Category Archives: politics

Now that’s change we can all believe in

The Secretary of Agriculture will see you now

Here in America, becankled hockey mom Sarah Palin slaps on a pair of designer glasses and a Supercuts hairdo and is immediately the most attractive national politician since Rutherford B. Hayes scandalized Washington with his off-white petticoats.

In Japan, they took things a step further. Why? Because it’s Japan. And Japan is six cuckoo clocks on a sombrero crazy. And awesome:

Japanese reporters and political commentators have dubbed the DPJ’s 26 new female Diet members, many of them young and attractive, the “Ozawa girls” after former party boss Ichiro Ozawa, mastermind of the campaign strategy. In addition to Isogai, the group includes a former sex-industry reporter who has appeared in a provocative photo spread and an erotic movie; a pretty former television reporter; and a 28-year-old activist who gained celebrity after leading a well-publicized legal battle against the government after contracting hepatitis C from a tainted blood transfusion.

The strategy helped propel the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to a sweeping victory over the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The LDP had held power for decades before the DPJ realized that “hot girls” was a viable election strategy in a country in which you can buy used panties from vending machines.

Naturally, the effort has its doubters who say that simply casting about for hot ladiezzz and then putting them in power is not exactly going to help:

“I do not think the DPJ made a serious effort to recruit qualified women. They just wanted to have some kind of flowers,” said Kumiko Shindo, a professor of gender studies at Toyo Eiwa University. “They will never let them into decision-making or put them in important positions.”

However, many in Japan see things differently. A Tokyo University poll found that when shown pictures of the neophyte politicians, 67% of Japanese penises said “Boiiiiiiiiiing!!” while another 22% said “Ooooooohohhhh!!” The remaining 11% had no opinion.

Politics meets porn in Japan [Global Post]


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You’re all a bunch of homophiliacs

Pax Arcana

I’ve often wondered what a hard-bitten Texas conservative — who had never ventured outside his home state — would think if suddenly dropped into my neighborhood for a few weeks.

obama_fairey_buy_me1Priuses outnumber pickups by at least 10-1 in my neighborhood, and the next time I see a McCain/Palin bumper sticker will probably be the first. In the Somerville/Cambridge area, Obama was a cinch.

According to this article in the Washington Post, this exact kind of political clustering is on the rise. Today, nearly half of all Americans live in “landslide counties,” where the 2008 election saw Obama or McCain take the county’s votes by a margin greater than 20%. When I was born (1976), only about 25% of Americans lived in landslide counties.

What does it mean? Well, for one thing, it means we’re full of shit when we say we want to live in diverse communities:

“Americans tell survey researchers they prefer to live in diverse communities, but this country’s residential patterns suggest otherwise,” said Paul Taylor, who directs the Pew Research Center’s Social and Demographic Trends Project. The question is why.

“Do some people gravitate toward communities so they can be among neighbors who share their political views?” Taylor and his colleague Richard Morin asked in a recent report. “Alternatively, does living in a politically homogeneous community diminish people’s appetite for diversity?”

The term for political/residential clustering is “homophily.” The article’s author suggests a number of possible reasons for it.

One possibility is that neighborhood residents adopt similar points of view to avoid upsetting the apple cart. Other researchers say the problem is closely tied to race, since the Democratic party decided to be the first to support civil rights and other wildly dangerous ideas — thereby thrusting most white southerners into the Republican party.

But I find the third explanation the most plausible. According to Bill Bishop and Robert Cushing, increasingly mobile people don’t select neighborhoods based explicitly on political sentiment (yard signs, bumper stickers, etc.). Instead they choose to live with people who shop like they do:

john_mccain“These are the kinds of differences that are political in America today,” Bishop and Cushing said in an e-mail they composed together. “People don’t see themselves as members of demographic groups — a white working-class man, an educated woman. Like the woman in California who described herself to us as an ‘ocean-oriented person,’ Americans define themselves by their interests: the bands they listen to, the foods they eat, the sports they follow, the spiritual beliefs they adopt.”

Political polarization, according to this explanation, is a consumer phenomenon: You like Cheerios; I like Wheaties. Americans have lots of choices — you can live in a cul-de-sac surrounded by fellow Mormons, or in a gay enclave, or in a neighborhood where yoga studios outnumber fast-food outlets.

Lifestyle choices, in turn, determine political loyalties as voters search for candidates who feel like “one of us.”

This explains a lot. I, for one, think President Obama would be an excellent choice to write a blog about random cultural detritus and zombies and baseball.

Why the Ideological Melting Pot Is Getting So Lumpy [Washington Post]

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Barkley on politics

Father Scott

It’s easy to assume that celebrities who pursue political careers are unsubstantial and just looking to maintain their fame. I always figured the same about Charles Barkley, who for years has talked about running for governor of Alabama.

But in today’s interview with Ball Don’t Lie, he breaks down politics in a way I really appreciate:

BDL: Do you already have a campaign slogan picked out?

