazi hearings. They have definitely earned that approval rating lower than thumbtacks in your underwear while riding a motorcycle. Over railroad tracks.</div><div> </div><div>And now these hordes of professional indolents have slipped the surly bonds of sloth and been released into their home districts to freely roam amongst we innocents as a 5 week recess begins. One question: how do you relax after suffering through the arduous routine of nothing? Slip into a coma? Binge watch The Leftovers? Will sunstroke play an integral part? And not just any vacation: a five- week paid vacation. Who told our esteemed representatives we were Europe?</div><div> </div><div>The odd part is… they have to. It’s the law. The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 requires Congress to take off the entire month of August. Not sure, but perhaps it was in response to members of Congress wandering aimlessly en masse in our nation’s capital during peak tourist season; frightening small children and prompting plaintive cries from local merchants.</div><div> </div><div>All we can do is hope our pooped populist politicos finally get some quality downtime, in order to come back tan and rested and ready for the tough task of remaining inactive and unable to pass any sort of worthwhile legislation when they return after Labor Day. Pretty obvious, that holiday sure weren’t named after these guys.</div><div><em> </em></div><div><em>Copyright ©2014, Will Durst. Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to <a href="http://willdurst.com/" target="_blank">willdurst.com</a> to find about more about the new documentary film “3 Still Standing,” and a calendar guide to personal appearances including Aug 12- 17 at Zanies Downtown Chicago and his new one- man show “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG.”</em></div> Sun, 10 Aug 2014 11:37:00 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 1014964 at http://www.alternet.org The Right Wing Comics The Right Wing Visions congress GOP Votes to Give Boehner Authority to Sue Obama ... and Screw Up Congress for the History of Eternity http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/gop-votes-give-boehner-authority-sue-obama-and-screw-congress-history-eternity <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">By suing the Chief Executive, you’re not just opening any box of worms; you’re opening Pandora’s box of worms.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/436dff22ce240a84454542353cb2c15922b00954.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><div>In a move less surprising than hot dogs at a ballgame, the House of Representatives voted Speaker John Boehner the authority to sue the President of the United States. This isn’t like a divorce, or a civil suit for money, it’s more of a restraining order. They want Obama to quit trying to resuscitate the government they’ve been working so hard to render unconscious.</div><div> </div><div>On one hand, it’s a brilliant tactical move. Nobody can call them a Do-Nothing Congress anymore. “Do nothing? What are you talking about? We sued the President.” Many see the action as a stopgap measure to quiet the crazies on the right, who continue to demand nothing less than impeachment. And this is Impeachment Lite.</div><div> </div><div>Problem is, they did it immediately before scurrying home on a five- week summer recess, so its not like a multitude of other accomplishments are destined to overwhelm this freakish folly in the near future. This being an important upcoming break, in which Congress will engage in the pivotal business of meeting with constituents and squeezing money out of them for their re-election. Does the term, “every last dime” have any meaning here?</div><div> </div><div>The excuse given for the lawsuit is Obama illegally delayed the implementation of Obama Care. Seriously. That’s what he claims to be mad at. Not just the very same Obama Care the Speaker and his buddies tried to scuttle over half a hundred times. But the very same delayed implementation to Obama Care the Speaker and his buddies tried to pass. If irony were bananas, Boehner would be Brazil.</div><div> </div><div>Obviously something had to be done. Getting way too close to the midterms to try and repeal Obama care anymore. Turns out people like it. Even the Tea Party has moved on, which is like saying the train fell over. Immigration reform is their new chew toy, which also went down in flames due to internecine warfare. National political gridlock is old hat: internal party gridlock is the coming thing.</div><div> </div><div>To be honest, Democrats love this kind of talk. Their fervent hope is Boehner continues to contract heat prostration working on his tan. Nothing opens the spigot on the donation hose faster than GOP intransigence. It may be nothing more than a fund raising stunt but it works for everybody. Seems like the crazier the Speaker and his buddies get, the more money for the November elections. For both sides.</div><div> </div><div>Makes a person wonder what’s next: is Boehner going to sue Sarah Palin for being reluctant to say ridiculous things? Take Mitt Romney to court for refusing to dominate the headlines the last two years? Charge the Supreme Court with voting along party lines too often?</div><div> </div><div>There are so many things wrong with this move, you need a rubber spread sheet and an accountant on Thorazine to work them all out. By suing the Chief Executive, you’re not just opening any box of worms; you’re opening Pandora’s box of worms. Worms with Greek teeth. And venomous talons.</div><div> </div><div>This could very well work as a template to screw things up in Congress for the history of eternity. Of course if the case does persist and follows the average speed of your normal federal lawsuit, it won’t see the light of day until much, much later. Probably the middle of Hillary Clinton’s second term.</div> Sat, 02 Aug 2014 12:44:00 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 1013952 at http://www.alternet.org The Right Wing News & Politics The Right Wing obama gop congress lawsuit Thanks to the GOP, America Has Gotten Stuck...on Stuck http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/thanks-gop-america-has-gotten-stuckon-stuck <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Republicans are quick to attack the president to hide the fact they haven&#039;t done anything themselves. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/782bf34d869ef8f0ddfeb067d6aa6e3137a3a05c.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Just following the will of the people.” That’s been the GOP rationalization for accomplishing absolutely nothing for five and a half years. Doesn’t matter what the issue is. Immigration. Jobs. Infrastructure. Climate change. Banking reform. The proliferation of substandard dental schools in Nebraska. According to them, the people want… zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. And to mask their inaction, Republicans have coordinated a feeding frenzy that would make rabid hyenas jealous. Something about Obama drives them crazier than chocolate banana fritters with raspberry sprinkles in a bento box. Maybe because he’s the smartest guy in the room and not the least bit shy about sharing that opinion. Maybe he’s the ultimate anti- Bush. Or there’s something about him that looks different. Extremely different. Could be the ears.</p><p>What it boils down to is… “Open Season on Obama.” The memos have circulated. The strategy is conspicuous. To derail any possible presidential accomplishment by stalling progress and tossing a continuous slew of dastardly insults onto and at his person. And the mud is flying faster than fingers in a steno pool. Different circus. Same clowns.</p><p>John Boehner plans to sue the President. For what? Not even he knows, but you can be sure, the term “smarty pants” will be bandied about. He did drop some tidbit about objecting to the President changing the employer mandate to Obama Care, but that can’t be the source of his irritation, since the GOP insisted on it. It would be like slapping some other family’s child for obeying you.</p><p>Dick Cheney called him the Worst President of his lifetime. Which is quite a coincidence, since many argue Dick Cheney was the worst president of Obama’s lifetime. Obama should actually take solace from this charge, since Dick Cheney has been pretty much wrong about pretty much everything since at least 1999.</p><p>Sarah Palin called for the POTUS to be impeached. And Sarah Palin demanding punishment of someone for not properly fulfilling an office is another of those “pot with the kettle and the color black” situations the Republicans are so renown. The needle on the irony meter just crazy spun then melted.</p><p>Rick Perry accused the President of orchestrating the conspiracy responsible for a deluge of Central American kids crossing the border. And he said it while wearing his new studious looking glasses, so you know he’s serious. Also, the fact he correctly pronounced the word “conspiracy,” is a huge upgrade.</p><p>These attacks are perfectly timed to kick the President while he’s down. Right now his approval rating has sunk lower than scorpion- infested, throw- pillows filled with mold spores. Like a tray of hickory smoked baby back ribs at a PETA convention. Tacks in a bath. What Obama needs is a Rob Ford, Francois Hollande moment. A video of him naked, smoking crack with Lindsay Lohan, to go viral.</p><p>Republicans even complain Obama is a do- nothing President. With Mitch McConnell stalling every advance in the Senate and the House and Supreme Court lined up against him, it’s a miracle they’re able to get Flag Day commemorations through Congress.</p><p>Makes a person worry this political paralysis may be the new normal and we’ll never be able to affect positive change ever again. Instead of the status quo, we got the status no. America has gotten stuck… on stuck.</p> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 07:54:00 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 1013288 at http://www.alternet.org News & Politics News & Politics republicans barack obama How to Watch the World Cup http://www.alternet.org/culture/how-watch-world-cup <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">&#039;Make your own red and yellow cards and hold them up when you need snacks,&#039; and other (hilarious) tips.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_187146461.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><div>The refrain has echoed across the globe our entire lives. “The World Cup is the most exciting sporting event on the face of the planet. Bigger than the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup and World Series combined and go ahead, throw in the next Star Wars movie especially with Carrie Fischer and Harrison Ford dragging their walkers through it.”</div><div> </div><div>We Americans should be congratulated for finally growing up and stopping with the mocking, “Oh, really. Soccer? So what’s the second most exciting sporting event on the planet then, the Norwegian Army Widows Seal Clubbing Tournament? Does the Desert Tricycle- Built- for- 2 Marathon Relay Seniors Tour come in third? ”</div><div> </div><div>No. We’re sophisticated now. Look at the huge leaps Major League Soccer has made in the last couple years, easily propelling itself to 8th or 9th most popular team sport in the country: right behind football, basketball, baseball, hockey, bowling, beach volleyball, polo and lacrosse. And maybe badminton. Jai Alai. And in some regions, cow tipping and pie eating.</div><div> </div><div>But whether you call it soccer, futbol or boring, Pele got it right when he called it: “O jogo bonito.”  The Beautiful Game. We occasional spectators from the Estados Unidos just need to learn how to watch the darn thing.</div><div> </div><div>HOW TO WATCH THE 2014 WORLD CUP.</div><div> </div><div>Choose a team to root for. Every match. Pick the land of your ancestors. Or the land next to the land of your ancestors. Teams from your own hemisphere. Orange is your favorite color. Been there. Always wanted to go there. But always root for the underdog, because that could include us.</div><div>Choose teams to root against. Hiss and boo the squads whose victory would impede your favorite’s progress or just root against overbearing bullying countries. Which again, could include us. Root against the country that invaded the land of your ancestors. Or go traditional, and root against the Axis powers. Or some of the more obstreperous Allies.</div><div> </div><div>The World Cup should be watched with people. Preferably at a bar frequented by the countrymen of the team you’re rooting for. But do some research. You don’t want to show up at a French bar in Italian colors. As simple as wearing green instead of blue.  </div><div> </div><div>If you must watch it at home, turn on Univision, not ESPN. The announcers are much more entertaining. You know the guy who goes “GOOOOOAAL” when someone scores? He screams like that all the time: at a penalty, when someone almost scores, even when players trip and fall, clutching their face like they were sliced by a machete. Which is not flopping. Its injury simulation.</div><div> </div><div>You need a big ass TV. The bigger the better. 70 inches is a good start. Because soccer is fond of cameras fastened to the inside edge of the International Space Station.</div><div> </div><div>Make your own red and yellow cards and hold them up when you need snacks or beer. Really makes non- watchers feel part the game.</div><div>Complain about the refereeing. Every knowledgeable fan does. These guys don’t speak the same language as the players. But they do have spray paint. Which is so cool. Something the NFL might want to consider.</div><div> </div><div>And go USA. And anybody who plays the country that invaded the land of your ancestors. Which, once again, could be us.</div> Sun, 22 Jun 2014 10:59:00 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 1005566 at http://www.alternet.org Culture Culture World world cup soccer sports brazil Our Phone Obsession Is Turning Us Into Zombies http://www.alternet.org/culture/our-phone-obsession-turning-us-zombies <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Yes, the Zombie Apocalypse has materialized and we are it.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_115123381.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><div>You see them staggering down our streets, heads bowed as if in prayer making the occasional grunting noise. Mindless drooling de-animated human husks walking blindly into fountains, crosswalks and lamp posts. Wake up People. We are in the middle of a science fiction movie here. Welcome to the Invasion of the Phone Zombies.</div><div> </div><div>Yes, the Zombie Apocalypse has materialized and we are it. Everywhere you look you find the deathlike trance- frozen faces of we necromantic slaves with twitching fingers. Spending endless empty hours mesmerized by our tiny screens. An entire society that can’t remember its own phone number, much less that of any significant other. Of course, compared to our magical phones, there are no significant others.</div><div> </div><div>Our smart phones are being manipulated by some very dumb people. Sure, amazing things can be accomplished: check the weather patterns in Outer Mongolia. Translate French past participles into Farsi. Order a chess set made out of imitation crab meat in the shape of the characters from 12 Years a Slave and have it delivered to our house before getting back from work. But in the meantime, we are developing the attention span of high- speed lint. And the personalities.</div><div> </div><div>The contagion has spread everywhere. Stall zombies in public rest rooms that hog the enclosed sanctum to play a quick round of Fruit Ninja. Or two. Nightlife zombies who ignore the jokes onstage so they can respond with multiple LOLs on their electronic leash. Tangentially ambulatory zombies who get into their car but refuse to leave parking spots until checking in with High Command. Vacation zombies who spend thousands of dollars to stare at their phones in distant exotic lands.</div><div> </div><div>And we zombies have proved desperate to swell our ranks. Zombifying others via slide presentations of cute cats cavorting. Even attempting to recruit potential zombie converts through such subhuman treatment as incessant shame and humiliation. “Seriously. That’s your phone? Who made it: Daewoo? Is that the fabled rotary cell phone? Must be neat to have Teddy Roosevelt on your speed dial. Bet your roaming charges are huge. Play much ‘snake’ lately?”