And now, it’s time for the last post of 2010: the CHEERS and JEERS!
JEERS to the ongoing fiasco in Afghanistan, now expected to continue until 2014. I supported the original invasion of Afghanistan because I figured that was the best way to bring to justice those parties that attacked us on 9/11/01. Then we took our eyes off the ball and went after Saddam Hussein for no good reason, leaving the fight in Afghanistan to deteriorate. Since then, Osama Bin Laden and his merry band of maniacs have departed for somewhere in the border regions of Pakistan, and the puppet that we installed to replace the Taliban has turned out to be a weak, corrupt idiot. Where does that leave us, exactly, other than holding the bag? I had some feint hope that Barack Obama would be able to “fix” this situation somehow by “getting serious” about Afghanistan, that is, throwing more resources and some serious thinking at the problem. I’m not sure that it’s panning out; and in any case, it now looks like the House of Representatives under The Orange One is going to defund any approach to Afghanistan that doesn’t follow rigid neoconservative thinking. How well did that work for us, you know, two years ago? This project has already succumb to the groupthink antipattern, and it has all the signs of becoming a death march Real Soon Now.
CHEERS to Barack Obama for pulling off what has to be regarded as just a hell of a lot for any President. Rachel Maddow lays it out for us:
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Now, that’s the good news. The bad news is that, despite his enormous success, he has this bad habit of blowing all the political capital he might have gained with his base with missteps (e.g. the whole Shirley Sherrod affair), unnecessary concessions leading to broken promises, and condescending remarks (e.g. “professional left” and “they haven’t seen the details”). The result is that despite being the most successful and most progressive president in my lifetime, he nonetheless has earned widespread cynicism from his liberal base that I used to only see in old Vietnam war protesters that hadn’t moved on. His caving in on extra tax cuts for the wealthy in a time of rising debt and disinflation was a bridge too far for a lot of people. Now there are signs and circulating rumors that he is going to propose unnecessary cuts to Social Security benefits in 2011. If he does that, then Barack Obama, who is clearly an historical President for so many reasons, could very well be historic also as America’s last Democratic President before the Democratic Party falls apart Whig-style.
JEERS to the Koch Brothers. Congratulations on one of the most successful astroturf campaigns of all time (the Tea Party Express), not to mention all the other conservative think tanks you paid for over the years. I understand it bought you a new House — we’re fortunate that you didn’t get the Senate as well. (Quick note to Justin Raimondo: how anti-war are these guys if they spent most of their money electing pro-war candidates this year?)
CHEERS to the New York-New Jersey Snow Disaster. Why? I’ll tell you why: because it’s a perfect example of the kind of government “service” you can expect from now on if the GOP and their corporate sponsors (see above) get their spending cuts.
CHEERS to Wikileaks for, if nothing else, raising the bar for investigative journalism in a time when “journalism” mostly seems to mean “repeating press releases.” Good luck to you and the OpenLeaks fork project, and keep up the good work!
JEERS to Julian Assange. I’m a fan of his work (see above), but the man himself is an egotistical sociopath, a bad lay, and in all likelihood a rapist. All in all, he is not someone I’d invite into my home.
JEERS to BP management. I used to think oil company executives were merely greedy, ruthless plutocrats. Then we all got to see what BP’s brand of oil executive is like, and it sunk far below our worst expectations. In a just world, a company that commits that kind of crime against humanity would have its charter revoked and go into forced liquidation. Sadly, the corporations and a few rich families pretty much run everything.
JEERS to Bank of America for crap like this and this. I canceled my credit card with you because I refuse to do business with anyone who treats their borrowers this way. I hope others do the same.
Derisive JEERS to Sarah Palin. This year the stupid, shallow, mean half-term governor has been God’s gift to Democrats, if for no other reason than she cost the Republicans three Senate seats this year, in Colorado, Delaware, and Nevada. Keep up the good work, Sarah.
More derisive JEERS to the teabagger governors-elect of Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania. Illinois and New York thank you for the fancy high-speed rail systems, and the jobs that come with them. Here’s hoping Oregon and Washington will get some high-speed rail money, too!
JEERS to Oracle for apparently not having your shit together on what “open source” means. The essence of any open source project is not, contrary to what RMS might tell you, the licensing of your code — licensing is important, but it is only a necessary condition for any successful open source project. The essence of open source is the trust of the community — trust that you will make good decisions, trust that you will continue to be dedicated to the project, and most of all, trust that you won’t turn around and screw people. Which makes your recent handling of the Java, OpenOffice and MySQL projects very worrisome.
JEERS to Glenn Beck (who has apparently jumped the shark), Sarah Palin (again), the NRA, and every other asshole who defaced and denigrated the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. You people aren’t fit to have cleaned Dr. King’s underwear.
