Paine & Loathing for March – by Cobb

The Republican All-Star Game

March Madness is here kids, and with it a general fascination with any and all things whose greater meaning can be divined from a competition-style bracket. With that in mind, I offer some of the latter-day All Stars from the Right; a menagerie of goons so hopelessly bent they could only find company with each other, like maximum-security murderers and pedophiles whispering to each other through cracks between cells.

Ah, Spring!

All hail Domo Arigato Mr. Alberto Gonzales, looking his most What, Me Worry? outside his office yesterday. His non-apology for removing generally liked Bush-era appointed federal prosecutors across the country deserves applause for its apathetic attitude as well as its cold Mafia-like execution. The greater message is for all you right-leaners out there: Sure you’re Republican…but are you Republican enough?

An honorable mention is surely due to the Justice that never was–White House council Harriet Miers–who, in a fit of Cesarian dedication, has thrown her name under a bus to ensure Gonzales needn’t remove himself out of such motives as, say, honor or propriety or responsibility for your actions.

Hey, let’s not forget to raise the roof for Gen. Peter Pace, chairman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for FINALLY addressing the pink elephant in the room. Addressing the editing board for the Chicago Tribune earlier this week, he equated being gay with adultery.

“I believe that military members who sleep with other military members’ wives are immoral in their conduct, and we should not tolerate that,” Pace said, showing everyone how not-gay he was, “I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral, and that we should not condone immoral acts.”

Hear that, adulterers? Next time you’re banging someone else’s wife, know that Gen. Peter Pace thinks it totally makes you a gay.

What I love most about this is the fact that it reinforces the official Bush policy on gayness. For those so terrified by gays they became Bush supporters, they can look at this and say, “Good. We can’t officially keep them out of the military, but at least it means we don’t have to stop hating them for what they are. And then they can die for our cause. Everyone wins!”

Okay so Scooter Libby was found guilty last week and I had to mention it because I’d been tossing around the following sentence…If you don’t like the outcome of your case, trial, trial again!

He’s only got to appeal a couple of times. The presidential pardon is only 21 months away.

I think the real winner in all of this is prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who succeeded in taking four years to bust a man who didn’t lie smart enough, as opposed to going after the architects of the entire ordeal. He’s proven to everyone how hopelessly bureaucratic the Justice Department has become. He comes off as a bigger shemp than Libby himself, who will at least be taken care of in time. Fitzgerald’s a man who went after wrong-doing because of a dedication to law and order and ends up aiding the Bush Administration by slapping them lightly on the wrist for one of the greatest violations in Executive history. I hope he is eternally haunted by this, posing his guppy and always ruing the ones that got away.

Keep an eye on Republican Presidential hopefuls John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. The two Right-boys that terrify me most for their crossover appeal will slowly but surely move center on most of their truly defining positions, like their acceptance for gay-mos and their idea that guns that shoot lots of bullets real fast shouldn’t really have a place in your double-wide. McCain has already made nice with America’s Sweethearts, The Christian Right, as he slouches his way across the country, and Giuliani at one point will have to break his (up until now) brilliant vow of silence on any and all positions. Mass. ex-Gov. Mitt Romney who had to tolerate “alternative lifestyles” is painting himself wisely as someone who did it because the people wanted it, not because he did. Now he can run around the country and gay-hate a lot more effectively.

Cobb is a freelance writer and regular sonuvabitch based in Los Angeles.

Pop Goes the Weasel – By Cobb

With this post starts a new column called “Paine and Loathing”. A humorous, irreverent look at our world. You may not like everything said here, we’re bound to ruffle some feathers. And for that we take as our inspiration Thomas Paine himself.

“Pop Goes the Weasel”

Every night when I go out
The monkey’s on the table
Take a stick and knock it off
Pop goes the weasel!

-uncommon verse

There is no more big news. Every image you see, every soundbite that attacks the psyche is no longer about new information. It’s about saturation, and if you haven’t figured it out yet, THEY have won.

If you need me to point out who THEY are, you’re beyond help. Jump out a window. Casually walk in front of traffic. If you know THEY’ve won, well, despair is not an option and this is a call to arms.


