A new Change.org petition is currently circulating demanding that the Quicken Loans arena, site of the 2016 RNC, allow the open carry of firearms. The convention will be held in Ohio, which is an “open-carry” state, but the venue itself strictly forbids the carry of firearms on premises.
According to the petition, the gun ban is a “direct affront to the Second Amendment and puts all attendees at risk”:
As the National Rifle Association has made clear, “gun-free zones” such as the Quicken Loans Arena are “the worst and most dangerous of all lies.” The NRA, our leading defender of gun rights, has also correctly pointed out that “gun free zones… tell every insane killer in America… (the) safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.”
Cleveland, Ohio is consistently ranked as one of the top ten most dangerous cities in America. By forcing attendees to leave their firearms at home, the RNC and Quicken Loans Arena are putting tens of thousands of people at risk both inside and outside of the convention site.
This doesn’t even begin to factor in the possibility of an ISIS terrorist attack on the arena during the convention. Without the right to protect themselves, those at the Quicken Loans Arena will be sitting ducks, utterly helpless against evil-doers, criminals or others who wish to threaten the American way of life.
We are all too familiar with the mass carnage that can occur when citizens are denied their basic God-given rights to carry handguns or assault weapons in public. EVERY AMERICAN HAS THE RIGHT TO PROTECT AND DEFEND THEIR FAMILY. With this irresponsible and hypocritical act of selecting a “gun-free zone” for the convention, the RNC has placed its members, delegates, candidates and all US citizens in grave danger.
We must take a stand. We cannot allow the national nominating convention of the party of Lincoln and Reagan to be hijacked by weakness and political correctness. The policies of the Quicken Loans Arena do not supersede the rights given to us by our Creator in the U.S. Constitution.
It’s no secret that many top GOP officials are not at all happy about the possibility of Trump getting the party’s nomination, and there has been much speculation about the possibility of a brokered convention where the popular will of their base could be superseded. If Trump is denied the nomination, there’s a very good chance of an angry backlash from his supporters. You can count on it. Trump himself has even suggested that his supporters may “riot” if he is not the party’s nominee.
Imagine the 1968 DNC riots all over again, except move the venue over to the RNC and replace anti-war hippies with bitter old white people… WITH GUNS.
So, hey, go ahead and sign the petition—just to see how interesting it makes the 2016 RNC. The problem of Trump’s supporters may just solve itself.
In July, the $101 million “Ark Encounter” water park will open in Kentucky and now a group calling themselves the Tri-State Freethinkers—representing exasperated non-believers in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana—are seeking to raise some money in order to put up billboards trolling the Creationist-themed amusement park. The Ark Encounter destination is specifically a water park based on the myth of Noah’s Ark. The park, created by a consortium of investors headed by creationist Ken Ham—the hapless silly person who debated Bill Nye—and his “Answers in Genesis” group, includes a 510-ft model of Noah’s Ark and an interactive teaching exhibit that er… uh… “teaches” the rather silly notion that it was in fact the Great Flood which separated the world’s continents.
The first $2,000 raised by the campaign—which they have done already—will go toward setting up a single small billboard for a month. If they’re able to raise $6,000, the group will be able to mount six small billboards or one big one along an interstate highway.
If they are able to raise $150 million, the Tri-State Freethinkers say “we will build our very own Genocide & Incest Park.” The group, which has over 1300 members, are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so your donations are tax-deductible.
Who’s your favorite candidate for the presidency? The one who plans to carpet bomb ISIS? The one who wants to murder the families of terrorists? Or the architect of our disastrous intervention in Libya, who once threatened to nuke Iran? Whose saber-rattling do you think demonstrates the blithest disregard for civilian lives?
While bellicose enough to reflect our leaders’ thirst for human blood, our current national anthem has a few deficiencies. No one can sing it, its melody is ripped straight from “To Anacreon in Heaven,” and it has a truly awful third verse that disses slaves.
One Shannon Madden of Birmingham, Alabama, has proposed an elegant solution: replace “The Star-Spangled Banner” with Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” This is an idea whose time has come. For starters, you can sing it. “Satan, laughing, spreads his wings” is a more realistic image of the aftermath of our merry adventures than “our flag was still there.” And though I seldom take in a game of sports, on those rare occasions when I do, I would rather lend my voice to an Iommi, Osbourne, Butler and Ward composition than a song by a slave-holding anti-abolitionist. Wouldn’t you?
