Saturday, February 28, 2015


I hate it when Hollywood types talk about things like courage. Usually, it's in the context of Reese Witherspoon doing a movie without makeup, or Jennifer Aniston gaining weight for a role. Likewise, when liberals talk about speaking truth to power, they usually mean joining in the choir of criticism of an unpopular Republican (see George W. Bush).

Last week, I made light of the kerfuffle around Rudy Giuliani's comments that President Obama doesn't love America. Real courage involves criticizing someone who has the power to exact a price for such criticism, someone like Vladimir Putin. I invented a Russian named Victor Abalyshev, who made a similar criticism of President Putin. I ended my post as follows:

On a sad but unrelated note, Victor Abalyshev died suddenly last Thursday in a traffic accident. Russian police determined that he was at fault, apparently falling asleep while driving and crashing into a bridge abutment in a one-car accident.

My point being that while our President is a thin-skinned jerk, with a sycophantic media carrying water by criticizing anyone who questions him in any way, we're still better off than Russia, where such criticism takes real courage because it would be dealt with forcefully.

In my post, I assumed that Putin would at least put up a pretense of non-involvement with the murder of his rivals. That's the only aspect of the situation where I was mistaken:

Boris Nemtsov, a charismatic Russian opposition leader and sharp critic of President Vladimir Putin, was gunned down Saturday near the Kremlin, just a day before a planned protest against the government.

Well, that and I got his name wrong. Which really pisses me off, because in an early draft, I had his name as Boris.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Stop The Net Neutrality Law

The issue of Net Neutrality is a particularly complex one. While there are arguments on both sides of the issue, I feel very strongly that enacting such a measure as before congress would endanger free trade as well as free speech by subjecting everyone on the internet to unnecessary government regulation and potential censorship.

The FCC is particulxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Does Putin Love Russia?

In all the kerfuffle over Rudy Giuliani's assertion that President Obama doesn't love America and the media grilling of Scott Walker in search of a response, few have noticed a similar event that took place in Russia.

On February 1, noted governmental critic Victor Abalyshev accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of "not loving Russia," and "lying about how his policies will impact the lives of Russians." The media in Russia hasn't made a big deal of this the way the American media has with Giuliani's comments.

On a sad but unrelated note, Victor Abalyshev died suddenly last Thursday in a traffic accident. Russian police determined that he was at fault, apparently falling asleep while driving and crashing into a bridge abutment in a one-car accident.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

HWX: At the Movies with Mike Nelson and John Nolte

It’s a very special episode of HWX (or the Brian Ward Happe Hour, or the Jerktown Romeos, or something TBD), with Brian Ward of Fraters Libertas and Paul Happe of the Nihilist in Golf Pants reconvening to discuss the vital issues of the day.  In particular, the 87th Academy Awards are this Sunday and we bring together two of this generation’s finest critics of cinema to discuss the year in movies. 

*  Mike Nelson, of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame, and now of (and on Twitter, @michaeljnelson ).  He fills us in on the latest goings on at Rifftrax (including Sharknado and Teenage Mutant Turtle riffs), and gives us his thoughts on the most riff worthy Oscar nominees.

*  John Nolte of (and on Twitter, @NolteNC ), and our favorite movie reviewer in all of media.   We discuss 2014 as a better year in movies than we’ve seen in the recent past, including signs of a bit of a resurgence of conservative themes among recent releases (Interstellar, American Sniper, Kingsmen).  He also gives us his thoughts on the controversy over no black actors nominated this year for the Oscars, and his assessment of the top contenders.

We also have some very special Public Service Announcements in honor of the upcoming Earth Day.

We're brought to you by Swon Tax Preparation.  Need help with your taxes? Be it an individual return, a business return, whatever it may be, our friend Jon Swon can help.   He offers a full suite of tax services, customized to meet your goals.  He's based here in MN, but has clients around the country.  If you need help, check him out at  

There are many ways to hear the podcast, including over on the mother ship at Ricochet.  You can be sure to never miss an episode by subscribing via iTunes.  Or you can just use the player embedded in the upper right hand corner of this website.  If all of these fail, send me an email and I'll come to your house and read from a written transcript.  Hope you enjoy.
Cross-posted at Fraters Libertas

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Top 11 Reasons Jon Stewart Is Leaving "The Daily Show"