</div><div> </div><div>While our forefingers develop biceps and our thumbs evolve to the size of zucchini, society continues its deep deterioration. Groups of friends who have lost the will to converse, huddling together solely for warmth and light. Drivers staring into their laps, their faces reflecting an eerie glow. Entire families walking past each other hypnotized by their devices, going days without engaging in any major argument.</div><div> </div><div>Dealing with the chronically anesthetized is exhausting. Who hasn’t tired of politely turning after being addressed only to find it’s some zombie in a suit on a Bluetooth talking to himself? But the worst are the suited Bluetoothed elevator zombies. Shut your piehole dirtwipe. Nobody here cares to know how many units need to be transferred to Topeka byWednesday; we would pay good money to see some Topeka stuffed up your unit today.</div><div> </div><div>In order to contain this pandemic, the CDC should issue a directive that encourages the unzombified to punch Bluetoothed elevator zombies right in their ear. Hard. Multiple times. And when the stupefied ones wake from their narcoleptic slumber and turn with confused expressions, inform them that it was all in the interest of the greater good. A blow for the sake of civilization itself.</div><div> </div><div> </div><div>Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to <a href="http://willdurst.com/" target="_blank">willdurst.com</a> to find about more about his new one- man show “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG,” info about the documentary film “3 Still Standing,” and a calendar guide to personal appearances including June 13 &amp; 14 in Arcata &amp; Redway.</div> Sun, 08 Jun 2014 10:48:00 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 1000632 at http://www.alternet.org Culture Comics Culture phone zombie smart phone technology If You Thought Oligarchy and Aristocracy Were Bad, You'll Really Hate Kochocracy http://www.alternet.org/economy/if-you-thought-oligarchy-and-aristocracy-were-bad-youll-really-hate-kochocracy <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The lords of a vast oil empire are buying up our entire democracy with a fraction of their fortune.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/koch_bros_0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><div>In the bad old days, medieval German Lords figured out how to pocket some quick coin by charging a toll on the primitive paths meandering across their lands. The money wasn’t used to improve the roads or better the lives of the peasants or clean the rivers their pigs pooped in but rather heighten the piles in their treasury. Even back then, you just couldn’t have enough pewter candlesticks.</div><div> </div><div>These were the first robber barons. Literally. Rich people whose sole pursuit was to survive to become richer people. A criminal aristocracy. A term history has proved redundant.</div><div> </div><div>During the Gilded Age, the flushest one percent of the country held one-third of the national income. In the 1920s, this figure ramped up to two-fifths. Molehills compared to today’s mountainous wealth, where the richest 400 American families control more money than the poorest 165 million of their fellow citizens put together. And if all 165 million were knelt end to end, those 400 families would have footrests from any compass point.</div><div> </div><div>Six members of the Walton Family have accrued as much money as the bottom 41 percent of all Americans. Now, how hard would it be for them to cover the health care of Walmart employees? They’d still be worth as much as the bottom 34 percent. How many pewter candlesticks does one family need? You’d think they could get them wholesale. </div><div> </div><div>In decision after decision, the Supreme Court has equated money with free speech. Which would be great if it meant the more we spoke, the more we’re worth. But, alas, no. That’s not the deal. Pretty much the opposite, come to think of it.</div><div> </div><div>Rich people have exploited these high court rulings like foxes given skeleton keys to the Tyson chicken empire. Any politician who espouses lowering taxes on the rich and blunting the powers of the poor gets backed. With unlimited sums. Of course the poor have free speech too, but we might as well be whispering downstage at a Metallica concert.</div><div> </div><div>A plutocracy is a society where the rich make the rules — quickly becoming our norm. The ninth richest man in the world, Sheldon Adelson, focuses on politicians whose Israeli policies most closely mirror his. That’s it. One issue. In 2012, he gave 90 million to various GOP presidential candidates. And in the next election cycle, he is reportedly ready to triple that number, recently holding auditions in Las Vegas for his own personal presidential candidate American Idol. Once again: not Clay Aiken.</div><div> </div><div>The most Darth-like of the new Robber Barons are the Koch brothers, David and Charles, each richer than Adelson. These self-made inheritors of a vast oil empire are responsible for jumpstarting the Tea Party and ALEC, and are now hand picking candidates all over the country — pouring in vast amounts of money to get them and their skewed legacies elected. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is one of the first generation Kochbots. And a bit glitchy.</div><div> </div><div>If so desired, the Koch family could spend a billion dollars a year for the next 85 years buying politicians. Bankrupting the rest of us through Kochbot legislated tolls on the primitive paths meandering across Koch owned lands. Especially egregious when ALL lands are Koch owned. Get ready for the American Kochocracy.</div> Sat, 31 May 2014 11:03:00 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 998089 at http://www.alternet.org Economy Culture Economy Labor Visions kock brothers oligarchy plutocracy The Govt. Could Be Using Drano Flavored Jell-o for All We Know to Execute Inmates http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/govt-could-be-using-drano-flavored-jell-o-all-we-know-execute-inmates <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">We’re running out of toxic methods to kill people legally, and so the govt. has taken to hiding what&#039;s in its special sauce.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/composite_cappundmcguire_0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>You’d think that we Americans would have enough stuff to worry about. Severe drought desiccating a third of the country. A political system whose major talent is demonstrating stasis in action. The rich using the poor as fleshy paving stones for the road to mansions on the hill. Ben Affleck as Batman.</p><p>But, guess what — apparently not enough stuff to worry about, because now we’re running out of ways to kill people. Legally, that is. Accidentally and illegally we’re doing just fine. Might even say it’s become a robust and vigorous pursuit.</p><p>Talking about carrying out the death penalty. Although the word “penalty” always seems to criminally understate the case. Over the years, civilizations have evolved in how to rid themselves of their various nefarious. They cycled through stoning, strangulation, beheading, death by 1000 cuts, hanging, firing squad, guillotine, electric chair, before finally settling on poison, deemed the most humane. First the gas chamber and now, even more humane, lethal injection. So humane, we swab the injection point with alcohol, which is like repainting the shutters before burning down a house.</p><p>Problem is, the producer of the go-to-lethal injection drug, Thiopental, stopped making it. States turned to a different drug called Pentobarbital, but the Danish manufacturer didn’t enjoy being associated with executions, and pulled the plug. Now, the states’ Departments of Killing People on Purpose are resorting to unreliable and possibly illegal sources, and refusing to reveal those methods; meaning for all we know, they could be shooting inmates up with Drano flavored Jell-O.</p><p>These punishments are being carried out on behalf of We the People: so We the People should have a say in the process. It’s the 21st Century, for crum’s sake. Why not kill the condemned creatively? Film it for pay-per-view. Strike a deal with Amazon Prime and make some coin on the back end. There’s tons of ways to end a miscreant’s life that would be a barrel of fun to watch and still insure justice gets done.</p><p>For instance, imagine the merriment to be shared if a convicted man were forced to spend an entire evening in the company of Joan Rivers. Death would not only be instantaneous, it would be hilarious.</p><p>Or what if one of the soon-to-be-deceased were dispatched to act as Chris Christie’s pedicab driver when visiting Atlantic City?</p><p>Perhaps a position could be arranged as Vladimir Putin’s Ukrainian food taster.</p><p>Becoming Barack Obama’s personal pollster would certainly drive any sane man mad.</p><p>Sentencing denizens of death row to carry Michael Bloomberg’s ego might be an amusing spectacle. Or would that be considered cruel and unusual?</p><p>Assign one as sole salesmen at the only New York City based Foot Locker to distribute the next re-release of Air Jordan classics.</p><p>Forced to endure an entire season on Dancing With the Stars as Chelsea Handler’s partner. An excruciating proposition.</p><p>Spend the Christmas season in Times Square dressed in the Disney character costume of Iago from Aladdin.</p><p>Got 3 words for you, people: CSI: Miami binge-a-thon.</p><p>And finally, the state could force the reprobate to wear Google Glass into dive bars all over the Mission District of San Francisco. And the beauty of it is: they function as their own cameraman.</p> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 10:02:00 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 983967 at http://www.alternet.org News & Politics Civil Liberties News & Politics comedy political commentary political comedy will durst capital punishment death penalty Dennis McGuire Thiopental Pentobarbital 50 Shades of Cool—Obama's Mercurial Political Persona http://www.alternet.org/visions/50-shades-cool-obamas-mercurial-political-persona <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Even the GOP can’t decide if he’s a hopeless novice or a demagoguing dictator.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2014-03-16_at_12.20.15_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><div dir="ltr"><div><div><div><div>It was more amusing than piano-playing kittens to see Barack Obama plug the Affordable Care Act on Zach Galifianakis’ internet comedy show. Not late night. Not basic cable. An internet show: “Between 2 Ferns.” Even funnier was the president trotting out the same expression he normally reserves for Bill O’Reilly interviews.</div><div> </div><div>The Chief Executive is apparently working his way down the marketing food chain. Next it’ll be ObamaCare coupons under windshield wipers in the parking lots of flea markets. Then a series of laminated ads posted above urinals. Won’t be long before Joe Biden is wearing a giant syringe costume twirling a sign on Pennsylvania Ave.</div><div> </div><div>The president is not new to the humor game. He’s proven his comedy chops o’plenty at previous functions, but even professional comedians have problems holding their own with the bearded Hangover franchise comic’s trademark condescending snark. 44, however, traded disdainful barbs like a Catskills trained tummler. Looks like the ordeal of dealing with Hillary’s State Department staff finally paid off. Can’t wait for him speak to Putin with the same sort of Borscht Belt pushback.</div><div> </div><div>This was Comedy Obama at his finest. Just one of the many guises we’ve seen Honolulu’s favorite son adopt. There’s Diplomatic Obama. Arrogant Obama. Tolerant Obama. Supercilious Obama. Hollywood Obama. Mississippi Obama. New Boss Obama. And Same as the Old Boss Obama.</div><div> </div><div>Might explain why the country is thisclose to contracting a serious case of Multiple Presidential Personality Disorder. He’s President Sybil. Playing more roles than the tall kid who shaves at a summer Shakespeare camp.</div><div> </div><div>Doctors say the onset of Dissociative Identity Disorder can be traced to trauma and its entirely possible the Republican Party is responsible for these many faces of Eve, er, Barack. For 5 years the President has been hit in the head more often than an armless soccer goalie in a World Cup shootout. Of course, he could be setting himself up for an insanity defense. Mitch McConnell would be well advised to hire extra security.</div><div> </div><div>The Oval Office Shapeshifter’s pre POTUS resume was pretty tame. Kenyan. Kansan. Hawaiian. Community organizer. Constitutional law professor. State Senator. US Senator. Marijuana advocate. Audacity encourager.</div><div> </div><div>It’s only since 2009 that we’ve been treated to a kaleidoscope of eccentric facets. He’s a jock. A nerd. Cheerleader. Teacher’s pet. Motorcycle riding bad boy. Probably a closet band geek. Party standard bearer. Good will ambassador. Policy enforcer. Al Green impersonator.</div><div> </div><div>He’s half black. He’s half white. Ramrod. Contortionist. Healer. Divider. Defender of transparency. Master spy. Outlaw. Sheriff. Muslim. Christian. Politician. Citizen. Figurehead. Hood ornament. White hatted hero. Melodramatic villain. A puppet, a poet, a pawn and a king.</div><div> </div><div>Even the GOP can’t decide if he’s a hopeless novice or a demagoguing dictator. The right wing paints him as a radical jihadist while left wing progressives whine he’s a cowering conciliator. Making him a little bit Malcolm X and a little bit Urkel.</div><div> </div><div>Barack Obama is harder to pin down than an eel in a butter sculpture. A Nobel Peace Prize winner or the Manchurian Candidate. He’s either the classiest of cats or Captain Clueless. Relentless shark or a spineless jellyfish. Power mad knight errant or lute strumming eunuch. Or maybe he’s all of them. 50 shades of cool. Or drool. Perspective is everything.</div></div></div></div></div><p> </p> Sun, 16 Mar 2014 12:06:00 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 970987 at http://www.alternet.org Visions Visions obama president politics politician comedy affordable care act obamacare between 2 ferns Arizona's Absurd Legislation: It's Not the Hate, It's the Stupidity http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/arizonas-absurd-legislation-its-not-hate-its-stupidity <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Sure, the governor vetoed what would have been a religious Jim Crow—but for all the wrong reasons.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/jan_brewer_by_gage_skidmore_3.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><div>Alright. Woo-hoo. We’re partying now. With the kind of enthusiasm normally reserved for sorting Phillips head screws from flat head screws, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer publicly vetoed SB 1062, legislation that would provide legal cover to businesses denying services based on the operator’s religious beliefs. The return of Jim Crow with a cactus beat.</div><div> </div><div>Yes, the finger jabbing governess banged down the brakes of the bigot bill. And the disappointment rumbling through the evangelical community caused snakes to be mishandled all the way to Eastern Tennessee.</div><div> </div><div>Give the lady credit. She hemmed. She hawed. She deliberated. Took her time like a molasses coated snail slogging up Everest against the wind in the dead of winter. The right thing was done; for the wrong reasons. The same way deciding not to drink that 8th beer was a smart move whether the cause was self- restraint or misplacing the bottle opener under the front seat.