Barkley: That’s what I’m talking about, I don’t give a [crap] about [most of the issues besides the ones discussed]. If gay people want to get married, God bless them. I’m pro-choice; I’m not going to talk about that. We’re going to have great schools. We’re gonna make sure everybody have economic opportunity, and we’re going to make sure, you’re safe in the neighborhood. Now, if you get your education, you’ve got a chance to get a good job. I can’t do any more for you than that, what more do you want? Politicians want you walking over [stuff] that’s not important and insignificant so they can divide and conquer. Like, if a politician looked me in the face and said, I’m going to give you these three things, hey, that should be heaven.

Simplistic, sure, but pretty elemental. Whether you like him or not, Chuck’s always a good read, go see what he has to say.

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This is embarrassing

Perry Ellis

You mean to tell me the best James Michael Curley‘s home town can do is a couple of penny-ante liquor license fooraraws, while the governor of Illinois gets taken down by the Feds?

Somebody tell Deval to get on the stick and bribe somebody already. And it wouldn’t hurt to throw in a few curses, either.

Best. Haircut. Ever.

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Mirko Geffken should prepare for the shitstorm

Pax Arcana

While most of those displeased with the results of Tuesday night’s election merely vented on their Facebook statuses (statii?), one local businessman took things a giant douchey step beyond that.

According to Jeff Cutler (via Universal Hub), Mirko Geffken is the owner of Aspiant, a retardedly named consulting company based in Cambridge, MA. Just minutes after the major networks announced Obama’s victory in the presidential race Tuesday night, Geffken fired off an email to all employees saying that the company would be revoking its contributions to their healthcare plans.

Mirko Geffken, aka Scrooge McFuck

And, for reasons that defy comprehension, travel reimbursements are being revoked as well.

Here’s how Geffken explained the move to his employees:

I regret having to move in this direction, but this is the partially the cost of doing business in the state of Massachusetts and the impact that future policies will have on this organization.

I can only hope that future elections will provide a more positive environment for business or further measures will have to be taken.

Further measures should be forefront on Geffken’s brain, I would think, as this maneuver has all the markings of a bad PR shitstorm hurricane tornado. Bostonist has already declared him the “douche of the week,” and I suspect it won’t belong before this story ends up on Digg and Fark and Reddit and all kinds of other sites that nerds (like those Geffken would want to hire one day for his IT consultancy) like to read.

I’ll refrain from piling on, since Geffken will undoubtedly hear it from all corners (Cutler posted his office telephone number) — but I would advise Mirko Geffken to get his toilet paper umbrella ready, ’cause here it comes…

Healthcare mandatory in MA? Evidently not at Aspiant [Jeff Cutler]
Company blames Massachusetts voters for its decision to eliminate health-insurance coverage [Universal Hub]
Douche of the Week: Mirko Geffken Stops Paying His Employees’ Health Insurance

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Last one, I promise

Pax Arcana

As globe-hopping dilettante Father Scott (I’ve sent him on the Grand Tour to mingle with the upper crust of the Europe — and hopefully touch a boobie or two) points out in the comments to this post, Pax Arcana has veered far from its anti-political mission statement of late. Obviously that’s my fault, as I was consumed by my breathless stupidity and sold out our nation’s future to a terrorist celebrity socialist who is going to appoint gangsta rappers to his cabinet and maybe try to close some corporate tax loopholes or something.

Barring any hilarious or totally obscure zombie, baseball, or science related angles to the big story of the year, we will refrain from mentioning it again.

journalist_waitwhutBut first, you have GOT to read this article on the Newsweek Web site. Basically it’s a collection of nuggets gathered during the campaign that were not released — for various reasons — during the home stretch. In it, we discover that Sarah Palin may or may not have spent way more than the reported $150,000 on clothes and shit for her family, that John McCain consistently demonstrated basic human decency when directing the tone of his campaign only to be sold out but good by Civil Rights (and Pax Arcana) hero John Lewis, and that Barack Obama hates debating because Brian Williams asks stupid questions:

The debates unnerved both candidates. When he was preparing for them during the Democratic primaries, Obama was recorded saying, “I don’t consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, ‘You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.’ So when Brian Williams is asking me about what’s a personal thing that you’ve done [that’s green], and I say, you know, ‘Well, I planted a bunch of trees.’ And he says, ‘I’m talking about personal.’ What I’m thinking in my head is, ‘Well, the truth is, Brian, we can’t solve global warming because I f—ing changed light bulbs in my house. It’s because of something collective’.”

OK. That is all.

Hackers and Spending Sprees [Newsweek]

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You’re all a bunch of fucking racists

Pax Arcana

obama_capitolI’m writing this Tuesday night at 6 p.m., an hour before the first polls close on the east coast. And while I don’t know the “official” results of the presidential election yet, my intimate knowledge of district-level politics and the “Bradley effect” means I know the results beforehand. Here is my assessment of this election:

You’re all a bunch of fucking racists.

Everyone agrees that half-retard paintsniffer Republican president George W. Bush basically ruined the entire nation and wiped his ass with our collective reputation for the past eight years. But when presented with a choice between a brilliant young Democrat with an agenda of specific, needed changes and an erratic establishment Republican who carried Bush’s greasy water for eight years, you goddamn racist assholes dug deep into your rotten psyches and resurfaced with an act of cowardice so profound that it defies description.

I hope the whole fucking bunch of you dies in a house fire that a black firefighter refuses to put out.

Update: never mind.



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