11. Tired of overeducated Comedy Central viewers asking him about Utilitarianism

10. Wouldn't you quit your job if you had ovear $100 million in the bank?

9.  Only  a couple of dozen "Bush is stupid" jokes left before supply is completely exhausted

8.  Hoping his post-show career will take off in the same manner as Craig Kilborn's

7.  Producers didn't get behind his new vision for the show: The Fortnightly Half Assed Attempt at Masquerading Political Attacks as Humor (actually, that isn't Stewart's vision, it's the vision of the new, soon-to-be rebranded version of the HWX podcast)

6.  Shouldn't have claimed his helicopter was fired on by Iraqi insurgents

5.  Depressed over the idea that he's actually the source of news for a sizeable percent of the American population

4.  Learned a serious lesson from David Letterman's BS about leaving while still funny

3.   Intent on building his acting chops in hope of winning an Academy Award for his roles in "Death to Smoochy 2: Smoochy's Revenge" and "Big Daddy 2: Bigger Daddy"

2.  Fears for his mental health if he has to pretend Hillary Clinton is a fresh voice of competence and reasonable government for the next 8 years

1.  Ran out of clever ways to insinuate that he's smarter than Republicans

Saturday, February 14, 2015

New Podcast: Jerktown Romeos?

Brian Ward of Fraters Libertas and I convene for what may be the final HWX podcast of all time, or is it the first WHX broadcast?

Whatever the case, it was a stimulating conversation on the vital issues of today.  Topics include:

*  Obama’s National Prayer Breakfast comments, including exclusive audio of what actually might have been said.

*  Brian Williams and John Stewart, two pillars of elite media crumble in one week.  What does it mean, and was anyone even watching them?

*  Two more faces of elite journalism, as exhibited by a German Press Agency reporter and Melissa Harris Perry of MSNBC.

*  The new name of the podcast. Leaders so far are WHX (phonetically pronounced “wcxkscs”) or The Jerktown Romeos.   We’re not sold on either, and we eagerly solicit Ricochet membership suggestions in the comments section.  Anyone coming up with the winning sobriquet will be lavished with praise and exciting premiums.

 This podcast is brought to you by   The holidays are over, and here’s the chance to start fresh and start making smarter decisions. Overpaying for drugstore razor blades is a bad habit that you should leave behind.   Starter kits (blades and foam/gel) are just $15, and you can get $5 off by entering the code HWX at checkout.  And as always, free shipping.  Shave for a month, for a mere 10 bones.  Make the smart switch to Harry’s!

 We're brought to you by Swon Tax Preparation.  Need help with your taxes? Be it an individual return, a business return, whatever it may be, our friend Jon Swon can help.   He offers a full suite of tax services, customized to meet your goals.  He's based here in MN, but has clients around the country.  If you need help, check him out at

 All feedback welcome in the comments section, hope you enjoy.
You can listen online at Ricochet:

Cross-posted at Fraters Libertas

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Original Draft Of President Obama's Prayer Breakfast Remarks

Below is the original draft of President Obama's remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast. I kind of like them better than the lecture on the excesses of Christianity.

Good morning. I am pleased to have the opportunity to come to the National Prayer Breakfast to make this statement today:

Allahu Akbar!
The blood of the infidel will run like a river through the streets of imperialist America!

(Wait for stunned reaction)

Guys, it's a joke! It's a joke. Calm down.

You know, for a long time you people have accused me of being a Muslim, which is kind of funny, because as President, I've killed an awful lot of Muslims. We're literally killing dozens with drone strikes each week and those strikes don't exactly conform neatly to the standards of international law. Yeah, I've killed a lot of Muslims, but then again, so has ISIL or ISIS, or whatever Valerie Jarrett will tell me to call them tomorrow.

So I hope my little joke didn't upset you too much. But if it did, I want to remind you that I won. Anyway, if I were actually a Muslim, don't you think I'd use my religious beliefs to get Michelle to cover up her ugly mug with a veil? As the great Red Fox used to say, you could put her face into some dough and make gorilla cookies. I haven't done that. In fact I spent many Sundays in Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Christian Church pretending to listen to him as he droned on and on. Something I'm sure your congregations are familiar with.

But enough about me, today we are here to celebrate our blessings and contemplate our future at this National Prayer Breakfast. I take this honor seriously and humbly.

(Wait for applause)

Another joke; man, this room is slow. You know there's never enough about me, and there's no reason to be humble. After all, I won two elections.