</div><div> </div><div>Mostly it was the threat of another state-wide economic boycott including the possibility of losing a second Super Bowl that did the trick. Once again, the NFL trumps religion. Of course, if those darn liberals hadn't put up such a stink, she would have signed it so fast it would make a roadrunner's head spin, mid beep- beep. </div><div> </div><div>Ironically, Brewer’s painstakingly lackadaisical response was responsible for ratcheting up the backlash that inflamed the country. She inadvertently gave the press time to trumpet the story. And the resulting uproar bodes as well for the umpteen other states considering similar legislation as a dead gila monster- head in your Frosted Flakes.</div><div> </div><div>This is what happens when the tourist industry, the business community, the state’s 2 GOP US Senators and even some of the bill’s co- sponsors turn against it. With friends like these, who needs enemas?</div><div> </div><div>You’d think that vetoing a bill that sanctioned discrimination would be a no- brainer, but no- brainers aren’t quite the sure thing in Arizona. This is the state famous for voting against recognizing Martin Luther King’s Birthday as a holiday and encouraging local police to stop anybody with a tan on both their arms. Not to mention Alice Cooper.</div><div> </div><div>Perhaps Arizona legislators are unaware that religions other than Christianity exist, because depending on the faith of the business owner, this bill would have allowed folks to refuse service not just for sexual orientation but for sporting nail polish, fastening pants with zippers or eating shellfish. The burning hunger for desert shellfish having been dealt with many millennia ago.</div><div> </div><div>Not wearing a hat offends some gods. While the wearing of hats offends others. The gods, they are sartorially conflicted. Suspected of engaging in premarital sex, no ice cream for you. Divorced patrons can purchase their organic rutabagas somewhere else, thank you very much. Wear a turban? Don’t need a couch. Customers would need to take a urine test every time they dropped something off at the dry cleaners.</div><div> </div><div>With every piece of ludicrous legislation, it becomes increasingly apparent that AZ- the postal abbreviation for the Grand Canyon State- stands for Angry Zenophobes. And yes, xenophobe is actually spelled with an X, but the insensible and intolerant denizens of Arizona are probably unaware of that. Arizona: the American Uganda. It’s not the hate, it’s the stupidity.</div> Sun, 02 Mar 2014 10:51:00 -0800 Will Durst, AlterNet 965013 at http://www.alternet.org The Right Wing The Right Wing arizona Subway, Eat Fresh... Plastic http://www.alternet.org/food/subway-eat-fresh-plastic <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The sandwich chain uses an additive in its bread whose principle use lies in the production of plastic foam products like yoga mats and sneaker soles.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/sub.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><div><div> </div><div>No matter who you are or where you live or what you drive or whether you thought The English Patient or Anchorman 2 the funnier movie, it is time to take a stand on plastic bread. Here’s a hint: most of us are against it. Formaldehyde rinsed coffee beans? Not big fans. Flame retardants in our cupcakes? That’s a big old negativo, Breaker One. And pink slime should be featured in horror films, not meat.  </div><div> </div><div>These heartfelt proclamations result from the wake of recent revelations that the Subway sandwich chain uses the chemical, azodicarbonamide, in its bread. Azodicarbonamide is an additive whose principle use lies in the production of plastic foam products like yoga mats and sneaker soles. Not quite what you’d expect from the company that grew to 41,000 stores by being the healthy alternative. Hey Jared, when did you guys change the motto to “Eat Fresh Plastic?”</div><div> </div><div>This culinary confession has prompted reactions just a wee tad less hysterical than a carload of pre- school Catholic girls flying off a roller coaster into the pigpens of the Nevada State Fair. “SUBWAY BREAD IS SNEAKERS, PEOPLE. YOU’RE EATING SNEAKERS.”</div><div> </div><div>Settle down folks. You can find all sorts of stuff in our food. Cellulose, which is wood fiber. Hormones. Rodent hairs. Metal shavings. Dwarf goat beard trimmings. What part of the chicken you think the McNugget comes from? And don’t forget that most omnipresent chemical of them all: the dreaded dihydrogen monoxide, often nicknamed… H2O.</div><div> </div><div>There’s a chemical known as castoreum that is used in raspberry and vanilla flavorings. The way castoreum is harvested is by extracting the juice from the anal glands of beavers. Nope. Not kidding. And you think your job sucks.</div><div> </div><div>Now, who first discovered that the juice of the anal glands of beavers tastes like raspberries has been lost in the sands of time- probably a good thing. But it does lead one to suspect the trappers of yesteryear were a whole lot braver and infinitely more curious than first imagined and apparently had a huge amount of time on their hands. Not to mention a thin patina of something vaguely vanilla- ish.</div><div> </div><div>Thing is, you take all the chemicals out of food, they’d be the wrong color, rot in 6 hours and that quarter pounder would have to be marketed as a 2.5 ouncer. There’s only 2 ways to ensure your digestive tract is unsullied by tainted food. Grow your own or stop eating. The beauty of the latter is being able to fit into fashionably thin clothes. During that brief pre-dead period.</div><div> </div><div>Both castoreum and azodicarbonamide are classified by the FDA as GRAS. Generally Recognized as Safe. Which seems a rather unexacting measurement where our children’s food is concerned. For years Rock Hudson was GR as straight. Pluto - GR as being a planet. Trickle down economics- GRABS.</div><div> </div><div>This public relations nightmare couldn’t come at a worse time for Subway, whose foot long sandwiches were recently measured at 11 inches. Absent one angry inch. Or maybe the foot they’re referring to relates to the sneaker soles.</div><div> </div><div>Rather than running away from the controversy, the sandwich maker needs to double down, by selling the American public (because they can’t use it in the bread of foreign countries) azodicarbonamide as a low- fat, self- cleansing miracle additive. “Subway: Home of the Shiny Clean Colon.”</div><div> </div><div> </div><div>Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to <a href="http://willdurst.com/" target="_blank">willdurst.com</a> to find about more about his new CD, “Elect to Laugh” and calendar of personal appearances including his highly lauded one man show-  "BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG."  </div></div><p> </p> Sun, 09 Feb 2014 12:09:00 -0800 Will Durst, AlterNet 956525 at http://www.alternet.org Food Culture Food plastic subway bread Party It Up On Labor Day—Because Your Summer Fun Is About to End http://www.alternet.org/labor/party-it-labor-day-because-your-summer-fun-about-end <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">For 120 years, Labor Day has been the red-headed stepchild of holidays. As glamorous as the guy with a shovel following a mule in a parade. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/laborday.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><div>Hey, it’s Labor Day, everybody. Woo- hoo. Okay, we’re partying now. Throw your arms in the air and wave them like you just don’t care. Blow up some balloons. Tap a keg. Rip open a bag of chips. Because this isn’t a champagne and caviar kind of thing. This is the very definition of blue collar. If collars be worn at all.</div><div> </div><div>It was 1894 when Labor Day first punched into work. Grover Cleveland signed it into law 6 days after the end of the Pullman Strike during which federal troops killed more than 30 strikers. Cynics saw it as a kind of make- up sex between the government and the American worker. Well, flowers and candy anyhow.</div><div> </div><div>The first Monday of September was specifically picked to bridge the long holiday gap between 4th of July and Thanksgiving and to get as far away from May Day as possible. In the late 19th Century, labor unions were one thing, but Communists were a horse of a different color.</div><div> </div><div>For 120 years, Labor Day has been the red-headed stepchild of holidays. As glamorous as the guy with a shovel following a mule in a parade. Something you roll out to get Child Protective Services off your butt. “Look, we gave you an entire day, now give it a rest, would you? What do you want, cake?”</div><div> </div><div>Goldilocks would have loved Labor Day. Not too hot. Not too cold. Less incendiary than Easter and Christmas, but with a decidedly higher thermal print than the International Talk Like a Pirate Day; fast approaching on September 19. Hard to believe its time to dig out the eye patch, wooden leg and Jolly Roger. Again. Already.</div><div> </div><div>Because of Labor Day’s peculiar calendar placement, it has morphed into not so much a celebration as a seasonal signal flag. Here lies the tired, dried- up body of summer. Time to roll up the garden hose and recharge the snow blower. Bury the swimsuits and exhume the parkas. Watermelon smoothies give way to pumpkin lattes. Weenie roasts on the back deck- no. Tailgating in a dirt parking lot- yes.</div><div> </div><div>The lazy hazy days are over and school and football have kicked off. And this holiday Monday is but one final chance to party in the long light. Meanwhile, the significance of what we’re commemorating has gotten lost in a last gasp blast of beer, baseball and barbecue.</div><div> </div><div>Labor Day is meant to be a day we set aside to honor not the dead, but the living. Our workforce. One single day off so the real nine to five heroes that keep this country humming can hang with their families and friends before squaring their shoulders and getting back to the job of earning a living and carving out the future. And maybe one day at a theme park on someone’s 10thbirthday without having to take out a second mortgage.</div><div> </div><div>It’s a day to catch our breath. To celebrate the contributions of all of America’s working folk. From the floor of the stock exchange to the stockroom of Amazon. To recognize the pistons that keep the engine of this country pumping along. And no need to bring gifts, although that whole flowers and candy thing is never a bad idea. And maybe some chips and beer and what the hell… cake. Who doesn’t like cake?</div><div> </div><div><em>Catch 5 time Emmy nominee, Will Durst’s new one- man show “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG” every Tuesday until November, at the Marsh, San Francisco. Go to… <a href="http://themarsh.org/" target="_blank">themarsh.org</a> for more info. Or <a href="http://willdurst.com/" target="_blank">willdurst.com</a>.</em></div> Sat, 31 Aug 2013 14:44:00 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 890308 at http://www.alternet.org Labor Culture Labor labor day party celebration holiday summer Congratulations, Gay People: You Now Have the Legal Right to Be As Miserable As the Rest of Us http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/congratulations-gay-people-you-now-have-legal-right-be-miserable-rest-us <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">You are one notarized slip of paper away from joining the heterosexual world in horrible matrimony.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/leaving_courthouse_on_first_day_of_gay_marriage_in_washington.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The US Supreme Court must love the nightlife, because they just struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and invalidated California’s Proposition 8, which set off parties in every major city in the America. They were dancing in the streets so long and hard it was raining men ... and women. 10,000 kudos to all our friends in the LGBT community for finally upgrading out of societal steerage into economy.<br /><br />You have survived. Your hearts must be so over the rainbow, both the hearts and the rainbows are having babies right now. Cakes are being baked and balloons blown in your honor as we speak. You are one notarized slip of paper away from joining the heterosexual world in holy matrimony. Congratulations. You now have the legal right to be as miserable as the rest of us.<br /><br />So sorry you had to wait. The deal is, a lot of bitter old people had to die first. You know. Tiny-brained folks that went to their last dance still believing professional wrestling is legitimate. So maybe this time, the answer to your question “do you really want to hurt me” will be a resoundingly choral “no.”</p><p>But that is nothing more than wet towels on the shower floor at the YMCA now, because you are within a hair’s breadth of becoming intimate with the blessed institution of marriage. You are family—almost. And many have shown interest in voluntary commitment to that institution. Good luck. But be careful what you wish for. Don’t want to rain on your parade, but you’ve just entered the wild and wacky world of unintended consequences.  </p><p>A quick and dirty primer for the wedding deprived:</p><p>#1. Bigamy is the crime of having one spouse too many. The same has often been said of monogamy.</p><p>#2. When you see a married couple holding hands, chances are it’s to keep from strangling each other.</p><p>#3. In the beginning, marriage is a noun. Later on, it’s a sentence.</p><p>#4. After a few years, the only thing most couples have in common is they were married on the same day.</p><p>#5. Marriage may be a blessed sacrament, but so are the last rites.  </p><p>And don’t forget, as beautiful and sacred as the start of a marriage can be, that’s how ugly and grotesque the ending can get. The bad news is 50% of all marriages end in divorce. The good news is the other 50% end in death. There’s truth in the old adage that the reason divorces are so expensive is because they’re worth it.</p><p>Alimony. Child support. In-laws. Headaches. Jealousy, betrayal, money. Hair in the sink. Puce cabinets. All that to look forward to: plus you are in imminent danger of experiencing direct contact with lawyers. The remakes of that 1934 Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire classic, “The Gay Divorcee” will be legion. But you will make even divorce look fabulous.  </p><p>So, right now, relax. Tell yourself, “I’m too sexy for any downer talk.” Take a walk on the wild side because you’re coming out to be Dancing Queens and Kings, Just wake me up before you go-go. Her name was Lola. She was a showgirl. Sorry. Couldn’t figure out how to slip that in. And what the hell, join the Navy.</p> Sat, 29 Jun 2013 12:36:00 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 862336 at http://www.alternet.org News & Politics Civil Liberties News & Politics Sex & Relationships supreme court doma same-sex marriage LGBQT marriage equality Will Durst's 2013 Political Animal Awards http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/will-dursts-2013-political-animal-awards <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">It&#039;s awards season, so this seems the perfect time to weigh in with the barnacle on the belly of the awards ship: the 15th annual Will Durst Political Animal Awards.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/images/AFP/photo_1327397398628-4-0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Hey! You! Yes, you. Sorry. Just trying to get your attention to impart an important warning here. For the next couple weeks, it’s imperative all you good folks out there stay alert and keep your wits about you. Remove the earbuds, no texting while walking and you’d be well advised to brandish a stainless steel umbrella on the street because its awards season and golden-plated statuettes are being tossed about like manhole covers during an underground methane explosion. We’ve made it through the Golden Globes and the Screen Actor Guild Awards, with the Grammies and Oscars right around the corner, so this seems the perfect time to weigh in with the barnacle on the belly of the awards ship: the 15<font size="1">th</font> annual Will Durst Political Animal Awards.</p><p class="p1">THE BEST IMPRESSION OF REANIMATED HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN AWARD. And the winner is… oh, forgive me, that’s right, we’re all winners here. The award goes to Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.</p><p class="p1">BEST DIRECTION OF A COMEDY. To Mitt Romney’s campaign manager, Matt Rhoades.