So, despite "escalating tensions" between our country and The Iran, trade between the two nations is on the up and up, according to a new analysis that shows that, among other things, the Iranians have invested in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of American "aircraft launching gear" and "military rifles". (Also, bras. And bull semen.) But spinmaster John McCain is a whiskey glass half full sorta guy. Pointing to American cigarette exports to Iran, which have risen tenfold in recent years, he said the words in our headline, to which we can only say - given his party's historic tendency to deem the notion that cigarettes cause cancer to be just south of "astrology" on the credibility spectrum -You've Come A Long Way, Baby! The follow-up joke was even better though. That and Formula One sadomasochism, Bin Laden's teen heartthrob heir, the War Powers Act, Ashley Alexandra Dupre's switch from politics to reality television and that Real World guy who is running for congress, space sex and 92 other stories read listlessly by yours truly and the lovely Megan after the jump.
MOE: Hi, what's going on. I'm tired. Your boy Mark Penn and Karen Huges sure look like the match made in Hell, no?
MEGAN: What is it they say about when lions and lambs lay down together? I'm not sure whether the rapture has already happened and I just didn't notice what with living in D.C. and all and no one going missing, or if the apocalypse is starting, or if D.C. is really just purgatory.
MEGAN: Also, the Clinton camp: pissed and somehow surprised that Obama's big donors haven't given them more money to pay off the debts they accumulated after winning became a mathematical impossibility. Also pissed that Obama won't give them his small donor email list to spam with requests. Like, for real. If you have him $5, she wants your email address to be able to ask for for $100.
MOE: Better idea: Roger Ailes! Sean Hannity! Get Bill Kristol to write about in his column! And surely Rush can afford to pitch in what with the four hundred million dollars and everything. He's got some listeners too I have heard.
MEGAN: I mean, it only seems fair. His minions supposedly help keep her in the race, he wouldn't want the small business people (who probs vote Republican anyway, or will now that the Dems are dicking them around) to not be able to feed their families!
MOE: Hey, this guy looks like he's got some pull with the plutocracy, maybe hit him up too. Don't click if you don't want to stab yourself. I actually might write a letter to the WSJ on the breathtaking inanity of this argument.
MEGAN: Did you know I used to work for the nonpartisan Tax Foundation?
MEGAN: I doubt Scott crunched those numbers, but hey Gerald! Hope your wedding was beautiful!
MEGAN: Also, don't know if you missed this yesterday, but Obama's Social Security funding plan is probably a good part of what's got their knickers in a twist.
MEGAN: So, like, you (and your employer) pay Social Security on the first $102,000 of your income
MOE: Hahahaha what he says, it's soooo nuts! It's like an argument you'd find in a time capsule from 1978 you'd look at and go, "Well, I suppose back then it sounded like he had a point, but the thing they didn't quite realize then is that when rich people pay fewer taxes they don't really generate economic growth outside themselves, and maybe the Caymans and a bit of Shenzhen."
MEGAN: And everything after that is SocSec tax free. Obama thinks that between the cap (adjusted yearly for inflation) and $250,000 (probably not adjusting for inflation, though that's not clear), you wouldn't pay more. After that, if you made more than $250,000, you would resume paying Social Security taxes of 2-4% on those earnings — and so would your employer, creating a small disincentive for paying you more.
MOE: Tom Frank's tilting yard is up your alley, on the corporate push to actually draft some legislation for once, so Comrade Obama can't immediately draft a 5 Year Plan.
MEGAN: Well, I would disagree slightly with the assertion that all the Republican Congress members are retiring just to cash in as lobbyists (they'll have to wait 2 years, except for Trent Lott who only has to wait out this year because of when he retired). I actually think it's because they're a bunch of whiny little idea- and idealless babies who are taking what remains of their balls and going home because they don't like playing if they're not on the winning team.
MEGAN: Other than that, that's an excellent analysis.
MEGAN: So did you want to talk anything about James Baker and Warren Christopher saying there needs to be a new War Powers Resolution, not that the one we have has ever been invoked?
