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Toto’s ‘Africa’ sucks, we all know that, but you should still hear this guy explain WHY it sucks


Just look at these idiots

I will not oversell this with breathless Upworthy-esque superlatives. It might not be the funniest or the most brilliant thing you’re going to see online all day. But it is damned witty and amusing, and absolutely worth spending ten minutes with, should you happen to have a spare ten minutes to kill. Award-winning essayist and short story writer Steve Almond - known for Candyfreak, Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life and God Bless America - in a speech given at Tin House Magazine’s 10th anniversary celebration in 2009, delivered a terrific takedown of that depressingly durable, dangerously soporific, and shamefully not entirely unenjoyable early ‘80s hit, “Africa,” by the indisputably crappy band/punchline Toto.

Though it’s maybe shooting fish in a barrel, this needed to be done. Toto were a canned band of six session musicians, previously footnote-worthy for their work on several best-selling light pop and vaguely fusiony rock albums, who united so as to grope for stardom in their own collective right. They were responsible for some of the most unlistenable radio dreck of their late ‘70s/early ‘80s heyday, but “Africa,” from their ha-ha-we-won-all-the-Grammys blockbuster 1982 album IV, is the massive and enduring überhit that’ll get played at all of their funerals. And it’s not hard to see why, as really, it’s an undeniably pretty song with a very well-crafted emotional arc. And it’s kinda soothing. And it grooves along well enough in the background, so you sorta don’t mind it, and then oh right on, here comes that big soaring chorus and JESUS BALLS CHRIST it’s so obviously a douchey black hole into which all that is not mightily vile gets sucked and yet this creepy, pandering, empirically wretched smooth-jazz/pop dross has been a mainstay for over 30 years and how how HOW THE FUCK DID YOU DO THAT, TOTO, YOU AWFUL, AWFUL MEN? I am persuaded that a horrible bargain was struck with the same pop Satan that handed “Orinoco Flow” to Enya.

Almond’s fine belittlement of the accursed thing begins with a funny line-by-line parsing of the lyrics - which make very nearly no sense. He goes on to quote at length from a truly stupid interview with Toto’s lyricist, revealing that the man, though gifted at extracting money from the pop charts, was kind of an embarrassingly clueless fuckstick. Almond concludes with some brutal truths about the narcissism of white, Western privilege that I would love to blockquote here, but to do so would be to rob the man of his well-earned money shot. I’ll let him do the rest of the talking.
 

 
Hat tip to Paul Scot August for bringing this little gem to my attention.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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American democracy dies, murderers caught on video (or The Republicans pull a REALLY creepy move)


 
If you haven’t seen the video yet of Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) on the floor of the House asking for a clarification on the rules of the shutdown, believe me, it’s well worth watching.

There’s a compelling reason it’s been garnering hundreds of thousands of YouTube plays the past few days: Very simply it shows—beyond the shadow of any reasonable doubt—that the Republicans not only planned the government shutdown in advance, but that they made damned good and sure that when their neanderthal putsch started, there would be new rules in place to prevent it from being voted on.

It’s astonishing. It’s not like I expect that this clip will be discussed on Fox News anytime soon, but a Republican with even a modicum of intelligence, honesty and decency would be obliged to see exactly same thing that the rest of us see when we watch this clip.

If you’re unclear of exactly what’s happening, under normal circumstances any Congressperson can call for a vote on any bill at any time.

Not anymore! Prior to the shutdown, the Republicans very quietly passed H.R. 368, a measure that only House Majority Leader Eric Cantor can call for an end to the shutdown.

That’s right Eric Cantor and ONLY Eric Cantor—not even Speaker of the House John Boehner or any other ranking Republican—unless Cantor gives his express permission for a designee to do it. Via Talking Points Memo:

So unless House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) wanted the Senate spending bill to come to the floor, it wasn’t going to happen. And it didn’t.

“I’ve never seen this rule used. I’m not even sure they were certain we would have found it,” a House Democratic aide told TPM. “This was an overabundance of caution on their part. ‘We’ve got to find every single crack in the dam that water can get through and plug it.’”

Congressional historians agreed that it was highly unusual for the House to reserve such power solely for the leadership.

“I’ve never heard of anything like that before,” Norm Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told TPM.

“It is absolutely true that House rules tend to not have any explicit parliamentary rights guaranteed and narrowed to explicit party leaders,” Sarah Binder, a congressional expert at the Brookings Institution, told TPM. “That’s not typically how the rules are written.”