</p><p class="p1">THE HE SHOULD SWITCH TO DECAF AND REALLY SOON AWARD: Vice President Joe Biden.</p><p class="p1">COLLATERAL DAMAGE AWARD: Still picking shrapnel out of his widow’s peak, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan.</p><p class="p1">THE CLOCK IS TICKING LOUD ENOUGH TO PIERCE EARDRUMS ON A COUPLE DIFFERENT CONTINENTS AWARD. 3 way tie! Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro &amp; Bashar Al- Assad.</p><p class="p1">THE YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN AWARD. To former Governor Sarah Palin, Fox News’ gain is Alaska’s loss.</p><p class="p1">HEART OF A PLUCKED CHICKEN AWARD. To Nevada Senator Harry Reid for avoiding the alteration of Senate filibuster rules given the opportunity. </p><p class="p1">THE IT’S BETTER TO BE LUCKY THAN GOOD AWARD. For the 2<span class="s1"><sup>nd</sup></span> year in a row, POTUS Barack Obama.</p><p class="p1">THE YOUR FIFTEEN MINUTES WERE UP THIRTY MINUTES AGO AWARD. It’s a tie: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Lindsay Lohan.</p><p class="p1">THE WHY DOESN’T ANYBODY RETURN MY CALLS ANYMORE AWARD: Karl Rove, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.</p><p class="p1">THE YOU CAN KEEP A GOOD MAN DOWN AWARD. Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown.</p><p class="p1">THE TAKING SIBLING RIVALRY TO A BRAND NEW LEVEL AWARD. The Harbaugh boys.</p><p class="p1">THE H.G. WELLS DATING SERVICE AWARD. Manti Te’o.</p><p class="p1">THE HEAD IN THE SAND LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD. The coveted Ostrich goes to executive vice president of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre.</p><p class="p1">THE BEAT A DEAD HORSE UNTIL WE’RE ALL COVERED IN A FINE RED MIST AWARD. Another tie: Senators Lindsay Graham &amp; John McCain who remain determined to get to the bottom of Chuck Hagel’s role in Benghazi.</p><p class="p1">THE GEORGE HAMILTON TANNING AWARD. For the 4<span class="s1"><sup>th</sup></span> consecutive year, Speaker of the House John Boehner.</p><p class="p1">POP GOES THE WEASEL AWARD. Lance Armstrong.</p><p class="p1">THE SISYPHUS AWARD. Marco Rubio, who has been handed sole responsibility for dragging the entire Republican Party across the immigration reform line.</p><p class="p1">THE OUT OF THE MOUTH OF BABES AWARD. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal for suggesting the GOP “stop being the stupid party.”</p><p class="p1">THE RIP VAN WINKLE AWARD. To Hillary Clinton for the well deserved two year nap she’s about to take.</p><p class="p1">And finally, THE CONTINENT OF ATLANTIS AWARD. For the fastest most complete disappearance in political history, Mitt Romney. They must have powered him down, folded him up and placed him back into the original packaging.</p> Sun, 03 Feb 2013 12:11:00 -0800 Will Durst, AlterNet 788430 at http://www.alternet.org News & Politics News & Politics will durst politics Top Ten News Stories of 2012 That Turned into Jokes http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/top-ten-news-stories-2012-turned-jokes <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The key stories from the past year providing the purest opportunities for major mocking and scoffing and taunting. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/photo_-__2012-12-10_at_12.56.32_pm.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>First a disclaimer: the Top Ten Comedic News Stories of 2012 should not under any circumstances be confused with the Top Ten Legitimate News Stories of 2012. They are as different as red satin cummerbunds and Liar’s Dice. Duck liver and Spanish moss. Matched pearl necklaces and motorcycle handlebars</p><div>For those of you itching to point out that some stories, especially those involving death, destruction, devastation and disaster are not proper subjects for this sort of fanciful folderol; way ahead of you. Totally agree. Exactly why the Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre, Hurricane Sandy, Jerry Sandusky and the movie John Carter failed to make the cut.</div><div> </div><div>Also left off the list are a few of the fiendishly frivolous footprints despoiling the sands of this annum horribilis such as Lindsay Lohan’s continuing struggles with sobriety, that curious craze called Gangnam Style, the introduction of the iPhone 5 and Facebook’s roller coaster IPO.</div><div> </div><div>That said; here they are, the key stories from the past year providing the purest opportunities for major mocking and scoffing and taunting as determined by the executive council of the Comics, Clowns, Jesters &amp; Satirists Union. Me.</div><div> </div><div>10. Donald Trump. Assumes figurehead post of Birther Movement. Then refuses to shut up all year long including several embarrassing tweets on Election Day. An ever- gushing political comedy material fountain with all the grace and elegance of tumbling dumpsters. </div><div>9. First Presidential Debate. Turned what was becoming a slam- dunk into a horse race. 70 million Americans tuned in. But for some unknown reason, President Obama was not among them.</div><div>8. The entire GOP primary campaign. Party plays Candidate Whack- A- Mole for five months. Everybody takes turns beating Romney like a red headed stepchild, including some folks who aren’t even running.</div><div>7. London Olympics. Ann Romney’s horse Rafalca competes in Dressage. Event where the horse and the rider perform predetermined movements. Like interspecies dancing. Which you would think would be illegal in Utah. But horse fails to medal and probably gets shipped home strapped to the fuselage of a 747. McKayla Maroney remains unimpressed.</div><div>6. Vice Presidential Debate. Joe Biden goes all Malarkey on Paul Ryan. Two words- decaf. Bold Choice Ryan blames Obama for GM plant closing in 08. Fails to implicate POTUS in fall of the Roman Empire. But just barely.</div><div>5. Barack Obama comes out in support of gay marriage. Emerges from his own personal policy closet like a butterfly emerging from a conflicted cocoon.</div><div>4. Mitt Romney vows to get rid of Big Bird losing him pivotal pre- adolescent vote.</div><div>3. Democratic National Convention. Specifically Bill Clinton laying out the precise reasons why America should re- elect as President… Bill Clinton.</div><div>2.  Republican National Convention. Specifically Clint Eastwood upstaging the nominee’s acceptance speech by getting into an argument with an empty chair. Which he proceeded to lose. Probably upset him so badly he rushed back to the hotel room where he got into a squabble with his armoire.</div><div>1<strong>. </strong>Mitt Romney. All the charisma of a plastic picnic fork with three of the tines snapped off. May have run the worst campaign ever. And that includes New Coke, McCain/ Palin and France in 39.</div> Mon, 10 Dec 2012 12:46:00 -0800 Will Durst, AlterNet 758411 at http://www.alternet.org News & Politics Election 2016 News & Politics election 2012 news stories 2012 The Ten Females Who Cost Mitt Romney The Presidency http://www.alternet.org/election-2012/ten-females-who-cost-mitt-romney-presidency <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">How each and every one of Mitt&#039;s failures can be traced directly to females.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2012-11-13_at_2.40.52_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><div>Holey moley catfish. Well, thank god that’s finally over. Further thanks that the climax was quick and clean. Almost surgical. Not as long a night as many first thought it might be. Except for Karl Rove that is, who for all we know is still scribbling numbers to prove the call on Clinton’s re- election win in 1996 was premature. And as usual, Florida did all it could to gum things up, but was eventually rendered irrelevant. And long may it remain so. </div><p>In the end, President Barack Obama trounced, er, battered, um, eeked out a victory, or to be more precise, Mitt Romney lost. Or shall we say, found a thousand ways to lose. Except for one brief shining moment in the first debate, virtually carrying with him a defeat diviner.</p><div>And each and every one of his failures can be traced directly to females. The distaff of life. Single women. Married women. Old women. Young women. Ladies and divas and flappers and baby mamas; duchesses, priestesses, shorties and floozies. So here they are, the top ten females who cost Mitt Romney the presidency, each of them representing one of the myriad factors that helped construct the unelectable mosaic that became Bain’s Captain of Industry </div><p><strong>1. Michele Bachmann.</strong>Mitt had to draft on her right wing to win the primary battle and when he tried to tack back to the center appeared not to be the Washington Outsider he claimed, but a typical politician with the core values of a hollowed out chocolate Easter Bunny. With really good hair.</p><p><strong>2. Newly elected US Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts.</strong>A state the former Governor lost by 23 points. Proof positive the man arouses the enduring passion of a broken garden rake.</p><p><strong>3. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton</strong> who took foreign policy off the table making the entire election about the economy which kept getting better, gol darn it. And who can forget her husband. He certainly won’t let us.  </p><div><strong>4. Sandra Fluke</strong> who gave a face to the GOP’s Paleolithic Bronze Age attitudes towards women, further exacerbated by the fact that no man in the party could seemingly shut up about it.</div><p><strong>5. Michelle Obama</strong> who is just darn likable. As is her husband. A stark contrast to Romney’s cyborg demeanor and obvious discomfort around members of the human species.</p><div><strong>6. Superstorm Sandy</strong>for providing the opportunity for the President to look Presidential and for he and Chris Christie to French kiss on Atlantic City’s Boardwalk crystalizing the concept that bipartisanship is not the saddest word. That’s “goodbye.”</div><div> </div><div><strong>7. Ann Romney</strong>who would have made a simply terrific first lady. For Dwight D. Eisenhower.</div><div> </div><div><strong>8. Candy Crowley</strong>who single-handedly halted Romney’s momentum in the second debate by speaking way above her pay grade. Don’t you hate it when the help speaks out of turn?</div><p><strong>9. All the Wal-Mart Moms</strong>, who never really understood that whole Cayman Islands bank account thing marking him not as the poster child for the 1%, but as the poster child for the .0001% of the 1%.</p><div><strong>10.</strong>And the last female responsible for Romney’s loss; <strong>Rafalca</strong> the 15-year old mare who, while wearing the Romney silks in Olympic Dressage, failed to make the medal round and was probably shipped home strapped to the fuselage of a 747. Seriously, Mitt. Dressage?</div> Sun, 11 Nov 2012 14:20:00 -0800 Will Durst, AlterNet 743123 at http://www.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Gender News & Politics obama romney election 2012 bain capital karl rove michelle obama sandra fluke michele bachmann elizabeth warren hillary clinton Hurricane Sandy ann romney candy crowley What Mel Gibson, the Tea Partiers, Tony Hayward, and Newt Gingrich Should Have Gotten for XMas http://www.alternet.org/story/149327/what_mel_gibson%2C_the_tea_partiers%2C_tony_hayward%2C_and_newt_gingrich_should_have_gotten_for_xmas <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">May our political leaders and stars get what they have coming to them in 2011.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Wishing you all a Very Happy Merry. And no, I’m not falling into that trap. You go out and dance to the beat of whichever winter festival you want to celebrate. Christmas. Hanukah, Kwanza, Saturnalia, Solstice, noon Tuesday, 420, a December date equal to the square root of the number 625. Whatever. And good on ya. As we say in politically correct San Francisco, “May the corpulent bearded one in the scarlet suit smile upon your chosen shrubbery.” Now, inevitably some people are going to find their stockings aren’t quite stuffed with the egregious booty they were expecting or most importantly, believe they deserve. So I’m here to help the under- gifted achieve a certain amount of cathartic closure. As the great philosopher Rodney King once almost said: “can’t we all wear a thong?” So, to insure that certain traditions don’t get washed right out into the ocean like a picnic table on a Malibu hillside, let me offer up my annual scathingly incisive yet curiously refreshing: WILL DUR$T’$ 2010 XMA$ WI$H LI$T.</p> <p>1. For Mel Gibson: A muzzle. Permanent. Steel. Welded with titanium rivets.</p> <p>2. For the Economists who insist the recession ended in June of 09. An opportunity to collect 99 weeks of unemployment insurance.</p> <p>3. For Charlie Sheen. A date with Lindsay Lohan. Matching ankle bracelets at Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab.</p> <p>4. For WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange: A slip of paper naming whoever leaked details of his sexual assault charges tucked into a dictionary in the fold of the page with the “irony” entry.</p> <p>5. For Betty White. 30 more years.</p> <p>6. For Ireland. Far fewer reasons to drown their troubles.</p> <p>7. For Juan Williams. A prayer rug for his Fox News cubicle.</p> <p>8. For the American public. A case of antacid to get through the next two years watching the heartless pummel the spineless cheered on by the clueless.</p> <p>9. For Conan O’Brien. Half the on- air excitement he inspired off- air.</p> <p>10. For Barack Obama. An electron telescope to focus on jobs. American jobs. Democratic jobs. Obama Administration jobs. His job.</p> <p>11. For Mrs. Clarence Thomas. A six pack of Coke.</p> <p>12. For Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. A used set of Spanish language cassette tapes.</p> <p>13. For the Cast of Jersey Shore. Watches that only measure increments of 15 minutes.</p> <p>14. For the Texas Board of Education. A railroad car stuffed full of historical blinders.</p> <p>15. For Bill Clinton. A Presidential appointment to the position of Secretary of Secretaries.</p> <p>16. For Toyota. A new corporate motto. Because after 4 recalls involving acceleration problems, “Moving Forward” might be a bit too apropos.</p> <p>17. For Katy Perry. A bigger bra.</p> <p>18. For the Tea Party. Kissable wallets. Because its time to put their money where their mouth is.</p> <p>19. For Willie Nelson. A THC patch.</p> <p>20. For the TSA. Extensive training to perfect the impromptu prostate exam.</p> <p>22. For John Boehner. A deal with Fruit of the Loom to market a line of “Mister Speaker” monogrammed handkerchiefs. And hand towels.</p> <p>23. For former BP CEO, Tony Hayward. Now that he has his life back, a reason to live it.</p> <p>24. For Medical Science to Study. Dick Cheney’s heart, Joe Biden’s mouth and Rod Blagojevich’s brain.</p> <p>25. For Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican field taking sidelong glances at 2012. Something on Sarah.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Will Durst is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability. </div></div></div> Sun, 26 Dec 2010 10:00:01 -0800 Will Durst, AlterNet 664690 at http://www.alternet.org News & Politics News & Politics mel gibson tea parties tony hayward xmas The 10 Funniest, Strangest Stories of the Year http://www.alternet.org/story/149162/the_10_funniest%2C_strangest_stories_of_the_year <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Here are the stories from 2010 that most lent themselves to joshing and kidding and ribbing.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Please be advised: the Top Ten Comedic News Stories of 2010 are not to be confused with the Top Ten Legitimate News Stories of 2010. They are as different as Lasagna and asphalt. Ear wax and linoleum. A lunch wagon sink trap and nuclear lab clean rooms. Toe shoes and track cleats. Christian Science Ministers and health insurance seminars. Sure, sure, there were more serious stories involving death and destruction and devastation o’plenty but we tend to concentrate more on those narratives that offer a break from the tension. That allow<span>  </span>us to view the desolation from the lighter side of the vast dark chasm. Like when Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, Elena Kagan and the Chilean miners were disrupted by the Icelandic Volcano from attending the World Cup. A worthy account yes, but alas, not esteemed enough for our list. So here they are, the stories from 2010 that most lent themselves to joshing and kidding and ribbing.