MEGAN: Or would you prefer to fuck any further serious discussion and skip straight to the Formula One guy's Nazi sadomasochistic sex scandal? Because, I can't lie, I read one of those articles more thoroughly than the other.
In arguing that The News of the World was guilty of a "gross and indefensible intrusion," he has spoken candidly of his passion for sadomasochism, which he has told the court has lasted for 45 years.
MOE: Please tell me more about the F1 guy. I never could quite follow that one and the Jalopnik guys seemed to be all over it. Also, what is even up with sadomasochism? I'm so ignorant. And innocent! Whatever it is sounds better than Ashley Alexandra Dupre's reality show .
MEGAN: Dude, for REAL, I do not understand reality TV.
MOE: I love the TNR homepage link to book review: Have Freakonomicists Actually Revolutionized The Way We Think About Happiness? Or just the Hackness To Which We Will Stoop In Our Headlines?
MEGAN: Ok, so, like Max Mosley is an important guy in Britain and his parents were, like, British gentry but also really into Hitler back when Hitler was still alive and stuff. And then a Brit tabloid got video of him participating in a really, really long S&M session with 5 women that played on prison fantasies but apparently also had some Nazi overtones (the word Aryan was used!) and now he's suing them for invasion of privacy and in the trial everyone is like, I like pain! With sex. The end.
MOE: Neither do I, for the record. I just don't get it. Interestingly, even Tracie, the other night when we were hanging out engaged in one of those deep intellectual conversations we have all the time, was like, "I'm over it. I never thought I'd say this but it's possible for something to be too stupid for me to watch."
MEGAN: Also, only in wealthy Britain would your husband of 40 years like getting caned to the point that it leaves marks and draws blood regularly (or enough for him to differentiate between caning, whipping, beating and spanking) and you not notice the marks. Like, for real. Did they sleep bundled?
MEGAN: As for the deal with S&M, I mean, I'm no afficianado, but I think it speaks to the reality that the brain really is the only true sexual organ.
MOE: Can braindead people get off? I don't really think I believe it. Re reality TV it looks like some guy from the first season of the Real World is running for Congress, which I suppose is just another sign of our generation passing the Pointlessness baton to the Youngs. I suppose I ought to give mine up too but first I want to write a post on whether Charlize Theron is actually smart.
MEGAN: Um, I think all I can say after reading that is: Brooklynites, please vote for Ed Towns.
MOE: Have you been reading any of these space dominance stories? Because I keep meaning to and not. Are we worried China's space program is going to find a place to launch excess emissions before we do and leave us to be dessicated by the global warming Dick Cheney is still maintaining does not exist?
MEGAN: I'll confess, the last story I bothered clicking on about space travel was this one about fucking in space.
MEGAN: But, no, because we're going to pump all our carbon dioxide into the empty pockets under the sea from whence we will be extracting oil, so it'll all be fine. Once we, like figure out how to do it.
MOE: Here's another headline I like: "Meet Huzaifa Parhat, who personifies the absurdity of U.S. policy in Guantanamo Bay." Uh, yeah, as opposed to all the other victims of U.S. policy in Guantanamo Bay. I saw that post on drudge. What's with the headlines today? "For Better of Worse, Sex In Space Is Inevitable." That's better than this post I saw on TNR the other day, "6 Reasons The Border Fence Is A Bad Idea." I am guiltier than anyone here but Jesus CHRIST I feel like building a border fence around the internet.
MEGAN: Maybe all the good headline writers took the week off and are vacationing with Jon Stewart?
MOE: No, they all took buyouts silly! My mom has been railing against the buyouts at the Washington Post. It's really odd to remember things like READERS ACTUALLY NOTICE.
MEGAN: Your mom might be the only one, though! The real question is whether Americans will notice the scaled-back convention coverage that's supposedly to "offset" the costs of Obama going to a bigger venue for his speech but is really just an excuse for the networks to do what then have been dying to do for years and cut back on boring convention coverage that no one watches anyway. Plus, they can't do it for the DNC and not not for the RNC so it's like a bonus.