Writer, musician, raconteur Dave Hill is the author of the upcoming comic anthology Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Dave Hill is a very, very funny man. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Dick Cavett, Andy Richter, Malcolm Gladwell and John Hodgman also think he’s pretty hilarious. John Oliver must like Dave, too, because he uses “Go” by Dave’s band, Valley Lodge, as the jaunty theme tune for his Last Week Tonight with John Oliver show on HBO. Apparently Samantha Bee is a Hill fan, as well, since she had Dave on her new Full Frontal program earlier this week, serenading some college-educated Donald Trump supporters with a little ditty he’d composed about Trump especially for the occasion (see below).
And Dave actually knows what he’s singing about from experience. He really knows Donald Trump. Or at least he is—or was—once very, very briefly acquainted with the Donald for about an hour or so back in 2004…
The year was 2004. Both NBC’s The Apprentice and really fun cell-phone ringtones had taken an unsuspecting public by storm. I had managed to elude both—I kept my phone on vibrate and was ready to stare in bemusement at anyone even thinking of telling me I had been “fired.”
But I needed money, so when the call came to write ringtones for Donald Trump, a quiet businessman from Queens who had been reluctantly thrust into the spotlight by the seventh-most popular program on network television at the time, I said yes. I had been doing some freelance writing and one of my clients was among the tangle of corporations assigned to the case. Fortunately, they decided to throw me a bone.
Of course, I knew a thing or two about Trump already. He had flawless hair; he slept on piles of money each night; given the choice between having something not gold-plated or entirely gold-plated, he chose door number two every time. Still, I wanted to do the best job possible, so I had one of Trump’s minions send me copies of two of his books, Trump: The Art of the Deal and Trump: The Art of the Comeback, as well as an anatomically correct Trump doll that would tell me all sorts of things every time I pressed its back, something I couldn’t help but do repeatedly as soon as it came into my possession.
“You really think you’re a good leader?” the doll would ask, seemingly out of the blue. “I don’t.”
A little harsh, maybe, but also something I probably needed to hear.
Despite all the hours I spent playing with that doll, though, I had my work cut out for me. Somehow, in what I can only assume was the result of someone putting a gun to Trump’s head, NBC owned the rights to his electrifying catchphrase “You’re fired!” The challenge was mine to figure out what else he might say—to write some slogans people might want to hear coming out of their phones besides those two magical words that had already galvanized a nation.
“Your services are no longer required at this place of business!”
“Please stop showing up here for work, okay?”
“Die, you anus!”
These are but a few of the alternatives to “You’re fired!” that I proposed. In the end, though, it was decided that Trump’s ringtone avatar would be less cutthroat and more inspirational, encouraging cell-phone users to answer promptly so they could take advantage of a big business opportunity or maybe just hurt someone’s feelings. I whipped up a few dozen Trumpist gems. Track ‘em down if you like; I imagine they’re still out there somewhere, priced to move.
“This is Donald Trump. I have no choice but to tell you . . . you’re getting a phone call.”
“I’m Donald Trump and this is the call of a lifetime!”
“This is Donald Trump. Answer your phone now—it might be me calling.”
Maybe not my finest hour, but, hey—the customer is always right. After that, I assumed my work was done, but I ended up being asked to attend the actual taping, too, at none other than Trump Tower.
“You mean I’ll actually be in the room while Donald is saying the stuff I wrote?” I asked a guy from the ringtone concern.
“Yes,” he said, placing a hand on my shoulder for emphasis. This was officially about to be the biggest thing anyone in my family had ever done, including fighting in wars or any of that other crap my older relatives always went on about. Naturally, I couldn’t wait to tell them.
“I’m working with Donald Trump,” I told my mom over the phone.
“Who?” my mom asked.
“Donald Trump,” I told her. “The guy from The Apprentice.”
“David got a job with Tony Crump,” my mom yelled to my dad in the next room.
“That’s nice,” my dad yelled back.
They were pumped.
When the big day rolled around, I put on a suit and tie and worked as many hair products into my scalp as possible before heading over to Trump’s offices in midtown Manhattan to meet the other dozen or so people required to complete a task of this magnitude.