The rule change was made to prevent a majority vote from becoming even a possibility without the expressed consent of ONE MAN! Fewer than 25% of Americans support the GOP’s shutdown and yet here we are

This is democracy? It’s thisclose to being fascism. The dummies are in charge. Minority moron rule. Joseph Stalin or Il Duce would laugh at what America has become. The whole thing is worth watching—and infuriating—but by around the 5:00 mark, the cat’s out of the bag thanks to Congressman Van Hollen.

Judging from the rapidly escalating number of YouTube views, I think it’s safe to say that it’s not going back in again. Please share with everyone, even, make that especially, your Uncle Ronnie the Teabagger. He’s never going to hear about this from Rush or see it on the Fox News, but Uncle Ronnie really needs to know about this…
 

And then there is this, an earlier, less dramatic, but in no way less revelatory confrontation that took place two weeks ago when Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) noticed something seemed fishy and asked some uncomfortable questions of the Rules Committee chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX), who flat out admits that she’s right!

“That’s what I’m saying. We took that away.”

Sessions tells her of GOP “resolve” in the debt ceiling battle. Here’s her response:

“Oh, Mercy. It just gets deeper and deeper. I want to tell you the resolve that I think you’ve got. And despite the fact that every one of you said, over and over ad nauseam, that you didn’t want to shut the government down, we spent some time down in my office watching so many of your members — right after they were elected in 2010 — saying how much they would like to shut down the House to great applause.”

“I think it is really shortsighted, I think it is an atrocity to the Rules of the House. And I think you’re putting the whole country through this angst and this aggravation that we did not need to go. This one we could have done without.”

“And I must tell you that I’m more and more angry now that I understand what you have done is take away our ability is to really make a motion for that Senate vote.”

Guess what? The Tea party-led government shutdown came THE VERY NEXT DAY!

Go right to 1:20 and start from there. If this isn’t an admission of guilt, I don’t know what would be…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Christian group thinks it’s ‘better to die than to live’ in pro-gay world!


 
Last night as I was writing this post about the end of the world fantasies of the Christian Right, I came across a ridiculous quote from dim-bulb entertainer Pat Boone who once said that he’d rather his young daughters died than to be raised under godless Communism.

I’d imagine that little Debby and her siblings would have felt differently, perhaps.

Here’s a new one, though: Christian political organization,The Family Leader, headed up by the sleazy Bob Vander Plaat, says it is better to die than live in a world welcoming of gay people.  In an article posted on their website with the title “9 Reasons You Will Be Made to Care,” The Family Leader group laid out a manifesto of ignorance, as Gay Star News reports:

They referenced the Disney Channel featuring a lesbian couple on a TV show, a California bill ensuring trans people can use the right bathroom, the US evangelist who was arrested in London for spouting anti-gay hate, and the Colorado baker facing jail after refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

The boycott of Barilla pasta has pissed them off too. What’s a poor Christian who is “being targeted by homosexual activists who’s [sic] agenda is clear: approve of my lifestyle or pay the consequences” to do, The Family Leader asks.

“At first, the cases were few and far between. Now the number of cases are building, and the collective threat is growing, with the goal of suffocating Christians’ vocal opposition to promoting a lifestyle which is not consistent with their faith.”

Would Jesus discriminate?

Here’s how it ends:

What will you do?  Will you give in to their agenda by saying and doing nothing? Or will you lead yourself, your family, your church, and your community?  Our nation, our children need leadership. What you choose will impact generations to come.

To paraphrase a quote from Winston Churchill:

“If you do not fight when you have a chance of winning, you will eventually fight when you have no hope of winning, because it will be better to die than to live.”

Or you could just kill yourself if you’re too sensitive to live IN REALITY. Like those nice Heaven’s Gate people.

It’s a modest proposal. A more realistic one.

The Family Leader’s loathesome leader, Bob Vander Plaat, is mulling over running for the Senate in the Republican Party primary in Iowa next year. He could win, too.

Via Joe.My.God

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Glenn Beck: Beware Obama’s Marxist revolutionaries, next stop mass murders!


 
Still trying to live up to his reputation as Glenn Beck, on his program today Glenn Beck insisted that it was really “Marxist revolutionaries” in the Obama administration who were causing national parks and monuments to be shuttered during the GOP-led government shutdown.

Despite knowing fully well which party was to blame for the shutdown, Beck blamed Obama anyway, spinning a yarn about “a secret cabal” in the White House whose goal is to “inflict pain” on Americans.

