Archive for the ‘Fun Things’ Category

China bans strippers at funerals!

April 28th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Stripper-fuelled funerals have been outlawed by the Chinese government.

The crackdown comes after two recent cases of countryside Chinese funerals that featured exotic dancers.

The strippers were allegedly hired to attract larger crowds of mourners.

The Chinese have always been great innovators!

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A theory around Tyrion

April 22nd, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

SPOILER ALERT FOR GAMES OF THRONES.

Only read this if you have read the books.

(more…)

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Kids, don’t try flakka

April 18th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

News.com.au reports:

A MAN high on the drug flakka attacked a police officer after running naked through the streets shouting “I am God” and having sex with a tree, police said.

Kenneth Crowder, 41, was arrested in Melbourne, Florida, on Friday following a dangerous, drug-fuelled bender.

According to a police report obtained by Click Orlando, witnesses called cops after spotting Crowder having intercourse with a tree.

Ouch, that could hurt. I wonder how was he actually attempting sex with the tree?

When approached by an officer, Crowder acted aggressively and identified himself as God.

Police said Crowder was Tasered twice, but pulled out the electric probes before punching the officer.

The unhinged man also allegedly tried to stab the cop with his badge while screaming that he was Thor.

Thor is a god, not the God. He would knwo that if he hadn’t been high on flakka.

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Star Wars Episode 7 Trailer II

April 17th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

December can’t come quickly enough!

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The BurnOuts at the Beeb (TopGear & Clarkson)

March 27th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by Kokila Patel

By John Stringer

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I really likeTopGear, Jeremy Clarkson and James May (and the other good-looking one from The Monkeys). I watch it on rainy sunday afternoons, or with beer and dogs while Her WithinDoors is away and I have the man house to my rule-breaking self.

The three (plus The Stig) have a chemistry and a lad-ishness that gives me hope as a 50-something white flabby male. It’s either that, or take up Himalaya trekking and swimming. I’m not a petrol head, but once had a Jag (well, actually a Daimler Series ii , but everyone thinks it was an XJ6 and it’s made by Jag) and a 1939 Austin Minx (which I reminded everyone was born while Hitler was driving into Poland).

It was about the characters and the writing; May’s dry wit and Clarkson’s gorgeous turns of phrase. The three irresponsible petrol gurus take no prisoners, they are not beHOLDEN to corporate auto conglomerates who pay mega amounts to have their cars castigated and belittled. They are also passionate about driving, cars and on road awesomeness.

They’ve drawn millions like me, into a stupid car geek programme and made it thrilling, funny, entertaining, and made The Beeb millions (TopGear is their star programme). 12 seasons.

And so this debacle with Jeremy Clarkson, the tallest moai on this Easter Island, was like a very British spinster stoush unfolding on Coronation Street.  Auntie Beeb and that tart Mrs Clarkson going at each other with handbags and hair nets. The Mirror reported Clarkson had made an “expletive-laden rant at a charity event” against BBC exec.s earlier in the week, later qualified as “meant in jest.”

http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/jeremy-clarkson-claims-joking-criticised-5379678

But May was right, it was initially a fairly small private meltdown that became way bigger than it should have which was a “tragedy.” See here.

James May has done a series of on camera reactions from the front door of his modest Council-style flat (ya gotta love those Brit celebrities and their humble ‘ostentation’).

So initially I played this as a case of Political Correctness gone mad.  Yes, there was the off camera ‘N’ bomb (which you can hear endlessly by any Black comedian and Rap artist over and over again, including in films) and the “slope” comment, which was obliquely racist but a really funny pun in the context of the sloping bridge. (Let’s be honest, EVERYONE does that behind closed doors; all human groups nick-name other groups).

But the Beeb – as May said on the clip – probably had their hands tied. It was not really about blokey Blokiness standing up to oppressive Stalinesque modernism that is hand wringing political correctness.  No, it seems Jeremy is suffering from MANopause and went too far.  As May says, “He’s a Nob.”  The Sydney Morning Herald  said he was a victim of his own behaviour. Brilliance and hubris; like that myth that all artists are manic depressives, their genius stalked by a converse.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/news/67509500/top-gears-jeremy-clarkson-a-victim-of-his-own-behaviour

But you have to give The BBC credit, they’ve handled this pretty well.  Sure, it got away from them, but like a honed working-class British greyhound, they hauled in that runaway fluffy bunny and mouthed it several times. Tony Hall conducted a thorough investigation, and spoke to both parties about the incident.  It was reported Clarkson had turned up at the producer’s house to make an apology,  but was cold-shouldered.

