Archives for September 2015

Could Pope Francis Save Volkswagen?

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I’m no historian, but when I was in school there are two facts I learned about the 1960 presidential election that always stayed with me:

  1. John F. Kennedy won the election largely on the strength of his performance in the televised debate. Although people who listened to the debate on the radio thought his opponent, Richard Nixon, got the better of him, TV watchers were hypnotized by Kennedy’s steady, handsome gaze and repulsed by Nixon’s nervous, sweaty, shifty, beady, slightly creepy, overcaffeinated, underrested, shockingly visible difficulty hiding an unslakeable thirst for power and lust to punish his enemies, and, uh… what was I talking about again?
  2. Oh yeah: Despite his youth, vigor, good looks, war record, and clearly articulated vision for the country, there was one thing about Kennedy that made people uneasy: he was Catholic. Critics worried that Kennedy would take his orders from the Vatican, rather than from the Constitution, that the Pope would have his own Batphone in the Oval Office, which he would use to order Kennedy to… what? I don’t know what kind of treason people thought Kennedy might commit in the service of the pontiff, but it was a big deal at the time.

What a difference a half century makes. Judging by Pope Francis’ rapturous reception in the U.S. over the last couple of days, we aren’t just okay with the pope having an influence in Washington; we’re holding a televised competition to see who can get down on their bellies and lick his boots the cleanest.

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Bugs, Drunks, and Undocumented Workers

Illegal immigration is the biggest problem facing the United States right now you guys. I have never seen any firsthand evidence of that, but the fact that it seems to be the only thing any of the candidates on the stage at the second Republican Presidential debate wanted to talk about must mean that it’s super important, right? The only subjects that came close, in terms of time spent on them during the debate, were Who Hates Planned Parenthood The Most and Who Will Be Quickest To Bomb Iran. The Republican frontrunner has made illegal immigration the centerpiece of his campaign and it’s lifted him to a wide lead over the rest of the field, so that means this is what Americans (or at least Republicans) are worried about, right?

People are coming from other countries and stealing American jobs! Even worse, they’re sponging off of the infrastructure and services that American tax dollars pay for without making any contribution themselves!

It’s a very serious problem, and the Republican candidates have a lot of Big Ideas about how best to handle it. Should we build a big giant gold-plated wall along the Mexican border? Should we spend $400 to $600 billion dollars to deport the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the country? Should we dig a really big hole in the middle of the desert and point an arrow-shaped sign reading “DRUGS AND FISH TACOS” at it and push them all in? Should we just nuke San Francisco?

I know what you’re saying: That’s not why we should nuke San Francisco!

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Shut Up About Kim Davis

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Can we stop with this Kim Davis thing? Please?

On the merits, I agree: the Rowan County, KY clerk who was recently jailed for her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples is a bigot, and a hypocrite (she’s been married three times), and her fashion sense is appalling. She is clearly unfit to do her job and should be fired. I don’t see how anyone who doesn’t take the Bible literally could dispute any of that.

I have not followed the story closely, and by that I mean that I have not clicked on anything with her name or face on it. But this story has been inescapable enough that I have inferred the broad strokes, because this dullard has been coming through my social feeds roughly 7,000 times a day for the last two weeks, as all us Enlightened Liberals look down our noses at her and belittle her religious beliefs and her sister-wife outfit and chortle as Survivor sues her for using “Eye of the Tiger” without permission.

And that is exactly what she, and more precisely, all her supporters want: they want us to expose ourselves as Liberal Elitists who are persecuting Christians and hate religious freedom, in hopes of winning more moderate Christians over to their side. Read More

We’re All On The Ashley Madison List

A dating website that helps married people cheat has been hit by hackers who threatened to release information about millions of customers.

I should make this very clear up front: I don’t want to cheat on my wife.

I want to stay married, and I don’t want to hurt her. If I ever start to wonder if she’d really mind if I stepped out on her, I need only imagine the shoe on the other foot. Call me old-fashioned, but the thought of her cheating on me is painful, and that’s not something I would ever want to inflict on her, the best friend I’ve ever had. I’m a man, and I have eyes, and I have thoughts, and I have had an opportunity or two over the years (and I have no doubt that all those things are true for her as well), but I don’t want to hurt her, and I want to stay married. I don’t cheat, I won’t cheat, I can’t cheat.

Even if I wanted to, and found a woman who agreed to my conditions (I’m never leaving my wife, she must never know of this, you cannot have my phone number or any other contact information for me, if I ever see you in public I will pretend we’ve never met), it just doesn’t stand up to a cost-benefit analysis.

First of all, I’ve been with my wife, and only with my wife, since 1998. Maybe I should be more confident, but I feel like an encounter with a new person at this point would be so vanishingly brief that both parties would regret it immediately.

It seems likely that male vanity would then come into play: “I can’t have this person wandering around out in the world thinking I’m a two-pump chump,” I’d think to myself, which would compel me to try and see this person again so I could get another crack at breaking the five-second barrier. Now it’s not just one night, it’s an affair, and affairs threaten marriages.

We are not slavering beasts of the field, subject to imperatives we can’t control. We have developed a frontal lobe, and it can think a couple of moves ahead, past the immediate pleasures of the now. It can contemplate consequences and change course. What happens when I put my pants back on? How do I get out of here? Do I need to burn these clothes? She knows I’m not available, right? She’s not going to call, right? She’s not going to hit me up on Facebook, right? She’s not going to tag me on Instagram, right?

Cost-benefit analysis: Twenty Ten Three seconds of pleasure for weeks, maybe months, of sneaking around and diving for my phone and fake email addresses and general anxiety? The Board votes no.

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