“I want you to understand you are now seeing what I told you about three weeks ago. I told you they have gone from nudge to shove. Your next step is shoot.”

“Understand they are into shove, every Marxist communist revolution always ends with millions dead. Always, without fail, every time.”

Somehow Beck equates Stalinist and Maoist atrocities to the Washington Monument being closed down temporarily and a supposed starvation endgame of the Obama administration:

“They starved them to death. Why? To teach them a lesson. This is the beginning of teaching the American people a lesson: don’t you screw with us.”

Oddly, considering his animus for the “Marxist” President, at the clips end, Beck admonished his listeners to support his “Defund the GOP” campaign before “it will be too late.”

Seems like odd logic, but it’s Glenn Beck so why bother asking why?

How senile would you have to be to willingly choose to tune into Glenn Beck’s radio show??? His audience must have a collective IQ of approximately one peanut… The folks at Rightwing Watch, they at least get paid for this torture!
 

 
Via Rightwing Watch

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘The elephant must go down. And it must be so wounded it does not get up for a long time to come’


 
Andrew Sullivan nails it…

“I regard this development as one of the more insidious and anti-constitutional acts of racist vandalism against the American republic in my adult lifetime. Those who keep talking as if there are two sides to this, when there are not, are as much a part of the vandalism as Ted Cruz. Obama has played punctiliously by the constitutional rules – two elections, one court case – while the GOP has decided that the rules are for dummies and suckers, and throws over the board game as soon as it looks as if it is going to lose by the rules as they have always applied.

—snip—

This time, the elephant must go down. And if possible, it must be so wounded it does not get up for a long time to come.”

Bingo.

He’s too kind, though. “Wounded”? Merely wounded? Like many of you, I’d dearly love to see that bloated, cigar-puffing pachyderm’s head paraded through the streets on the end of a pitchfork.

The longer this drags on, the worse it’s going to get for the GOP. What’s currently transpiring in Washington is easily the worst political miscalculation made by a political party since… since I don’t know when.

H/T Joe.My.God.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Another blistering, anti-Republican cover from the NY Daily News


 
No, it might not have quite the same humiliating panache as yesterday’s classic “House of Turds” cover, but it certainly shows just how OUT OF THEIR CONTROL the “shutdown” narrative has gotten from the hapless Republican Party, doesn’t it, when they’re losing the support of even the mainstream conservative papers like The New York Daily News?

Yesterday there were essentially two competing and contrasting visuals: On Fox News, Breitbart, Drudge Report and the like, all you saw were signs of strutting cock-of-the-walk Republican imbeciles grinning, bragging, proudly acting like they’d just beaten the hell out of the black guy in a barroom brawl. Each and every one of them seemed ridiculously oblivious to the way people outside of their bubble might regard the accuracy of what they were saying, the validity of their “true believer” arguments and also the ridiculous hubris of their behavior. Consider the non-verbal message the Republicans are sending by turning on Fox News for a little while with the sound down, and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m not gonna lie, I’m all over this stuff. I wish I had a whole wall of TVs like David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth. I can’t get enough. Watching the GOP dig itself deeper in shit IN REAL TIME? Pass me the popcorn and a shot of Jim Beam each time they say it’s the Democrats who won’t negotiate. (I’m seeing this sentence in triple, and sliding off my chair, jus’ so’s you fine people know that, okay?...Hiccup!)

Back in the real world, where most people don’t get their “informations” from screaming lunatics on AM talk radio and ALL CAPS EMAILS FILLED WITH PARANOIAC IDIOCY forwarded from someone they go to church with, well, we saw some of that, too, but what of the millions who were desperate to sign up for affordable healthcare yesterday?

That was news, too and so it now sets up a battle of images that the GOP—who were all so sure that Obamacare would be a resounding flop—did not perhaps anticipate:

One side is against the interests of sick people. This party is also the one favored by the vast majority of Christians, go figure.

How many of these Republican voters truly feel in their heart of hearts that if their savior came back TODAY he’d kick the crutches right out from under a sick person or deny health insurance to someone who can’t afford it? What VERSION of Christianity is that? It’s THE AMERICAN VERSION. No wonder young people want no part of it.

We’re witnessing one of the single most absurd moments in all of American history! These people seem to want to bring on another Civil War solely to deny poor people healthcare! It’s sad, it’s pathetic, delusional, too, but in the main, it’s simply absurd.