THREE CHEERS to John Stewart and Steven Colbert: one for their parody of the aforementioned idiots, one for having the MythBusters as an opening audience participation act (did anyone else get a thrill from their wave experiments?), and one for having The Roots and John Legend open for them (easily, they were the best opening act since Metallica opened for Ozzy in 1986). As shows go, yours was one of the best. (For the best, see Roger Waters, below.)
That said, it’s hard to take you guys seriously when your “sincere” message is “can’t we all get along.” When two sides each have two opposing and mutually exclusive goals, and one of them refuses to do anything that contradicts their goal, then getting along is pretty much impossible.
Triple JEERS and two raised middle fingers to Andrew Breitbart and anyone who takes him seriously, specifically for lying about Shirley Sherrod. I’ve long warned others that the opposition to the progressive movement will make crap up about us to bring us down; Breitbart gets the prize for proving my case!
Derisive and well-earned JEERS to the Oregon Tea Party, because only a bunch of drooling morons would rip off Anonymous and think they could get away with it.
JEERS to DNC Chairman Tim Kaine for one of the worst branding jobs ever. Seriously, this is not impressive, and it’s symptomatic of your general problem with messaging.
JEERS to the idiots trying to boycott the Thor movie over the casting of a black actor for the Norse god Heimdall, who went by the epithet “Whitest of the Aesir.” Let’s put aside the despicable racialist herd instinct involved here, the shallowness of your grasp of the spiritual principles involved, or that Heimdall was indisputably never an actual white man. Do you idiots realize that you’re basically helping to promote the movie to everyone who hates your politics?
CHEERS to The Arcade Fire, Burzum, Cee Lo, Charles Danek, Dark Tranquility, DeLonde Bell, Gorillaz, How To Destroy Angels, Immanifest, Infernaeon, Jagoff, Mike Doughty, NoMeansNo, The Roots and Tub Ring, all for some kick-ass 2010 music!
Massive gleeful CHEERS to Alternative Tentacles Records for finally, finally releasing Terminal City Ricochet on DVD.
CHEERS to the Eleventh Doctor. If there was ever a Doctor who should have an episode directed by Guillermo del Toro, it’s Matt Smith.
DOUBLE CHEERS to Broken Bells. Your album is practically on repeat in my home. And thank you for a great show at the Crystal Ballroom!
TRIPLE CHEERS to Roger Waters. The 2010 version of The Wall is just … perfect.
Feh to Therion. I really want to like Sitra Ahra more than I do, but it’s a mess.
Feh to Dimmu Borgir. Abrahadabra is (merely) okay, and it certainly isn’t good enough for your Lady Gaga schtick.
CHEERS to everyone who participated in the It Gets Better campaign — particularly Tim Gunn, who had what was, IMO, the best testimony of them all.
CHEERS to the US Soccer Team for this:
CHEERS to South Africa for introducing us Americans to vuvuzelas. Yes, you read that right. That annoying, loud, monotone buzzing noise is perfect for the next time the Westboro Baptist Church comes to your town.
CHEERS to Orryelle Defenestrate-Bascule; everyone at the Esoteric Book Conference (see you in September!); everyone at the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival (see you all again in 2012!); the crew at Splenderporium (see you next month!); the Roloff family for your hospitality and indulgence; Banksy and company for the brilliant film Exit through the Gift Shop; Kickstarter (which is the best idea I’ve seen this year bar none); Vice President Biden for “This is a BFD”; mcpreacher for being a regular contributor to my LiveJournal comments (stay strong, man — you’ll get through this); Mayor Sam Adams for being an example of how politicians should use Twitter; FaceBook for reintroducing me to just a hell of a lot of old friends; Rep. Greg Harris (a man whose backyard BBQs I can proudly say I’ve attended) for civil unions in Illinois; and to Red Dog for all the anecdotes (which I am saving for later).
JEERS to the Palin family in general, pretty much everyone on The Jersey Shore, Kanye West, everyone who saw Sex And The City 2 (y’all are the new Trekkies now!), Pomplamoose on general principles, the annoying people at Best Buy, Blackberry for a piece of shit phone that keeps freezing up on me, and all the drooling idiots who keep screaming about how record blizzards disprove global warming (no they don’t, and I notice all y’all SFTU when the record heat comes around, don’t you?).
CHEERS to Sara Blue. When I heard you had passed, I was utterly crushed. I have no excuse for why I wasn’t there other than I was still ashamed of my own mediocre life. I miss you, my sweet, beautiful friend; and I definitely wish I’d asked you to prom. Good luck wherever you are.
CHEERS to my wife on a banner year. If you make one New Years Resolution this year, make one to sign up for her mailing list!
CHEERS to all of you for reading. See you next year!