As expected, Trump HQ was beyond opulent. It was as if a blind decorator had been given an unlimited budget and told he’d never work in this town again.
“This way, please,” a Trump representative, who was difficult to focus on amid all that sparkle, said before leading us to a conference room. Along the way, I spotted Donald Jr. sitting in an adjacent office, his hair perfect, as he no doubt bought or sold something without even thinking about it. It ruled.
“You have one hour,” the rep announced, prompting everyone in the conference room to spring into action, turning it into a makeshift recording studio. A few minutes later, the doors opened and in walked Trump, somehow looking even Trumpier than I’d anticipated. He wore a suit and tie and, of course, his trademark scowl. And though he stood mere feet from me, I found I had no further insight into his hair-care regimen. Looking into his coiffure did nothing to demystify it. In fact, it only confused me more.
“Right this way, Mr. Trump,” a ringtone specialist said, gently urging him toward the microphones while being careful not to actually touch him.
“Let’s make this quick,” Trump grunted, already sounding like the ringtones I’d written. “I’ve got a busy day ahead of me.” At this point, a mild panic set in as everyone in the room became convinced he or she might very well be “fired” or at least told to wait by the elevators at any moment. As for me, though, I couldn’t help but relax a bit; it had suddenly occurred to me that Trump might not be the oblivious blowhard everyone thinks. I mean, sure, he was a blowhard, maybe even the biggest blowhard of all time, but he also seemed totally self-aware, like he knew he was just playing a character, and that as soon as we left, he’d run into Ivanka’s office, shut the door behind him, and squeal, “I got ‘em again, honey!” Something about that made me actually kind of like the guy, if I sat there and thought about it long enough.
Moments later, after a technician had scrambled to hit any and all record buttons, Trump began barreling through the ringtones, printed on large cue cards that would remain easily readable even when he squinted judgmentally, which was always. Occasionally he’d give emphasis to a different word or see if getting angrier might help sell things a bit more. Meanwhile, everyone else in the room remained pinned to the wall, just trying to get through the proceedings intact.
Things seemed to be going well enough until about twenty minutes later, when Trump paused abruptly and began scanning the room in the manner that, by now, haunts people’s dreams the world over.
“Who wrote these things?” he barked, pointing at the cue cards like he wanted them taken out back and shot.
“That guy! Dave Hill!” at least five people volunteered in unison, their tone suggesting they would happily stab me right then and there if Trump would just say the word.
I figured I might start gathering my things at this point, but before I could, Trump looked at me, dropped his scowl, and said, “You’re a very good writer.”
“Thanks,” I said with a nod, sensing a trap. For the remaining forty minutes or so of the recording session, Trump refused to address anyone in the room but me. Others tried to intervene, but as soon as they finished talking, Trump would turn to me, his right-hand man, and ask, “What do you think, Dave?”
It was a weird kind of trust to have earned, sure, but it was also kind of cool—especially considering that otherwise I probably would have been just sitting at home scanning Craigslist for missed connections.
As the session wrapped up, I recalled something else I’d learned about Trump through my tireless research: he hates shaking hands. Naturally, this made my mission clear. This will be the true test of our love, I thought as I stood waiting for any others brazen enough to approach Trump to say whatever they were gonna say with their hands glued to their sides before get- ting the hell out of his sight, dammit.
With the path clear, I approached him for some bro time.
“Nice working with you, Donald,” I told him.
“You, too, Dave,” he said.
“Thanks,” I replied. I gingerly extended my hand. I could feel eyebrows across the room rising in slow-motion panic.
Will he? Won’t he?
Against all odds, Trump slowly reached out and grabbed my hand, shaking it not so firmly, as if to suggest his henchmen might be waiting for me outside and not so softly as if to suggest a quality hang in Montauk was off the table. No, this was just right—perfect, in fact, almost like he was a regular human being who had done this sort of thing before. All these years later, that shake still feels like a victory of some sort, but I’m not sure for whom.
As I sit here writing this in my underpants, Donald Trump continues his disturbing bid for the American presidency. And I find myself hoping more than ever that he really is only playing a character, that maybe he’s just the greatest performance artist of our time, a modern-day Warhol or slightly chattier Marina Abramovíc who will any day now say “Tada!” and take a bow, then go open an all-you-can-eat shrimp joint in the Outer Banks or something.