Seems to me Clarkson was a bullying oaf; a 20 minute tirade of abuse against an innocent victim based on perceived elevated celebrity status and not getting special treatment (prima donna stuff) and then some sort of ‘handbagging’ incident.  Various reports about a punch or not.  Probably just some middle-aged man shuffling.

Reading Halls’ explanation (in full here below) you have to accept The Beebs position and actions. Clarkson is brilliant, loved by millions for his irreverence (note his Twitter count) and Britishcock a snoop, but was a bully and lost control.  Tony Hall initially stepped in to delay an immediate sacking. Pproducer Oisin Tymon (opposite) was attacked and endured a sustained superiority tirade, in a work context. Unacceptable. Bullying is bullying, and no one should have to endure that, especially at work.

“First – The BBC is a broad church. Our strength in many ways lies in that diversity. We need distinctive and different voices but they cannot come at any price. Common to all at the BBC have to be standards of decency and respect. I cannot condone what has happened on this occasion. A member of staff – who is a completely innocent party – took himself to Accident and Emergency after a physical altercation accompanied by sustained and prolonged verbal abuse of an extreme nature. For me a line has been crossed. There cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another dictated by either rank, or public relations and commercial considerations.

“Second – This has obviously been difficult for everyone involved but in particular for Oisin. I want to make clear that no blame attaches to him for this incident. He has behaved with huge integrity throughout. As a senior producer at the BBC he will continue to have an important role within the organisation in the future.

“Third – Obviously none of us wanted to find ourselves in this position. This decision should in no way detract from the extraordinary contribution that Jeremy Clarkson has made to the BBC. I have always personally been a great fan of his work and Top Gear. Jeremy is a huge talent. He may be leaving the BBC but I am sure he will continue to entertain, challenge and amuse audiences for many years to come.

“The BBC must now look to renew Top Gear for 2016. This will be a big challenge and there is no point in pretending otherwise. I have asked Kim Shillinglaw [Controller of BBC Two] to look at how best we might take this forward over the coming months. I have also asked her to look at how we put out the last programmes in the current series.”

Right result.  Oisin Tymon will stay on, Clarkson has gone for unacceptable behaviour after a final written warning.

What next?  Well, channels will be falling over one another to hire Clarkson for mega gazillions. Netflix is already a rumoured suitor. A successful rival may buy-up James May, Richard Hammond lock stock and barrel and parallel a similar show, or something new. The fans will slide and wheel burn over, and it will make the new company tonnes of money. But they’ll have to pay high, as Hammond and May also have other BBC shows they are involved with.

And I suspect Hammond and May without Clarkson will not work, like The Two Ronnieswithout sexual innuendo. But I hope they all work together to complete a successful 2015 series, perhaps with a funny focus on Clarkson’s departure. That would have class.

I like Clarkson, we need brigands like him, irreverent, Churchillian bulwarks against namby pamby, metrosexual hand-creamy politically correct 1984-ness. They give us hope. Clarkson is a kind of Beowulf epic hero, clad in furs with a dripping metaphoric battle axe of wit, double entendres and scathing put-downs.

So, Clarkson has been bumped on a pedestrian crossing and rushed to ER, where he’ll revive, arise as an anti-Beeb phoenix albeit somewhat shattered on a fast ferrari windscreen, and get paid even more. And as admirer Tony Hall director general  of the BBC admits, “continue to entertain, challenge and amuse audiences for many years to come.”  Like a revered but slightly naughty vintage classic that leaves too much oil on your driveway.

This was a very British debacle. The issues were all traversed through the tabloids, no one got too hand-wringy, the issues got put, there was perspective, and values, and a hard call (worth several gazillion to the BBC) taken in the interests of fairness, equal treatment. We got an actual outcome (Clarkson got sacked) , the victim was reassured and cemented in his employment (as the innocent in all this, he was). Clarkson was cut adrift with respect and acknowledgement today to slew new speedways, but without covering up or failing to acknowledge his offending Nob-ishness.

We await the next lap with petrol-heady expectation.

~ John Stringer

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US politics cartoon of the week – 23.3.15

March 23rd, 2015 at 3:29 pm by Lindsay Addie

Middle eastern politics and terrorism was the prevalent theme with the cartoonists this week.

This cartoon is by Gary Varvel (whose cartoons are consistently funny and thought provoking).

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© Gary Varvel – found at Real Clear Politics. Lots more of Varvel’s work can be found here.

The obvious dislike between Obama and Netanyahu must be music to the ears of Israel’s enemies in the Middle East. This is something I find very troubling as Israel and USA need to stand together now more than ever. In my opinion ISIS and friends are winning the war on terror. It pains me to admit it, but ISIS and friends are more organised than America and its allies. It is certainly reminiscent of the 1930’s when fascism was growing.

Also why is Obama so bent on agreeing to a deal with Iran? It seems like a very risky strategy to me.