</p> <p>10. <b>Dick Cheney’s 6<sup>th</sup> heart attack</b>. How does a guy without a heart have 6 heart attacks? It would be like Rod Blagojevich contracting a brain tumor. Cheney is so evil, Hell keeps spitting him back.</p> <p>9. <b>Barack Obama</b>. True to his word, the 44<sup>th</sup> President managed to unite the country. Against him. Although, the two sides do view him through different prisms. The right sees him as Malcolm X. The left- Urkel.</p> <p>8. <b>Christine O’Donnell.</b>Delaware Senatorial candidate claimed she’s not a witch. Then the local Wiccan community denied having anything to do with her. Which probably didn’t lead above the fold on her election eve mailer.</p> <p>7. <b>California Gubernatorial Candidate Meg Whitman</b>. A Jerry Brown staffer called her a “ho” and she went ballistic. “Its an insult to all women.” Nooooo, we’re pretty sure it was specific to you. Spends more than a seventh of a billion dollars on her campaign and still cuts her hair with a salad shooter. Go figure.</p> <p>6. <b>Glenn Beck</b>. Attempts to reclaim the civil rights movement by holding a rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Because isn’t it about time angry middle aged pudgy white guys got a fair shake from society?</p> <p>5. <b>Health Care</b>. 2700 pages long. Or 2900. They’re still not sure. Lot of stuff can happen in 200 pages. I’ve read Harry Potter.</p> <p>4. <b>The TSA’s new search policy</b>. Just direct me to the agent who didn’t volunteer for the gig.</p> <p>3. <b>Sarah Palin</b>. At Tea Party Convention she criticized Obama for over dependency on a Teleprompter while she had notes written on her hand. Which is a 5<sup>th</sup> grade teleprompter for people who can’t read fast. Every two weeks there’s something with her. Every two weeks, she erupts. She’s like Republican herpes. And I mean that in a good way.</p> <p>2. <b>George W Bush’s Autobiography</b>. Decisions Decided by the Deciding Decider. Wherein he talks about how glad he is to be out of Washington. That makes about 310 million of us. Online campaign urges customers to transfer book from Non Fiction to True Crime.</p> <p>1<b>. BP Oil Spill</b>. Largest pile of toxic sludge to hit American shores since Ann Coulter’s latest book. Brightside: Able to refuel jet ski midtrip.Please be advised: the Top Ten Comedic News Stories of 2010 are not to be confused with the Top Ten Legitimate News Stories of 2010. They are as different as Lasagna and asphalt. Ear wax and linoleum. A lunch wagon sink trap and nuclear lab clean rooms. Toe shoes and track cleats. Christian Science Ministers and health insurance seminars. Sure, sure, there were more serious stories involving death and destruction and devastation o’plenty but we tend to concentrate more on those narratives that offer a break from the tension. That allow<span>  </span>us to view the desolation from the lighter side of the vast dark chasm. Like when Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, Elena Kagan and the Chilean miners were disrupted by the Icelandic Volcano from attending the World Cup. A worthy account yes, but alas, not esteemed enough for our list. So here they are, the stories from 2010 that most lent themselves to joshing and kidding and ribbing.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Will Durst is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability. </div></div></div> Sun, 12 Dec 2010 18:00:01 -0800 Will Durst, AlterNet 664527 at http://www.alternet.org World World health care glenn beck bp tsa 10 Gift Ideas for the Soulless Wall St. Fat Cat in Your Life http://www.alternet.org/story/149079/10_gift_ideas_for_the_soulless_wall_st._fat_cat_in_your_life <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Wall Street is shoveling out record bonuses. Again. What to get the person who can buy anything?</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>It’s the most… wonderful time… of the year. And the most frantic and anxious and mind numbing and expensive. The rewarding part is my on- going seasonal side job as a lumpy elfin holiday gift consultant, where it is an honor and a privilege to be able to pass along some hot tips for this year’s Christmas shopping lists. None of which involve surplus uranium tailings from sales to the Iranians.<br /><br /> There’s still more than a few of us struggling to climb out of financial holes so deep we’re being tickled by the tendrils of redwood roots, but we’re not that difficult to shop for. Dollar coins. Discount clothing. Used food. Lint covered gum and pennies. Roadkill wrapped in the Sunday Funnies. We are the re- giftable.<br /><br /> It’s the other end of the spectrum that concerns me. The least needy of us. Wall Street is shoveling out record bonuses. Again. What to get the person who can buy anything? Perhaps the gifts you’ve lined up for your investment banker friends won’t be considered up to snuff. Well, I’m here to convince you to let those worries go. After all, it’s the thought that counts. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.<br /><br /> No, seriously. To ease your stress, we here at Durstco have come up with a catalog of prospective Christmas Gifts that any Wall Street Tycoon would be honored to find under their holiday shrubbery. And who knows, maybe in appreciation, he or she will slide you insider status on the newest IPOs. Probably not, but what the hell, here we go with the TOP TEN CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR YOUR WALL STREET BROKER BUDDIES.<br /><br /> 10. A peacock. Provides the double benefit of being both the ultimate symbol of excessive extravagance and extremely difficult to care for.<br /> 9. A copy of George W Bush’s autobiography because, during the holidays, everyone can use a good laugh.<br /> 8. A kidney in an ice chest. Purchased from a poor person. Always good to have one lying around just in case.<br /> 7. A Lexus. According to TV, that’s what rich people give each other for the holidays. Don’t forget the big red bow.<br /> 6. A get out of jail free card. No, a real Get Out of Jail Free Card. You must know somebody who knows somebody.<br /> 5. A Faberge Egg. Only 42 are known to have survived. Go for it. Check out eBay. Or call Meg Whitman direct.<br /> 4. A pair of Bernie Madoff’s underwear. Or just frame any old pair of size 36s and say they’re his. Its what he would have done.<br /> 3. A signed first edition of Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities” because nothing else says, “Master of the Universe” quite like it.<br /> 2. A US Senator. Oh sure, they probably already have one socked away, but who’s ever thrown out a Senator because they went bad? Not Congress.<br /> 1. A soul. Odds are, they’ve sold, misplaced or ruined theirs. Just realize in advance they’ll probably sell, misplace or ruin this one as well.</p> <p> </p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Will Durst is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability. </div></div></div> Sun, 05 Dec 2010 09:00:01 -0800 Will Durst, AlterNet 664449 at http://www.alternet.org Economy Economy christmas wall street maddoff Tea Party War Cry: I'm Mad and I Don't Want to Hear Your 'Facts' http://www.alternet.org/story/148225/tea_party_war_cry%3A_i%27m_mad_and_i_don%27t_want_to_hear_your_%27facts%27 <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The Tea Party is REAL MAD. They&#039;re not sure why, but they&#039;d like for the obscenely wealthy to get more tax breaks.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>MAN OH MAN, I’M MAD.</p> <p>Man oh man, I’m mad. I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore. Take what? I don’t know. And that makes me mad too. Angry. Riled up. Cranky. Irate. Livid. Bellicose. Splenetic. Which has something to do with the spleen. Think it involves leakage. Whatever it is, it can’t be good and I got it.</p> <p>I’m mad at everything and everybody, but especially at career politicians. Not to mention career pediatricians. From now on, one of my kids gets sick, I’m taking them to see some incensed old coot straight off the street carrying a misspelled sign. Experience is way overrated. Why can’t US Senator be an entry- level position?</p> <p>I’m mad about paying taxes. Because I don’t like paying taxes. I’m tired of my hard earned money wasted on silly things like roads and air traffic controllers and paramedics and pipeline inspectors. And flossing. I hate that too. Who needs teeth? Members of the lamestream media elite, that’s who. So they can lie through them. Those guys I’m mad at because they keep running stories about me being mad.</p> <p>I’m mad at the government’s nit picking rules. Let corporations regulate themselves. They know what they’re doing. I’m mad because I have to work two jobs just to get by and I’m mad rich people don’t get more tax cuts. I’m mad about all the jobs that went overseas and I’m mad at unions demanding a living wage. I’m mad my life isn’t better than my parents’ and I’m mad I can’t have everything now and force my children to pay for it. And knowing I’m confused just fuels my maddening.</p> <p>I’m mad our Muslim President was born in Kenya. And don’t bother me with your so- called facts. I know what I know and it makes me so mad I could just spit. So I do. Often. Right into the wind. And having the front of my shirt constantly moist just gooses the scale of how mad I am.</p> <p>I’m mad at both of the parties. All of the parties. Political parties and birthday parties and tailgate parties. I’m mad at Democrats because they’re the polar opposite of mad and I’m mad at Republicans because they’re mad at me. And if my maddish spews hurt them, tough. Because they’re not as mad as I am. I’m so mad I’ll bite off both my hands one finger at a time if that’s what it takes. To prove I’m mad. Which I am.</p> <p>I’m mad at immigrants for doing jobs that are beneath me. I’m mad at the French. I’m mad at French’s mustard. I’m mad at people who put ketchup on hot dogs. I’m even mad at people who are mad at people who put ketchup on hot dogs. You can never hope to replicate the purity of my precious maditude.</p> <p>Some folks don’t ever get mad which makes me maddest of all. The hell is wrong with these people? These uppity madless ones. Oooh, they make me so mad. But they will be mad. Soon enough. Because my madness is going to bloom and grow until everyone is as mad as me. Which, is going to be tough. Because I’m really really mad. Did I mention I was mad? Good. Because I am. Mad, that is. Man oh man, I’m mad.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Will Durst is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability. </div></div></div> Sun, 19 Sep 2010 10:00:01 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 663635 at http://www.alternet.org The Right Wing The Right Wing obama conservatives taxes tea party Labor Day: When "Work Ethic" Is Not a Dirty Word http://www.alternet.org/story/148089/labor_day%3A_when_%22work_ethic%22_is_not_a_dirty_word <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">It&#039;s important to have this 24- hour period to honor ordinary Americans. Real folks who don&#039;t think &quot;work ethic&quot; is a dirty word.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Poor Labor Day. Gets no respect. It’s the Rodney Dangerfield of celebrations. The runt of the holiday litter. Just hearing the name conjures up depressing images of a last plastic souvenir sports bottle of lemonade poured on the dying charcoal briquettes of summer. It’s the end of the bright light and the beginning of the darkness. Vacation is over and the fun has expired.</p> <p>White shoes are put back in the closet and storm windows taken out. Watermelons are replaced on the floor next to produce bins by pumpkins. Swimming pools get drained and ice cream trucks convoy back into their hibernatory garages. All the red, white and blue motifs give way to orange and black. The solstice is dead. Long live the autumnal equinox.</p> <p>As a kid, I was too busy running from the shadow of school’s return and the end of my freedom to pay much attention to the meaning of the holiday. And when I did, it made no sense. Honor work? Who would do that? Might as well set aside a day to venerate broccoli. I thought of work as a thing to be avoided not celebrated. Chores squared.</p> <p>But then I entered the real world and desired things, like food and shelter and clothing and gasoline, which forced me into gainful employment. And it was surprisingly enjoyable. Not the getting up at 4 am part, but the fruit of accomplishment deal- yeah. Got my social security number at the age of 12. Held over 100 different jobs. Then in 1981, I was able to earn a living at my chosen craft. Making me an extremely lucky man.</p> <p>Without labor, we would still be nomads, boiling river water to wash down our nightly meal of beans and mush and roots and moss. Getting way too friendly with the livestock. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. From the people who brought you the weekend, not to mention the 40 hour work week and the lunch hour and the smoke break and the potty run and the punch clock dash.</p> <p>Our society’s love affair with the genetically blessed can get tiresome. The rich and the beautiful and the fast and the strong. The lucky sperm club. People who were in the right place at the right time, and most of those places were wombal. That’s why it’s important to have this one 24- hour period to honor ordinary Americans. Real folks who don’t think “work ethic” is a dirty word. Or a dirty two words. Or whatever.</p> <p>No, there’s no fireworks to watch or ugly birds to cook or chocolate covered bunnies to steal marshmallows from. Just one Monday off for all those regular guys and gals trying to make ends meet; raising 2.3 kids while juggling a mortgage and trying to cover the monthly cable bill with at least one premium channel thrown in.</p> <p>One day to celebrate what it is that we do for a living by taking the day off from work. Paying tribute not to some dead presidents or a religious fertility ritual or the valiant who have fallen defending democracy, but to the living. To us. The true American heroes. The ones who keep democracy alive and shaking and moving and growing. You and me. All right. All right. Fine. Mostly you. Happy Labor Day everybody.<br />  </p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Will Durst is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability. </div></div></div> Sun, 05 Sep 2010 09:00:01 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 663492 at http://www.alternet.org Economy Economy Labor work economy labor day The Takeaway from 91,000 Leaked Secret Documents on Afghanistan: It's Bad. Very Bad. Time to Go http://www.alternet.org/story/147715/the_takeaway_from_91%2C000_leaked_secret_documents_on_afghanistan%3A_it%27s_bad._very_bad._time_to_go <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">As unexpected as a checkered tablecloth in a pizzeria, the administration is playing down any revelations about Afghanistan, but we can draw our own conclusions.