MOE: I think w/r/t this War Powers Resolution act I would be part of the problem because I can't really finish the story and I know it has to do with the fighting over powers among the various branches of government and probably Dick Cheney knows best anyway right? But like, what does this resolution say? It was passed in pre-Watergate Nixon times…is it just really scary?
MEGAN: I mean, the thing is, that Constitutionally, to declare war on anybody, the President has to go to Congress to ask permission. But, like, that's haaaaard. So that's why Vietnam wasn't really a war and this isn't really a war, etc. And basically, since WWII, Congress and the Administration have tried to come up with a way to bypass Congress's Constitutional powers in the matter, because just like Americans supposedly all believe they'll be rich someday and thus supposedly don't want higher taxes on rich people, everyone on the Hill thinks they'll be President someday and thus is enamored with executive power, which is the thing our Founding fucking Fathers tried so hard to control.
MOE: Oh, and Osama Bin Laden's evildoer son looks young enough to be the son of OBL's other son, you know, the one with the British cougar wife who looks like she writes soft sadomasochistic erotica…ANYWAY, that made me think, when was the last time someone had a kid at the White House? What if the Obamas had another kid? I bet Rush would send the nicest presents.
MEGAN: So the War Powers Resolution sucks, and hasn't been used, and gives Congress very limited oversight and the Administration a lot of war-declaration power but it's never been used and Administrations have continued to drag us into armed conflicts that aren't "wars" by just going around it. Baker and Christopher suggest writing a new one with a robust role for Congress (thank GOD) — at least on the surface — as well as powers to the President but it requires oversight and consultation for any military action lasting more than a week, requires Congressional approval of military actions within 30 days (but exempts covert actions and response to terrorist attacks, SIGH, which just gives a reason for the next Bushie to declare that Iran is part of the War on al Qaeda or whatever but something is better than nothing).
MEGAN: And I love how the kid is against us, Britain, France... and Denmark. Denmark's probably all like, what the fuck, kid? We've got Danishes and beer and shit.
MOE: Anyway apparently this 16-year-old Hamza Bin Laden is Osama Bin Laden's "likely heir." Or, that is, according to the lofty source that is the Sun. OH, and I loved the Denmark thing too. Like, I bet we could write a comic book and get added to their terror list. Or maybe a YouTube video. Yes, that, exactly. Although, on second thought, I feel like I sort of know what it's like to be on a terror list. I'm back to joining the Iranian resistance if you're in.
MEGAN: Do I have to dye my hair dark like Ashleigh Banfield? Because I look really gothy with dark hair, even without the makeup. Not that I, uh, have any experience with that or anything. Nope.
MOE: Oh shit how did I miss this haha Republican convention planners want him out of town before McCain even gets there? Like, if you thought McCain's temper was reserved for Sandinistas and his wife you have no idea how he gets around his actual enemies.
MEGAN: Also, I love how they're floating that to see what the backlash will be to it.
MOE: I will say this, too: I was at this thing, the other night, called "Shoot The Messenger," and before the evening took a turn for the, er, interesting, the comics had a funny segment about who registered Republicans think John McCain should pick as a running mate, with 45% choosing John McCain 2000 for his appeal to the independents and 35% choosing John McCain 2004 for his appeal with supporters of the war. Anyway, it made me laugh. That is all.
MOE: Hahaha see I still have a soft spot for McCain 2008 God bless him'
MEGAN: You know, my grandmother (who I saw a week ago) said that she had been a huge Hillary supporter and was really disappointed that she lost, but no way in hell would she vote for 2008 McCain. She said she thinks he's senile and an idiot, and that it's his creeping senility that makes him so different in 2008 than he was in 2000 when she would have considered voting for him. My grandmother, by the way, is 81.
"You know that old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran?" he said, then sang "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran" before discussing what he considered Iran's serious threat to Israel and international security.
MOE: There is a storied history in the Tkacik household of cracking senile jokes as early as age 10, for which we ended up coining the blanket rejoinder "Yeah, grandpa." So like, I have a total weakness for the Grandpa humor. I could write a book of tasteless Grandpa jokes throughout history even. Anyway, just a thought. Not that I don't love the crowd here! I feel like the news is BORING today. Is it me?