With each passing day, I fear I may be wrong. Still, whatever happens, it’ll always be nice to look back on that day at Trump Tower and think, “Sure, he’s a hate-spewing boob who somehow manages to sound even angrier and crazier than that doll I still can’t help but drag out from under the bed every once in awhile…and, yes, he’s even got that certain awful something to win the endorsement of the unicellular Sarah Palin. But put the two of us in a room together for an hour and, goddamn, do that son of a bitch and I make one hell of a ringtone.
I’ve never been a fan of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s protest song “Universal Soldier,” the one Donovan popularized in the 60s and Ron Paul dusted off for his 2008 presidential campaign. I’m sure it felt good to belt “Universal Soldier” down at the hootenanny, but was this ostentatious display of superiority to the poor suckers on the front line actually supposed to pass for a critique?
Probably the friendliest thing you could say about Sainte-Marie’s analysis is that it leaves out a few important factors that might compel people to cross the ocean and eat hot lead instead of staying at home with a nice plate of squash blossoms—you know, factors like power and class, which are helpful in understanding the merry adventures of the press gang, or the practice of substitution during the Civil War. All I’m saying is, as suggestions go, “we wouldn’t have wars if soldiers would just stop fighting” is about as helpful as “we’d have a socialist paradise tomorrow if everyone would just quit their jobs and eat dirt.” (My word, why do the working classes toil so? And why would a person travel so far to choke on mustard gas?)
Then again, “Universal Soldier” is civilization itself compared to Jan and Dean’s poisonous answer song. On “The Universal Coward,” a right-wing screed sandwiched between anodyne versions of “Yesterday” and “It Ain’t Me Babe” on 1965’s Folk ‘n Roll, Jan sang what Nixon believed (Dean, to his credit, “refused to join him”), viz. that everyone who participated in the antiwar movement was the dupe of a Communist plot to destroy American morale.
If you weren’t excited about wading in the blood of Vietnamese peasants, Jan Berry thought you were too stupid to understand international relations, traitorous, and a total puss to boot. His lyrics lump in protesters and COs with defectors to the Soviet Union, for farting out loud:
He’s young, he’s old, he’s in between and he’s so very much confused
He’ll scrounge around and protest all day long
He joins the pickets at Berkeley, and he burns up his draft card,
And he’s twisted into thinkin’ fightin’ is all wrong
He’s a pacifist, an extremist, a Communist or just a Yank (?)
A demonstrator, an agitator, just a knave
A conscientious objector, a fanatic or a defector,
And he doesn’t know he’s diggin’ his own grave
Aww, he just can’t get it through his thick skull why the mighty U.S.A.
Has got to be the watchdog of the world
Else that greedy U.S.S.R. will bury us from afar
And he’ll never see the missiles bein’ hurled
He’s the universal coward, and he runs from anything
From a giant, from a human, from an elf
He runs from Uncle Sam, he runs from Vietnam,
But most of all he’s runnin’ from himself
Worse than anything in the lyrics is the almost intolerable tone of self-satisfaction in Berry’s voice, redundant as a shit enema and so frankly repulsive as to make one long for Sainte-Marie’s comparatively restrained self-righteousness. It feels like a warm bath after all that.
If that can be accomplished, it would mean that the Vermont senator, who has set grassroots fundraising records and raised an already astonishing $21.3 million in January from small dollar donors, will have nearly doubled that amount the following month. By comparison, Hillary Clinton raised $14.9 million in January. Ted Cruz, the leading Republican fundraiser for the month, took in $7.6 million.
The average donation to the Sanders campaign is $27. If you can afford $50, send that. If you can only afford to send $5, by all means, send it. It all adds up and it’s a chance to send a powerful message that the Sanders campaign is alive and well after the unfortunate drubbing he got in South Carolina.
But forget about that, America is a big country.
I want to see how Bernie does in California. I don’t think that I even know a single person who’s not all in for Bernie. I see no excitement, none, for HRC. I see plenty of excitement for Bernie.
Shoes by Gucci that look like Donald Trump’s hair (the shoes are on the right)
In a move that sure seems intentional, purveyors of high-end fashion, Gucci, have put out a slipper made from goat hair that looks just like the mythical mop on top of the current GOP Presidential front runner’s head.