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>To say the release of 91,000 classified documents has revealed a disconnect between our public position on Afghanistan and the actual situation on the ground is like inferring a disparity between yoga and bayonets. Dawn dishwashing liquid and green olive tapenade. A tray full of Southern Comfort old-fashioned sweets and a herringbone Segway. <br /><br /> Unlike the Pentagon Papers, we can’t even work up a good outrage, mainly because come on, 91,000 documents. That’s like reading all seven Harry Potter books thirty times over. I don’t care how authentically rustic your wand is, nobody’s doing that. There’s even questions as to whether it’s 91,000 documents, 92,000 documents, if all the documents have been released or more are being held in reserve for we mere Muggles. <br /><br /> I know. What’s a thousand documents amongst friends? Well, there’s your problem. We don’t have any friends. Corruption over there is endemic, pandemic and epidemic. Our allies aren’t necessarily allied on our side. The fighting is going badly and a halfway decent deep-dish pizza crust remains a concept the Afghanis seem unable or unwilling to embrace. Not to mention Democracy. <br /><br /> Unplug the drain and the ring around the tub is we’ve been there 8 years and things are so not getting better. As a matter of fact you could say the movement more resembles whatever is the opposite of getting better. Don’t even mention quagmire. Hah. Hah. We sneer at your quagmire. Our Afghanistan participation makes a quagmire look like a refreshing dip in a spring fed pool with buckets of frosty beer within reach and cold cucumbers slices on our eyelids. Spa spangled bog. <br /><br /> This dastardly document dump also managed to tick off Pakistani officials who dispute claims that the ISI, their intelligence agency, is collaborating with the Taliban. “These allegations are always repeated.” Hmm. Curious as to why those allegations would always be repeated, eh what? Maybe because, like the sun and those silly allegations about the rising in the East, they’re… TRUE? <br /><br /> And for those of you surprised by the amount of grandstanding caused by the WikiLeaks disclosures, either you forgot it was an election year or have been making too many side trips to the magic brownie counter in your medicinal marijuana store. A veritable slew of Congressmen are sharpening their budget scalpels, asking how we can toss Pakistan a couple billion a year in foreign aid while they’re helping Afghani insurgents? With friends like these, who needs enemy combatants? <br /><br /> As unexpected as a checkered tablecloth in a pizzeria, the Administration is playing down any revelations. “Nothing new to see here. Everything generally known. Move along.” Perhaps, just not generally known by the general public. Privately, White House officials anticipate using these leaks to pressure Pakistan to play nice. Yeah. Right. Dream on, big river. You got a better chance convincing Lindsay Lohan to give up all her nasty habits and start wearing one.  <br /><br /> If this leak tells us anything, it’s that this is not a winnable war. Right now, America has a lot of stuff on a lot of plates and keeping them all spinning is neither cheap nor easy. Afghan plates, on the other hand, are not very full and they seem to like it like that. Especially when deep-dish pizza crumbs can get them beheaded. As they say in Animal House, “If I were us, I’d be… leaving.”</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Will Durst is a San Francisco based political comedian who often writes. This being an example of questionable merit. Catch his stand up at a benefit for the Oasis Theater Ensemble in Wausau, Wisconsin, on Friday August 6th. 2 shows. And as part of the Comedy Talks series on August 15th at the San Francisco Presentation Theater with Robert Morse and Shelley Berman. For tickets: comedytalks.com or 800.838.3006. His new CD, “Raging Moderate,” now available from Stand Up! Records on both iTunes and Amazon. </div></div></div> Mon, 02 Aug 2010 21:00:01 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 663127 at http://www.alternet.org Media News & Politics Media us afghanistan occupation wikileaks Anyone Noticed That We're Turning into a Nation of Blood-Sucking Vampires? http://www.alternet.org/story/147338/anyone_noticed_that_we%27re_turning_into_a_nation_of_blood-sucking_vampires <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Taking a breather from our Gulf Coast miasma in order to focus on an even ghastlier blight of cultural crude washing up on American shores.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Taking a breather from our Gulf Coast miasma in order to focus on an even ghastlier blight of cultural crude washing up on American shores. No, this is not about Lady Gaga. Although, I do intend to address walking parasites. Demon fiends. Bloodsucking vermin. The Ushers at the Gates of Hell themselves of which we are experiencing a veritable glut and I'm here to say that my soul is so weary of vampires. Bleh.<br /><br /> Used to be vampires were stylish and dangerous and romantic partly due to their rarity. These days, Children of the Night sightings are as frequent as Law &amp; Order reruns. More ubiquitous than Subway sandwich shops. And about as horrifying. Movies and television and magazines and commercials and straight to video DVDs and books and comic books and kids books and even Muppets. Only a matter of time before Fisher- Price comes out with a line of vampire mobiles to hang over cribs.<br /><br /> Bayou vampires and New York City vampires and Elvis Presley tribute artists and tiny vampires with thyroid imbalances wearing herringbone fezzes. Vampires fighting werewolves. Vampires befriending werewolves. Vampire cops and vampire legal department research assistants and vampire DPW dispatchers and vampire insurance adjusters. Admittedly, the latter smacks of redundancy.<br /><br /> Because of the proliferation of the walking undead to mainstream pervasiveness, these suburban mall vamps are consequently forced to raise the fantasy stakes to where the entire genre is tumbling into ridiculousness. Most frustrating is nobody plays by the rules anymore. Time- tested conventions are being discarded like blood ampoules at a neck biters winter solstice mortuary retreat.<br /><br /> Garlic is no big deal unless it is. They can run extremely fast. Except when they can't. Super human strength is at their command- sometimes. Silver, mirrors, daylight, holy water and wooden stakes: Take em or leave them. That's the problem with kids today. No respect for their elders. If it was good enough for Bram Stoker, it should be good enough for these libidinous meat puppets.<br /><br /> You don't have to be Freud to get the repressed sexual desires theme. But wasn't it was a lot more interesting when society was repressed and not flaunted by young starlets emerging from limos sans underwear? And what is it with the brooding? You're a thousand years old. How much time to do you need to adjust to the agony of immortality? Stop it with the teenage angst already.<br /><br /> And yes, yes, yesssssss. To be young is to identify with the alienation and the dressing all in black and the being pale and stuff. But the only thing less sexy than an ancient man caressing the carotid of a pubescent girl with his swollen incisors may be the prospect of she and he swapping denture cream. You think Anna Nicole Smith was creepy, multiply her husband's age by eight or ten and try imagining that. Not enough Ambien in Patrick Kennedy's medicine cabinet to quell those nightmares. Makes Harold and Maude seem the stuff of fairy tails. Tales. That's Tinkerbelle in Vegas.<br /><br /> And this anguishing over the weight of the eternal hunger is getting a bit old. You've had multiple centuries to come up with an efficient way to feed. You're not tormented, you're incompetent. You know, if Hollywood is really interested in a new way to make big bucks frightening America, they should greenlight a series of movies about the inner workings of Congress. Now, those soulless zombies are scary.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Will Durst is a San Francisco based political comedian who often writes. This being a fine example. Catch his one- man show, "The Lieutenant Governor from the State of Confusion" at a Performing Arts Center near you. His new CD, "Raging Moderate" from Stand Up! Records, now available on both iTunes and Amazon. Coming this fall. "Where the Rogue Things Go." </div></div></div> Fri, 25 Jun 2010 21:00:01 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 662728 at http://www.alternet.org Media Media blood vampires vampire culture We Don't Need a Cowboy for President http://www.alternet.org/story/147186/we_don%27t_need_a_cowboy_for_president <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Right now we need that calm and collected smartypants whose idea of wild and crazy is working till his deodorant nearly expires.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>The same way that crème brule is unlike pork rinds, and a Lincoln Town Car is not a pickup truck, so is Barack Obama not George Bush. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons Barack Obama is currently President is because he’s SO not George Bush. He might just be the most UnBushish politician currently in possession of a Y chromosome with the possible exception of Jerry Brown who doesn’t count, because he’s an alien.</p> <p>But the relentlessly dispiriting Gulf Coast Leakage has beaten America with Jimmy Carter’s feeble stick and we’re feeling as impotent as a eunuch watching Cinemax at 3am on a Saturday morning; trembling for Daddy to come to our rescue and punch the bad spill in the face. Hence, the media skies have been clouded with entreaties for the President to get his spurs on and Cowboy Up in front of we wee ones.</p> <p>Calls have come from the left and the right in whispers and in shouts to do something bold and avoid becoming Mister Mission Unaccomplished. Never content to let a national crisis stand in the way of politics, the right has questioned the President’s manhood suggesting the cold spring Gulf waters may have caused massive shriveling amongst the spillage. Even Spike Lee exhorted him to “one time, go off.” And what Spike Lee says, goes. Just ask the New York Knicks.</p> <p>For good or for ill, Obama responded. First by intimating he was furious. And you could tell he really was upset because his face got all frowny- like. Less emphasis on hope and more on concerned contemplation. Then Press Secretary Robert Gibbs spoke of a clenched jaw. Which to be honest, could mean anything. Might have gotten a piece of tofu caught in his bridgework. Or perhaps he was trying to squeeze out the last bit of flavor in his Juicy Fruit. We don’t know.</p> <p>Finally, Obama was heard to say “we talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose butt to kick." Only he didn’t say butt. He said the A word that rhymes with big mouth bass. Whoa. Dude. Settle. Mister President. Sir. You are many things. But Butt Kicking Chief Executive is not why we hired you. Right now we need that calm and collected smartypants whose idea of wild and crazy is working till his deodorant nearly expires. Cooler than the other side of the pillow. Penguin tail time.</p> <p>Dubyah reminded us of an entitled cackling jock giving geeks and nerds two- handed wedgies in the high school bathroom. You, however, are here to teach those dorks how to retire to a stall and rearrange themselves before reentering the hallway, studying hard and getting that job paying enough to turn the wedgie giver’s dad’s GM dealership into a solar panel production facility.</p> <p>You don’t need to answer Spike Lee’s outbursts. What, you going to base our foreign policy on an offhand remark by Delroy Lindo? America doesn’t need Harrison Ford or The Incredible Hulk flying out of the cargo door of Air Force One. Not even the Credible Hulk. Look at Congress. We got plenty of Hulks. Besides, you don’t wear the right kind of Butt Kicking Shoes. For that, you need cowboy boots. With those beautiful Italian loafers, a person runs the risk of spraining a foot. Or a midterm election.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Will Durst is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability. </div></div></div> Sun, 13 Jun 2010 07:00:01 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 662542 at http://www.alternet.org News & Politics obama bp BP Has Failed at Everything Except for Lying http://www.alternet.org/story/147043/bp_has_failed_at_everything_except_for_lying <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">BP is not concerned with plugging or cleaning or stopping or fixing or reimbursing. They&#039;re concerned with lying to evade responsibility.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>The President may have wrestled Afghanistan and Iraq to shaky standoffs but the newest skirmish in the heads- up display of Air Force One shows him losing the third Gulf war and losing bad. Taking shots from both sides -- from both sides. Republicans are yelling at Obama for holding BP responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster AND for not doing enough to clean it up. That man sure is a geographic oddity. On two wrong sides of the same issue. Which ain’t easy.<br /><br /> The main burst of charges that Obama is scapegoating British Petroleum are oozing from the newest Republican Senate candidate from Kentucky, Rand Paul. A man naturally disposed to disturbing people with both his views and his coif. Please, someone, have the simple common human decency to tell him that 1985 is calling and it wants its hair back. Not even Lyle Lovett wears it like that anymore. Anthony Geary maybe.<br /><br /> But I digress. Calls are streaming across the aisle for the President to ignore BP's jurisdictional claims and have the military take over. Because people suspect BP cannot be trusted. About anything. If they smile and say “hello,” check your back for shards of a malfunctioning Blowout Protector. “We’re trying our best.” We are familiar with your best. Your best sucks.<br /><br /> Top Kill was supposed to take 12 hours, then 24, 48 and now 96. You don’t have to be Stephen Hawking to spot a mathematical progression here. 12,288 is a mere 7 press conferences spewed down the line. They didn’t want the video feed to go public because even you and me and your five year old helper- monkey would see the ferocious gushing and realize, “whoa, that’s more than 5,000 gallons a day. That’s 5,000 gallons a frame. Where’s my banana?”<br /><br /> BP’s sole object is protecting profit. Covering corporate butt. In the last six weeks, not a single word that has leaked out of their mouths has been true. Eventually they will divest themselves of all US assets, change their name and seep offshore to escape financial culpability in the courts but until then, the main object is to deflect blame keeping responsibility to a minimum. And when I say responsibility, I mean money. The ultimate lubricant.<br /><br /> BP is not concerned with plugging or cleaning or stopping or fixing or reimbursing, except for how it affects the quarterly dividend. To that end they will lie and deny and incomply and do whatever it takes. They will lie about what happened, what is happening and what will happen. They will lie because that is the culture in which corporations live. They will lie because it is their nature. They will lie because they’re good at it. They will lie to stay in practice. They will lie about lying. Offer up proof. They will lie. They will claim it was their evil twin. Remember when this all started on Earth Day and they said there was no leak. Why? Because they hoping to get it under control and nobody would be the wiser.<br /><br /> Some people are calling for a boycott of BP. Not enough. Don’t just boycott British Petroleum; ride a bicycle to one of their stations, seize their toilet paper assets and send them to the Gulf. To help clean up. If Obama and the Oil Flushers can’t do the right thing, we’ll do it for them. Then stay on that bicycle for as long as you can. </p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Will Durst is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability. </div></div></div> Sun, 30 May 2010 06:00:01 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 662397 at http://www.alternet.org News & Politics oil bp gulf spill gulf It's Hard to Mock Obama -- So a Humorist Pines for the Hilarity of the Bush Years http://www.alternet.org/story/146295/it%27s_hard_to_mock_obama_--_so_a_humorist_pines_for_the_hilarity_of_the_bush_years <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">For political comics, George W. Bush was the equivalent of the political comedy Full Employment Act -- for eight wonderful years.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Met George Carlin once. Okay, more than once -- twice, maybe three times. But for the sake of this little article, let me cut to the first time we crossed paths, 10 or 12 years ago in the greenroom of Catch a Rising Star at the MGM Grand in Vegas, where I was performing in my little 250-seat lounge while he was upstairs in his 2,400-seat showroom at 18 times my ticket price. (Just so you know I know my place. Oh, I know.)<br /><br /> Anyhow, I asked my scruffy mentor why he had quit doing political material, and he said, “I don’t know man, I just got tired of kicking my babies out of the nest.” A fact reinforced (with assistance from the able and eminently vertical Tony Hendra) in his righteously excellent posthumous autobiography, <em>Last Words</em>.