Bush jumps on the airwaves and lets his fellow Americans know that we’re staying the course. We’re augmenting, we’re surging, we’re Big Sizing, but we are definitely not escalating. Near 22,000 soldiers is a daunting number; six battalions is a lot, but it puts us nowhere near troop levels we’ve had in Iraq in the early days of this war and only puts us back on track with where levels were about this time last year.

People aren’t happy to hear this. They’re dissatisfied. But this is what Papa says and what Papa says goes. We did, after all, (re)elect him. Even with the Democrat’s slim victories last November, what wisdom is our Commander-in-Chief supposed to take away from it? Okay, he knows people aren’t happy with a lot of his policy, but he’s made it clear from the start he’s in the driver’s seat with regard to Iraq. November meant he’d be more than happy to “listen to suggestions,” but the last word was always going to be his.

Last word: 21.5K more bodies to latch the seal on a pressure cooker.

I’m not going to pretend to exhibit the divine wisdom Bush claims to have. I don’t know what SHOULD be done. Pulling out will save lives now, but the Baghdad Vacuum would make mid-ninties Bosnia look like DisneyWorld. It’s already a heluva mess, but maybe McCain’s 500,000 soldier march would make a difference…for now. But how long are we going to need to be there to pacify Sunni/Shiite animosity? How long, oh lord how long?

“My friend my friend, do not be afraid. I have hated my brother since the beginning of time. You leave tomorrow or next year or next millennia, we will be at each other’s throat as soon as your Black Hawks are in the air.”

Either solution is ugly and difficult. Both have sour consequences for the short- and long-term. But at least they’re new ideas, something to fight the monotony. However our man is staying the course; his idea is the same as it’s been for the last six years. I had no idea that between two shitty solutions, our C-I-C manages to come up with something that makes them both smell like roses.


A lot has been made of Dick Cheney’s interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN last week, specifically the awkward exchange they had regarding Cheney’s daughter Mary, and her pregnancy. Thanks to modern technology that I’ve perfected in secret with Apple and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, I give you a partial transcript not of what was said, but more importantly, what was MEANT:

Wolf Blitzer, CNN: So, your administration really doesn’t care about gays having equal rights, but you have a gay daughter, who is pregnant–isn’t that a little bit of a conflict of interest?

Dick Cheney, VP: No. You’re an asshole. I will crush you.

WB: I like your daughter…not in that way but, well, I’m sorry. Please don’t get me fired.

DC: Listen, jerk. She’s a lesbo. Can’t change that. She campaigns for me, which means I love her. It also shows that our administration thinks that even mutants like gays have a place in our society; a perfectly subservient place in our society.

WB: But…

DC: I don’t want to have to tell you again. Do you know where this interview is taking place? Do you think you can kick me in the shin and walk out of here like nothing happened? I can end you any time I want to, Blitzer.

WB: I am so so sorry.

DC: Yeah we shit on gays. Who cares? Most people don’t like ’em, so we don’t have to like ’em. I’m not going rogue with the gay issue like Nancy Regean did with stem cells. Too much of a hot button. Gotta keep those Evangelical blocs behind us.


I used to think that the Internet was for porn. Turns out it’s for snuff videos. Saddam Husseins last humiliating moments are up for free perusal to the billions, and your V-Chips can’t stop your kids from watching it over and over again. I wish I had more to write about it, but the subject is exhausted. And it’s more fun to talk about it when a hanging goes wrong!

Dwight Eisenhower helped design the modern hanging chart for military punishment, which factors in weight with regard to the length of rope needed to effectively break the neck of a guilty party. It is a dark and cruel science, but a science nonetheless. When the neck breaks, you’re paralyzed and then you choke to death without feeling it. Hooray!

But if you don’t follow the chart, two pretty awful things can happen. If the rope is too short, the guilty’s neck won’t break and they get to dangle by their own body weight and writhe in pain until they suffocate. If the rope is too long, the guilty’s head will pop right off. I’m no head scientist, but I’ve read in crude French Revolution romance novels that the head remains alive shortly after being separated by the body. So, if you’re unlucky enough to have too much rope to hang yourself with, not only does your head come off, but you also get punched in the face, because your head has to land somewhere and I’m pretty certain no one’s going to catch it before it hits the cold concrete floor.

That happened a couple weeks ago, didn’t it?

Insult, meet injury. Food for thought. Think of it while watching “Capote” or “Dancer in the Dark.” Until then…