Princetown Goat-Hair Mule, in “New Natural” $1,800
Gucci’s “Princetown Goat-Hair Mule’s” retail for a whopping $1,800 and like most of their high-end footwear, are difficult to track down despite their uncanny resemblance to what people refer to as Trump’s “hair.” It’s important to note that Gucci dyed the goat hair (imported from China just like many of The Donald’s signature clothing line items), in order to achieve its, er… Trumpy hue that Gucci describes as “New Natural.”
There are lots of un-ironic reasons to love the 1970s, but most of them are musical—the punk explosion, No-Wave/mutant disco, Motörhead, Thin White Duke era Bowie, those really kickass King Crimson albums with John Wetton, and on and on and on. But the eye-bleed aesthetics that the normals embraced in that decade sure had moments, too, and outside of menswear, rarely did those aesthetics find purer expression than in the decorating flair of people with way more money than taste.
A choice example exists not just perfectly preserved, but frozen in time—this North Royalton, OH home for sale is so fucking ’70s you can still smell the heady aftermath of key parties just by looking at the pictures. Built in 1949, last sold in 1971 for a modest-seeming 85K, it can be yours now! The lucky buyer gets a 13-acre lot with an in-ground pool (kidney-shaped of course) and a 6,300 square foot museum of glorious tackiness. Pea-green tassled curtains; check. Wood paneled kitchen that’s an affront not just to trees but to the idea of trees; check. Fully equipped, shag-carpeted gym with floor-to-ceiling mirrors; check. Log-cabin den; check. Audibly red basement lounge with a vinyl-upholstered bar; check.
It keeps getting better and better, after the jump…
The uncannily realistic sculptures of Milwaukee-based sculptor Marc Sijan have been displayed in museums and galleries from coast to coast. His life-sized works are full-time residents at thirty museums. The running joke about Sijan’s creations is that they look so “alive,” that you might actually feel compelled to start a conversation with one of them. This is not at all difficult to understand once you have seen Sijan’s people. Sijan’s subjects are relatable everyday people. Your neighbors and inhabitants of middle-America, people you know or might see in the grocery store—to rather grotesque versions of the human form that have been maligned by age, indulgence or perhaps circumstance.
Part of the rigorous process the now 68-year-old sculptor goes through to achieve the all too human appearance of actual skin for his works consists of 25 coats of paint and varnish. An incredibly private man, it can take Sijan anywhere from six-months to a year to complete one of his contemplative sculptures, which the artist creates with plaster casts derived from actual live models. Nothing, especially imperfections, are spared when it comes to the detail Sujan brings to his sculptures. Goosebumps, broken blood vessels, saggy skin - Sijan’s “people” are about as real as any of us. Like it or not.
Some of the images that follow may be slightly NSFW.
Yesterday on the In These Times website, Miles Kampf-Lassin alerted readers to a newly posted video that purports to be of a young Bernie Sanders getting arrested at a civil rights protest against school segregation in Chicago in 1963. The future Vermont Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate was then just a 21-year-old student at the University of Chicago.
Clearly—if this footage is indeed Bernie Sanders and it sure looks like him to me, he was rather a distinctive-looking fellow even in his younger years—then this is visual proof positive that Sanders has been consistent in his beliefs—and fighting the good fight—for his entire adult life. And yes, this was back when a young Hillary Clinton was a confirmed “Goldwater girl.” Feel the burn?
The footage was taken from Kartemquin Film’s ‘63 Boycott project, which chronicles the Chicago Public School Boycott of 1963, and was filmed by Kartemquin co-founder Jerry Temaner.
The protest on Chicago’s South Side took aim at racist education and housing policies being carried out in Englewood—namely the proposed construction of a new school for black students made up of aluminum trailers known as “Willis Wagons,” named after the Chicago Public Schools Superintendent Benjamin Willis who first ordered them. These trailers were used by the city to deal with overcrowding in black schools, thereby preventing integration of black students into less-densely populated white schools.
Sanders was arrested for his civil disobedience—specifically resisting arrest—and fined $25.
Look at the glasses. Also, compare the big chunky watch in the clip below with the big chunky watch the young Sanders is seen sporting in the photo below:
I wouldn’t bet my life on it that it’s a young Bernie Sanders in this footage, but I’d surely wager a pinky or a toe…