<br /><br /> Turns out he was right. Damn. I’m tired of having to discard bits. Genius stuff. For instance, my William Howard Taft material just doesn’t have the same bite anymore. Reagan. Quayle. Clinton. Bush. Ahhh, George W. Bush. Those were the golden years. Bush was the equivalent of the political comedy Full Employment Act. For eight wonderful years, the man was like a father to me. I was but one little cog in his “No Comic Left Behind” program. It was as if Reagan and Quayle had a kid.<br /><br /> There’s only about 12 of us political comics in the whole country. And six are the same as when I started in the early '80s. Mainly because it's not the greased chute to the Bigtime. I’m not counting the TV talk show host guys, because they all have staffs of 15 writers. They’re the Wal-Marts of political comedy. Me, I’m like a small boutique in Soho. Hand-stitching every joke. And no outsourcing. Yet.<br /><br /> Keeping your comedic boat afloat on the political scene is a full-time occupation, but when administrations change, it’s similar to turning the <em>Titanic</em>. Probably takes six months to complete the shift. That’s what it took in '93 when Clinton was inaugurated, but he was a corpulent womanizer, so I had that going for me. For a bunch of reasons, President Barack Obama has been tougher. One of those reasons is Hope. It’s hard to mock Hope. Too much like kicking a small furry whimpering thing with big eyes.<br /><br /> Another problem is, these days, with your 24-hour news channels and Web site alerts, I’m constantly writing material that ends up having a shorter shelf life than the offerings at a homemade mayonnaise stand at a Sonoran Art Fair over a late August weekend. For instance: After health care reform, my joke about Democrats passing the stem cell bill because they're depending on that research to generate a spine is not getting the same laughs it once was. Sometimes it's good to lose a bit.<br /><br /> Here are some more examples of jokes that work today, but tomorrow, probably not so much.<br /><br /> Rush Limbaugh threatened to leave the country if health care reform passed. For many of us, that’s a big win-win. He even talked about moving to Costa Rica. Where they have universal heath care. Although your access to Oxycontin may vary.<br /><br /> Republicans keep talking about bipartisanship. But they don’t mean it. “We want to work with the president.” Yeah, the same way a 5-year-old with a magnifying glass wants to work with ants. Like a coyote wants to work with a nest of baby ducks. “We’re the ones reaching across the aisle.” Pay no attention to the chainsaw.<br /><br /> I saw a guy with a sign that said: “Stop Socializing America and Hands off My Medicare.” Dude. At least use two different signs. No wonder these people are suspicious of public health care. They’ve obviously been grievously failed by our public education system.<br /><br /> The way the bill is written; if you don't buy health care insurance, you can be fined and if you don't pay the fine, you can go to prison, where you get free health care. There’s your public option right there.<br /><br /> Obama is smooth. He makes Clinton look like a chunk of concrete wrapped in Velcro dipped in wallpaper paste. No matter what you think of the president’s policies, you have to admire his ability not to get involved in them.<br /><br /> George W. Bush is working on his autobiography. And publishers are optimistic that eventually it will be translated into English. What do you want to bet he burns through about four spell checks?<br /><br /> I imagine after President Obama met with President René Préval of Haiti, both guys looked at their aides and muttered, “Man, I wouldn’t want his job.”<br /><br /> Dick Cheney recently suffered a fifth heart attack. How can a guy without a heart have five heart attacks? That’s like John Edwards contracting a brain tumor. I wonder if doctors have totally ruled out phantom limb syndrome? Five heart attacks. This guy is so evil, they keep spitting him back. “No, sorry. We’re full right now. Unh, we got a lot of construction going on down here. You keep him for a while. Sixth time’s the charm.”<br /><br /> Sarah Palin had crib notes inked on her hand while giving a speech in which she criticized  Obama for using a teleprompter. You know what notes on your palm are: a fifth-grade teleprompter.<br /><br /> Despite rampant acceleration problems, Toyota refuses to ditch its corporate motto, which is “Moving Forward.” Yeah, even when you don’t wanna.<br /><br /> Now they’re talking about a double dip recession. Who would have thought Dubyah would get something named after him so soon?<br /><br /> My wife and I are doing our part to downsize. We’ve gone from a $600,000 house to a $450,000 house and didn’t even have to move.<br /><br /> The GOP saying that Democrats also benefit from the Supreme Court ruling on unlimited corporate election spending is like a wolf saying “Hey, bunnies have teeth too.”<br /><br /> At least we’ll be spared the much-hyped release of Martha Coakley’s Campaign Strategy Handbook.<br /><br /> Sarah Palin said McCain’s choice of her as a VP nominee was God’s plan. Proving that either God has a great sense of humor or he’s a Democrat.<br /><br /> Sarah Palin sold 1.3 million copies of <em>Going Rogue</em> -- 85 percent to people who haven’t bought a book in five years. She’s queen of the illiterati. Selling books to people who don’t read. She’s a genius. Next: Sunglasses for people born without ears.<br /><br /> The underpants bomber was on an Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight. Everybody on that flight should have been suspicious. Who leaves Amsterdam voluntarily to go to Detroit? In December? I imagine security lines will start featuring the Atomic Wedgie. Got to love the TSA. Fighting today’s security threats with yesterday’s technology, tomorrow.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Will Durst is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability. </div></div></div> Sun, 04 Apr 2010 21:00:01 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 661692 at http://www.alternet.org News & Politics News & Politics Media bush obama comedy will durst political humor Top 10 Comedic News Stories of 2009 http://www.alternet.org/story/144895/top_10_comedic_news_stories_of_2009 <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">There were some big Republican sex scandals this year; the GOP breathed a sigh of relief that at least Sanford and Ensign were caught with women.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Okay. Here’s the deal: the Top Ten Comedic News Stories of 2009 are not to be confused with the Top Ten Legitimate News Stories of 2009. They are as different as night and day. Fire and frogs. Popeye’s chicken and ballet fundraisers. High rise condo balconies and balsa wood furniture. Southern Baptist 4th of July church picnics and snow tires. There were all sorts of heavy-duty stories that impacted the country and the planet. Can’t think of any right now, but trust me, there was a bunch.<br /><br /> Rather, the Top Ten Comedic News Stories of 2009 are the accounts that provoked a slow shake of the head and a soft chuckle without having to bear a moral weight larger than Manitoba owing to the extreme unfunny nature of the death, destruction and gruesomeness inherent in the legitimate news. So here is the flip side, the stories from 09 most filled with mirthing possibilities. <br /><br /> 10. Governor Mark Sanford (R- SC) and Senator John Ensign (R- Nev) both found to have a bit of a problem in the monogamy department. The GOP breathes a sigh of relief that at least they were caught with women.</p> <p>9. Beer Summit. Resolution sounded like the set up for a joke. A professor, a cop and a president walk into a bar. Because as we all know, beer fixes racism.</p> <p>8. Swine Flu. To keep from defaming our proud American factory pig farms, government attempts to change name to SOIV: Swine Originated Influenza Virus. Fails to catch on.</p> <p>7. Supreme Court Justice Sonja Sotomayor. For David Souter’s replacement, the President chooses a Catholic diabetic woman from the South Bronx of Puerto Rican descent. Apparently that search for the albino midget lesbian unwed Bangladeshi mother with a bum leg and lycanthropy fell just a bit short.</p> <p>6. Cash for Clunkers. Upon first hearing about the program, many thought it was about raising the per diem for the Senate. Or a recurring entry on a lobbyist’s expense report.</p> <p>5. Nobel Peace Prize. The outcry from the right made you think the President had been caught naked under a goat at a Junkie Hookers for Satan Convention. Glenn Beck so outraged, it’s a miracle he didn’t pull a Kanye West, rush the award ceremonies and yell how Dick Cheney deserved it more.</p> <p>4. Tiger Woods. Fall from Mt. Olympus is steep and loud. Maybe Nike will give Elin an endorsement deal. Who wouldn’t want to buy the clubs that beat Tiger? The two have given a whole new meaning to: “Just do it.”</p> <p>3. Somali Pirates. Who knew piracy was a 21st century career track? What’s next: scurvy?</p> <p>2. Sarah Palin. Alaska deserves decisive leadership, which is why she proved she’s not a quitter by resigning. More Sarah Logic we city folk just don’t understand. Then she writes a book that sells almost a million copies to non- readers. Queen of the Illiterati.</p> <p>1. Teabaggers and Health Care Rioters. Easy to understand why these folks are so leery of public health care when you realize how obviously they’ve been failed by our public education system.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><a href="http://willdurst.com">Will Durst</a> is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability. </div></div></div> Thu, 31 Dec 2009 13:00:01 -0800 Will Durst, AlterNet 660670 at http://www.alternet.org Media Media will durst 2009 comedic news stories Will Dur$t's Xma$ Gift Wi$h Li$t http://www.alternet.org/story/144790/will_dur%24t%27s_xma%24_gift_wi%24h_li%24t <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">These are the presents that folks may not receive wrapped up with bows but certainly deserve: for Joe Lieberman, a diamond-studded collar to befit his position as GOP lap dog.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Just ask anybody. Oh, they’ll tell you. Over and over and over again. On the radio, they’ve been pounding it into our heads ever since November 1st. That’s when a lot of stations went 24/7 Christmas. And every single one of them went 24/7 Christmas ads nauseum. A sixth of a year. Longer than the lifespan of 4 generations of drone ants. More protracted than an entire Minneapolis summer. Double the playoff contention duration of the Detroit Lions. <br /><br /> The problem is, this particular most wonderful time of the year is proving to be a bit less than. More like the most semi- wonderful time of the year or the most not too bad time of the year. Mainly because people like you and me (mostly you) selfishly refuse to stop whining and go out there and do their patriotic duty by sinking deeply into debt to honor the birth of that Jewish hippie kid by buying more stuff than anybody in their right mind really needs. The worst holiday season in recent memory. Except for last year. So, things are looking up. But it’s an odd up. <br /><br /> It is fair to say that a great many of us are not going to find everything we want under the tree. So, making sure that we don’t throw a perfectly good premise out with the financial bath water, let me offer up my annual scathingly incisive yet curiously refreshing, WILL DUR$T’$ 2009 XMA$ GIFT WI$H LI$T. These are the presents that folks may not receive wrapped up with bows this year but certainly deserve. <br /><br /> For Bernie Madoff. A sudden illness that causes him to die peacefully in his sleep. <br /> For Joe Biden. Since his foot spends so much time in his mouth, mint flavored shoelaces.<br /> For Tiger Woods. A marriage mulligan.<br /> For Hall &amp; Oates. Another 500 or so casinos in Las Vegas so Cirque du Soleil finally gets around to doing a show based on them. <br /> For Barack Obama. A reset switch for his Presidency. <br /> For Sarah Palin’s Publisher. More best sellers targeted to people who don’t read. Maybe an “audio book for the deaf” division. Cookbooks for Supermodels. <br /> For the US Economy. A bit more stimulus to goose that whole stimulus thing into action. <br /> For the Mitt Romney and the Rest of the Republican National Committee Looking at 2012. Something else on Sarah. Then again, maybe the Mayans were right. <br /> For Newspaper Headline Writers Everywhere. Something else to write other than “Recession Appears to be Over.” <br /> For Mexican President Calderon. A wall on the border to control our immigration.<br /> For the Imposters Who Crashed the White House. An endorsement deal with Butterfingers. <br /> For the Democrats in Congress. A year’s supply of whole milk to put a little calcium into their spine. <br /> For Medical Science to Study. Dick Cheney’s heart. George Bush’s brain. And Howard Dean's mouth.<br /> For Granny. Someone to ask, if maybe she might not like her plug to be pulled. <br /> For Those 3 Hikers Facing Trial in Iran. Bill Clinton’s attention. <br /> For Glenn Beck. A one way ticket on the clue train. <br /> For South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. See Tiger Woods. <br /> For Joe Lieberman. A diamond-studded collar to befit his position as GOP lap dog.<br /> The State of Texas. A time out, so they stop executing people with IQs of 62. And stop electing them governor as well.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Will Durst is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability. </div></div></div> Wed, 23 Dec 2009 16:00:01 -0800 Will Durst, AlterNet 660122 at http://www.alternet.org News & Politics will durst christmas wish list Labor Day: A Holiday for Us http://www.alternet.org/story/142462/labor_day%3A_a_holiday_for_us <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Labor day is a tribute not to fancy movie stars or stodgy founding fathers or rich and bloated athletes, but us.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Labor Day. The Rodney Dangerfield of holidays. Nobody knows why it’s treated like the runt of the celebration litter. Maybe it has to something to do with our biological clocks being stuck on elementary school time. Deep down in our bones, we’re anticipating the first Monday of September pounding the final nail into the coffin of our vacation signaling a return to whatever scholastic institution we’ve been consigned to that semester. Making it as endearing as thunderheads on a picnic morning. <br /><br /> Labor Day. The last plastic souvenir sports bottle of lemonade on the dying coals of summer. The beginning of the end of the bright light and harbinger of the darkness. Swimming pools close. Ice cream trucks tie up their bells and convoy back into hibernation, And Dad suffers his last second degree hissing bubble burn from the BBQ grill for at least nine months. The dividing line between baseball’s endgame and football’s chrysalis from two- a- day drills into hardcore Bowl envy. The solstice is dead. Long live the autumnal equinox. <br /><br /> Labor Day. As a kid, I was too busy recoiling from the looming specter of the end of my freedom to pay much attention to the meaning or even the name of the holiday. One 24 hour period carved into the almanac to honor the American worker. Seems a bit of an archaic sentiment these days. A gesture almost as empty as the candy counter at a Cineplex after a Labor Day weekend Harry Potter festival, especially what with lean and mean being all the rage. And trust me, there is a lot of rage out there. <br /><br /> Labor Day. Now might be the perfect time to trot out that old chestnut that if it weren’t for the blue collars there wouldn’t be any white collars much less $4500 Brioni grey pinstripe merino wool suit collars. Without labor and the labor movement, we might still be nomads, camping on a frontier, boiling river water to wash down our nightly meal of beans and mush and roots and moss. Getting way too friendly with the livestock. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. <br /><br /> Labor Day Admittedly, not the sexiest holiday: There’s no fireworks to watch or ugly birds to cook or chocolate covered bunnies to steal marshmallows from. Just one Monday off for all those ordinary guys and gals trying to make ends meet; raising 2.3 kids, juggling a mortgage while trying to cover the monthly cable bill with at least one premium channel thrown in. The lifeblood of America’s body politic has always been its workforce, the people. (claimants before Judge Judy disincluded) I’m talking about real folks who don’t think “work ethic” is a dirty word. Or a dirty two words. Or whatever.<br /><br /> Labor Day. A calendaric conundrum. A day we celebrate what it is we do for a living by taking the day off from work. Paying tribute not to fancy movie stars or stodgy founding fathers or rich and bloated athletes, but us. The real American heroes. You and me. Okay, mostly you. But allow a guy who memorized his social security number at the age of twelve, wish you a happy Labor Day. Go out and buy a new notebook and a couple of pens. And a ruler. Nobody buys rulers anymore.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Will Durst is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability. </div></div></div> Sun, 06 Sep 2009 21:00:01 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 657889 at http://www.alternet.org News & Politics Labor labor labor day The Primary Is Finally Over: Now What? http://www.alternet.org/story/87656/the_primary_is_finally_over%3A_now_what <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The Democrats are fond of calling themselves the party of the big tent. Let&#039;s hope the tent doesn&#039;t end up housing a circus.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Finally? Yes, finally. Not a trick? No trick. Over? Yes. Over. It is once again safe for the faint of heart to come out from under the covers. The battle royale is done and the shrapnel has been kept to a minimum. At long last, the bedraggled Democrats have come to the blessed end of their perpetual primary pursuit. Not the beginning of the end. Nor the almost near middle of the end, but the very end end. The butt end. The last millimeter of moldy hair on the bulbous pimple on the butt end of the end end. An end officially signaled by the reluctant arrival of Hillary Clinton at the sequestered gate of Acceptance.<br /><br />Acceptance. The final state of grief which has been attained only after an unseemly amount of time spent lounging with her old man on the porch swing at the House of Denial. And a couple of not so brief forays to the double-wide Recreational Vehicle of Anger and Depression. Then some boilermakers and cigars back at Denial House. And don't forget that quickie in the Vice Presidential Suite of the Bargaining Motel. But now the cloak of Acquiescence has been thrown over her shoulders by members of her own staff, while the Democratic Tactless Squad wraps Bill in the Shut- the Hell- Up Sheet while beating him across the head and shoulders with rolled up copies of the latest issue of <i>Vanity Fair.</i><br /><br />Say what you will about Hillary, the woman does not give up easily. She possesses the stick-to-itiveness of an emaciated tick. She's like one of those Japanese soldiers who emerges from an island cave thirty years after the war is over. Not knowing that she lost and having learned nothing except how to subsist on a diet of bark and moss. But she saved her finest hour for the curtain call. Brilliant exit strategy. Gave the best speech of your life in the process of bowing out. Terrific timing. Next time, she might want to write the good speech for the opening or during the campaign instead of the close.<br /><br />But now its time to move on. Since he's clinched the nomination, Barack Obama has also assumed the responsibility of unifying the Democratic Party, a task to which we all wish him luck. Unifying Democrats is like trying to herd a clew of worms over a chicken wire walkway onto an electric waffle iron. Like nailing lime Jell- O with carrot shreds to a tree. Reconstituting the original ingredients of a bouillabaisse. Unburning a bridge. The good news is the Democrats have gotten their ducks all in a row. The bad news it's closing in on duck season and Dick Cheney is reaching for his blaze orange hat.<br /><br />The Dems are fond of calling themselves the party of the big tent, which is all well and good, but you know what else they hold in big tents? Oriental rug sales. Used car clearances. And circuses. And as the newly installed ringleader, Mr. Obama is going to need to find himself a really big chair and an awfully long whip to control the political menagerie that will be encircling him. And something bright and shiny to keep the paying customers focused on the center ring and not the eternally attendant freak show. And cotton candy is always nice. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Will Durst is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability. </div></div></div> Tue, 10 Jun 2008 13:00:01 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 647342 at http://www.alternet.org News & Politics Election 2008 democrats republicans clinton obama election 2008 McCain Hustles for Bush's Wealthy Friends http://www.alternet.org/story/87041/mccain_hustles_for_bush%27s_wealthy_friends <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">McCain does his best to avoid being labeled &quot;McBush&quot; while dipping into the pockets of W.&#039;s supporters.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->I'm a little worried about John McCain. Not simply because of that nasty looking marsupial pouch stapled to his upper neck, but because he seems determined to wrong-headedly barrel down a path more dangerous than slaloming downhill blindfolded on a black diamond course with barbed wire gates at night. Let me explain. A while back, the erstwhile Senator from Arizona scheduled a fundraiser featuring President Bush at the Convention Center in Phoenix. But a few Democrats who weren't distracted by the ugly alley fight going on behind their own garage raised a stink. So they threw the most exquisitely horrible epithet at the Senator they could think of -- John McBush.<br /><br />This insult and some like it proved to be the motivation to move McCain's intimate soiree to a private home in Phoenix. Lots of deep-pocketed big time potential donors were invited but strangely, not the media. I'm guessing he's a mite reluctant to have that part of the electorate known as The Undecided see him all tarted up in fishnets and heels, dancing around a greased pole in front of his big Crawford Sugar Daddy. And if that image excites you, seek therapy.<br /><br />The problem is even though the two get along like a cobra and a mongoose, Mr. McCain is really broke and must need to suck at George W. Bush's silicone enhanced money tit, but isn't all that anxious to have a record of it. Typical case of needing the cash, but not the photo-op. Just another politician who wants to have his cake with the rich green icing flowing down and eat it too. Stuck between a despised lunkhead and a barren bank account, McCain is damned if he does and doomed if he don't. Can't live with the president and can't take a ball-peen hammer to his head and crack him open like a piggy bank then get down on his knees and scoop up every single coin that falls to the floor, even those that roll under the dresser.<br /><br />Say what you will about the president, he knows how to turn the switch that greases the gears of the Republican Party Cash Machine. Oh sure, he may have an approval rating lower than a puppy-eating cobra, but this puppy-eating cobra lays the golden egg. The last seven years have been very, very good for America's wealthy, which means the wealthy still like George Bush very, very much and they will pay very, very good money to hang out and have their pictures taken with him. He's not only a rich person, he's a rich person's rich person. And though he may have to bite his tongue and hold his nose, Mr. McCain is smart enough to squeeze into those pictures and do what he can to keep them from getting published.<br /><br />If George W. Bush really wants to help John McCain, the best way to do it is avoid the Senator like a swimming pool full of squirming mongooses. Walk away from the diving board. Go back into the changing room. Put his street clothes on. Then from the cool dark recesses of a remote cavern in the wilds of Utah, write a series of nice big fat checks. Come to think of it, sounds like a pretty good way to help me out as well. You too, I bet. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Will Durst is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability. </div></div></div> Wed, 04 Jun 2008 09:00:01 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 647206 at http://www.alternet.org News & Politics Election 2008 bush mccain election 2008 election finance Obama Gets NARAL's Stamp of Approval http://www.alternet.org/story/85645/obama_gets_naral%27s_stamp_of_approval <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The day after Obama got trounced in West Virginia, he pulled off a major-league liberal endorsement.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Like a blind squirrel tripping over a discarded acorn, the pundits may have accidentally stumbled onto a similar nugget of truth in their speculation that Hillary is making Barack a better candidate. Or maybe he's just a quick learner. Either way, Mr. Obama seems to have gotten real good real quick. This week, in less than twelve hours, he managed to turn a debilitating loss into a triumphal moment of celebration complete with two males holding hands in a non-California or Massachusetts way. From goat to hero in less than a single revolution of Mickey's little hand. That's way beyond Clinton-good. We're verging on Reagan-good here.<br /><br />Mr. Elitist has become Mr. Smoothiest. He's as polished as a casaba melon wrapped in a velour golf towel dipped in baby powder. More fluid than the lines on a Lamborghini carved out of Italian cream cheese resting under heat lamps. Less friction than a bead of sweat between two bodies in high heat at full rut. And if he's not real careful, they're going to start printing up t-shits with a picture of him over the caption: Slick Barry.<br /><br />To say that Hillary Clinton beat him in West Virginia is like implying Post-It Notes don't library well in blast furnaces. Or, to use the Appalachian vernacular, he was beaten like a red-headed step child. What I'm saying here is: He lost. Real bad. By more than 40 points. Numbers more befitting an also ran than the ostensible front-runner. Not quite the infallible image a candidate being carried on a litter through teeming crowds on his way to a coronation is anxious to project.<br /><br />But then, the very day after he got himself royally trounced by that recently transformed friend of the working man, Mr. Obama pulled from out of his hat, not just one, but two major league liberal endorsements. The first rabbit to sneak down his sleeve was that coquettish Democratic Party debutante, Senator John Edwards; who pretended to take almost as long to make up his mind about whom to endorse than he normally spends on his hair. The timing was the ball peen hammer to the forehead. You might even call it premeditated murder. A classic case of stashing a Heineken in the crisper bin of the frig at a party in a house that isn't yours.<br /><br />Mr. Obama also received the blessing of the national abortion rights action league, NARAL. And the endorsements have hit Hillary Clinton like two sucker punches to the gut with gloves mounted on pneumatic pistons, especially the latter. Butting heads while competing for the same third generation factory worker constituency is one thing. Stealing the feminist vote from the feminist is another.<br /><br />Mr. Edwards can be forgiven for jumping on a winning bandwagon, after spending so much time buried in the John Kerry submersible, but Hillary has been a NARAL supporter since day one, so if I were one of the directors of that particular organization, I would get down on my knees and pray to whatever Supreme Being I believed in that I was never subpoenaed to appear before one of Senator Clinton's subcommittees. Pray and invest in a varied yet tasteful wardrobe of Kevlar pantsuits. Because hell hath no fury like a woman getting her butt kicked in a primary fight she expected to win. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Will Durst is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability. </div></div></div> Sat, 17 May 2008 13:00:01 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 646810 at http://www.alternet.org News & Politics clinton obama edwards naral endorsement It's Over for Clinton http://www.alternet.org/story/84980/it%27s_over_for_clinton <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">In politics, anything can happen. Except for what needs to happen for Clinton to secure the nomination.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->I'm not saying Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's historic presidential run is toast. Finished. Down the drain. Caput. Washed up. History. A memory. In the archives. Defunct. Extinct. Artifacto. Took a hike. Sleeping with the fishes. Part of the vast past tense. Joined the choir invisible. Totally obliterated. Entering Sidekick City. Sheer finito. Thoroughly through. Down goes Frasier. Swept away by the Tahiti Express. See ya: Wouldn't want to be ya. So long and sayonara sweetheart. Became an ex-presidential run. Experiencing fossilization. Stick a fork in her -- she's done. Game over, man. Say bye.<br /><br />No. No. No. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that it's down to the wire but that wire is starting to unravel. She's hanging by a thread, down to her last dime and the wheels are coming off. It's two outs, two strikes, nobody on, bottom of the ninth and she's behind by about 142. Got her back up against the wall because an elephant is standing on the couch with the remote. It's closing time: and she don't have to go home but she can't stay here. The window of opportunity has slammed shut on her fingers while hanging outside onto the sill 12 stories up. Her time clock has been punched by a mob of boxing kangaroos. Half of her team is handing her a white flag to wave and the other half is throwing in a towel on her behalf.<br /><br />She's down to the last banana in the bunch and even though that one is pretty bruised up, the tarantulas won't let her go there anyway. She's going down for the umpteenth time in high seas. The 2-minute warning was a minute fifty ago and it's 4th and 97. The undertaker is walking this way pulling out a tape measure while whistling to the jingling of the nails in his pocket. The horse she rode in on can smell its stall and is starting to gallop. The fat lady has adjusted her horn helmet and is reaching for the throat spray. Could that be the referee looking at his watch with the whistle in his mouth and he's starting to pucker? Why yes, it could. Not to mention the train has pulled out of the station and the conductor is waving a lantern from the railing of the caboose.<br /><br />They say that anything can happen, and it can, except for what the Junior Senator from New York needs to have happen, and that, my friends, simply can't happen. Or could it? A week is a year in politics. The moon could fall out of the sky. Pigs could sprout wings and fly to Mars. Jeremiah Wright could have another attack of the talkies. Who knows? Bill could rustle up the Arkansas Calvary to ride to her rescue. Look. Up in the sky. It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's a flock of Superdelegates. Is that a light at the end of the tunnel? Unh, no, sorry. It's Obama with a flashlight directing her to the shoulder and he's repo-ing the Clinton bandwagon. The math just doesn't work. We've moved from the eminently possible to the minorly theoretical. Unless, that is; something really, really odd happens. Which it very well could. At any moment. But then again, probably not. Oh yeah. It's over. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Will Durst is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability. </div></div></div> Sat, 10 May 2008 07:00:01 -0700 Will Durst, AlterNet 646637 at http://www.alternet.org News & Politics Election 2008 clinton election 2008 superdelegates