I recall my first National Prayer Breakfast six years ago. I was under the impression that you would be praying to me. There's still time.

And speaking of time, I have a tee time at 8:45 so I will have to cut my remarks short. Thank you for your kind reception, and remember that your belief in the divine providence that makes America great is really a bunch of hooey.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Brian Williams: Spokesmodel

I have had an ongoing argument with good friend JB on theories about humor. One of his ideas that I have disagreed about is the idea that a joke can be "too easy." JB's stance is that if a joke is easy, it isn't necessarily funny. I would offer up the Three Stooges as a counter to his argument. Poking an idiot in the eye, as the Stooges often do, is a pretty easy joke, and it is funny. I've always discounted JB's argument, but the jokes being made at Brian Williams' expense have actually given me pause to reconsider it. In doing so, I don't have a top 11 list or song parody about Brian Williams' Walter Mitty-like memory, but I do have a comment.

I will go on record as saying that I don't like Williams because I find him to be smug, arrogant, and biased. He seems to want to be simultaneously considered a serious journalist and a pop culture celebrity. One would not be crazy to suspect that he pulled strings to get his daughter a starring television gig.

Now he stands to lose his job over fabricating a story related to the dangers he faced in a war zone.

In America, we seem to take the news more seriously than in many countries. We use the term "anchorman." In much of Europe, the equivalent term is "presenter." There is a not-so-subtle difference. Presenter suggests that someone is presenting the news, as a waitress presents a drink. British newspapers offer soft core pornography (topless women) alongside their news. In some countries, there are TV channels whose news presenters are topless models. These presenters don't offer the image of an individual ready to take responsibility for the content of their product. Such individuals exist, but off camera.

Many American anchormen, including Williams specifically, have added a title such as "editor" or "producer" to their title as anchorman. This suggests that they are responsible for content. I have often wondered why one needs to trust an anchorman. If the news is reported impartially, wouldn't it be better to have an attractive floozy who wouldn't let their ideas and interpretations get in the way presenting it to us? Who would care if the bimbo who reads the news likes to make up stories? Why would the personal conduct or character of a news reader matter? As long as they can look attractive and read effectively, they can do the job.

Williams' lies present a dilemma for his employer. If NBC keeps Williams in his present position, then they are admitting that he is nothing more than a presenter. In order to maintain the ideal that an anchorman is a critical influence in the delivery of quality news, then he must go.

I'd add that while NBC will make a decision, they actually have already made one. For years, Williams told his story that many suspected was full of holes. NBC and its news organization did not punish Williams for this behavior. That tells us something about NBC's opinion of Williams and of his role. This tells me that NBC is content to allow someone with questionable credibility have influence over the news they report. Even if they fire him today, this multi-year judgement reflects poorly on NBC's ability to present reliable, accurate, and unbiased news.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Top 11 Reasons Dartmouth College Is Banning Hard Liquor On Campus

11. Drunk students were blogging too much

10. No amount of booze can make Dartmouth girls look hot

9.  Unilateral decision of Dartmouth Chancellor Douglas C. Neidermeyer

8.  Zima is a major contributor to Dartmouth

7.  Administration blamed alcohol for the out-of-hand hijinks in "Revenge of the Nerds," and swore that nothing similar would ever happen there

6.  Feared they might overtake St. Anselm College as the #1 party school in New Hampshire

5.  Trying to encourage marijuana use to recreate the culture that spawned Power Line

4.  Felt the grain would be better put to use making ethanol

3.  No amount of booze can make Dartmouth guys look studly

2.  Feared it could lead to male students asking girls on dates, which might lead to a rape culture

1.  Hard liquor is, like, so red state

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Top 11 Titles For The Sequel to "To Kill A Mockingbird"

After a mere 55 years, Harper Lee is releasing a sequel to her classic book, "To Kill a Mockingbird". Here are the top 11 working titles for the sequel:

11. Mockingbird 2: Electric Boogaloo

10. Mockingbird 2: A Good Day to Mock Harder

9. Mockingbird 2: This Time It's Personal

8.  Mockingbird 2: Return of the Mocking

7. Mockingbird 2: Attack of the Clones

6. Mockingbird 2: The Klumps

5. Scout & Jem's Bogus Journey

4. Mockingbird 2: Judgment Day

3. Atticus Finch and the Case of the Spooky Space Kook

2.  Mockingbird 2 1/2: The Smell of Racism

1.  Mockingbird 2: The Wrath of Boo