When all’s said and done, one factor in all this is is becoming more and more obvious and yet no one will say it out loud: It’s not merely a Right vs. Left political conflict in America anymore, it’s a Smart vs. Dumb thing!

Idiocracy is NOW.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘You get NOTHING!’ Jon Stewart rips the GOP shutdown with one of his most profound punchlines, ever


 
Since none of them probably watch The Daily Show, why not share this clip with every idiot Republican you know, work with or are related to? (Every single blood-relative of mine is a Republican and a Creationist, they don’t seek out Jon Stewart. This morning, he’s coming to them.)

Stewart lays out what’s at stake in the current crisis in Washington so clearly that even a Republican could understand it.

His punchline at the very end is pretty profound. This isn’t necessarily Jon Stewart at his funniest, but this is a must-see segment nonetheless.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘House of Turds’: The most instantly iconic New York Daily News cover in history?


 
One for the ages, here. One John Boehner will never, ever live down.

Superb! It certainly beats the previous winner by a longshot.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Yet ANOTHER anti-gay Republican outed


Why the frown, Senator?

Well, would you look at that, another anti-gay Republican has just been outed…

Mike Rogers is the Managing Director of The Raw Story and the director of the Netroots Nation Netroots Connect program. Yesterday, after GOP Sen. John Barrasso denounced Obamacare during an appearance on Fox News, Rogers tweeted:
 

 

Mike Rogers, it should be noted, has a perfect record in such matters. He’s exposed several anti-gay conservatives such as Congressmen Mark Foley, Larry Craig, David Dreier, Edward Schrock and former Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman, who ran George Bush’s re-election campaign in 2004.

Via Towleroad:

Barrasso, a twice-married Presbyterian with three children, has voted against the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. He has also bragged about his votes against gay marriage.

Said Barrasso in 2004: “I believe in limited government, lower taxes, less spending, traditional family values, local control and a strong national defense. In the state Senate, in addition to receiving an ‘A’ rating from the NRA, I have voted for prayer in schools, against gay marriage and have sponsored legislation to protect the sanctity of life.”

Lucky for Barrasso, this news came in the midst of all of the Breaking Bad / impending reichwing government shutdown media hoopla. That hasn’t stopped mention of Rogers’ allegation from making it to Barrasso’s Wikipedia page already.

Below, Barrasso, himself a physician, delivers a GOP radio address against Obamacare. I’d love to know if this Republican hypocrite is opposed to the Affordable Care Act in the same “principled” manner that he is against gay rights?
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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The ‘Invisible Hand’ of the free market flips ‘Atlas Shrugged’ trilogy the bird


Who gives a shit?

After the unfettered free market showed with extraordinary clarity that nobody gave a shit about the crappy Atlas Shrugged movies, its producers are on Kickstarter to finance the third installment. Per Filmdrunk’s Vince Mancini:

According to Ayn Rand’s most fervant fanboys – Shruggalos, as I like to call them – Atlas Shrugged, her 1139-page anti-collectivist screed about what would happen if society’s movers and shakers decided not to work (shrugged, if you will) remains as relevant today as it was when it was published during the days of Mao and Khrushchev in 1957.

When Shruggalos John Aglialoro and Harmon Kaslow couldn’t get socialist Hollywood to follow through with making an Atlas Shrugged movie, they produced it themselves, releasing it on tax day in 2011, when it earned $4.6 million on a $20 million budget. A second installment made $3.3 million in 2012, and now the producers are on Kickstarter raising money for a third installment, Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt?, with a video featuring celebrity Shruggalos Dennis Miller, Sean Hannity, John Stossel, Penn Jillette, Glenn Beck, and that one fat guy with no forehead. WHO’S LOOKING FOR HANDOUTS NOW, PAULTARDS?!?

At least, that’s what they want the story to be. They’re basically financing the $10 million movie themselves again, but they’re using the $250,000 Kickstarter campaign as a publicity stunt, since no one paid attention to their crappy movies the last two times. A canny strategy?

OK, first, I’m totally stealing “Shruggalos.” Second, it seems unlikely that this “publicity stunt” (riiiiiiiiiight) is going to get anyone out to see the end of a preposterous oligarchic fantasy trilogy to which nobody saw the first two installments. There’s no getting around it, Atlas shat the bed. These are self-described Objectivists—elite Objectivists, even—begging for money because their business failed - being, what’s that word they love to throw at the disadvantaged? PARASITIC. Just like their maven herself. Financially, however, it appears to be working.

Here’s the only Ayn Rand film adaptation that anyone ever needs to bother with.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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