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US politics cartoons of the week – 16.3.15

March 16th, 2015 at 2:56 pm by Lindsay Addie

Hillary and her emails was like last week the favourite topic with the cartoonists. Instead I’ve chosen two cartoons on different topics.

The first cartoon by John Deering makes fun of Obama’s Middle East policy in particular the relationship with Saudi Arabia.

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© John Deering (Andy Marlette News Journal) – Found at Real Clear Politics

The second by Gary Varvel pokes fun at Washington DC and Republicans by showing the elephants.

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© Gary Varvel – Found at Real Clear Politics

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Game of Thrones Season 5

March 16th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The new season of Game of Thrones will screen in this country at exactly the same time as it does in the United States and in many other countries around the world.

That means the first episode of season five will be on Sky TV channel SoHo at 1pm on Monday, April 13, Sky head of publicity Lisa Franklin said in a statement. 

I will be busy every Monday afternoon from 1 pm to 2 pm.

As well as the early-afternoon screenings, SoHo will repeat each episode in New Zealand at 8.30pm the same day.

Great move by Sky to show it simultaneously. People don’t want to wait half a day during which they read reviews.

Game of Thrones maker HBO said simultaneous screenings would take place in 170 countries and territories.

Good on HBO for also making the access rights available.

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US politics cartoon of week 9.3.15

March 9th, 2015 at 3:46 pm by Lindsay Addie

I haven’t had the time to keep up with has been going here at Kiwiblog but I imagine the topic of the cartoon has been discussed already.

Hillary Clinton’s email server at her home is now a real problem for her as Gary Varvel observes.

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© Gary Varvel – Found at Real Clear Politics

Now I’m not a Clinton hater and think that Bill Clinton despite his obvious faults was a better POTUS than G W Bush and Barack Obama. But that said the Clinton’s would have to be the equal of Richard Nixon when it comes to playing dirty, tricky, sneaky political games to keep ahead. If a GOP Secretary of State did what Hillary has done and set up their own email server they would have been crucified by the US media.

As for Hillary as a presidential candidate, she looks more and more like in political terms she’s over the hill. If I was a Democrat I’d be concerned.

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Help the Kiwis win

February 26th, 2015 at 11:45 am by David Farrar

Artist Signal has a contest for a band to win $10,000. The lead keeps swapping between two bands – Remedy Drive from Nashville and Into The East from Invercargill.  Locals tell me they are very talented, crazy and funny.

If you want to help a Kiwi band win, follow the link and take ten seconds to vote.

 

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US politics cartoons of the week 23.2.15

February 23rd, 2015 at 5:53 pm by Lindsay Addie

I’ve been rather tied up by ‘real life’ to read any of the goings on here at Kiwiblog over the last week let alone post but here are couple of cartoons that tickled my funny bone.

The first relates to the US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf saying that one issue with the ISIS terrorists is that they’re unemployed. They do have a job, it is killing anyone who doesn’t agree with their fanatical ideology.

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© Michael Ramirez: found at Real Clear Politics

The second cartoon is about Vice President Joe Biden getting over friendly with the new US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter’s wife at an event in Washington DC last week. Whatever his motivations this did have a bad look.

gary_varvel_gary_varvel_for_02192015_5_

© Gary Varvel: found at Real Clear Politics

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I predicted this

February 19th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Bondage movie Fifty Shades of Grey has been dominating the Kiwi box office.

The film, depicting a sadomasochistic relationship between the two central characters, took $1.41 million on its opening New Zealand weekend, which is a record for any R-rated film.

Once Family First called for a boycott of the film, I predicted it would be a box office success. They really should be paid commission!

Internationally, Fifty Shades of Grey banked US$172m (NZ$229m) on its opening weekend, breaking box-office records for the month of February, for a movie made by a woman, and for an R-rated movie.

The film has a 26% average rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It will probably be the most widely watched yet critically damned film in history.

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US politics cartoons of the week: 16.2.15

February 16th, 2015 at 2:34 pm by Lindsay Addie

Whilst the standing down of Brian Williams from NBC continues to tickle the funny bone of the US cartoonists I’ve chosen one cartoon about Obama’s Iraq policy and the other about Jeb Bush.

The first is by Michael Ramirez and highlights an issue with Obama’s foreign policy and the lack of properly defined endgame. The word overcautious comes to mind.

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© Michael Ramirez: found at Real Clear Politics

 

The other cartoon by Andy Marlette makes fun of Jeb Bush’s strategy of seemingly trying to win the GOP presidential nomination by hoovering up the big $’s early on from the key GOP donors. He hasn’t as yet convinced me that his policy ideas are winners. He is a winner in the piling up the campaign funds contest though.

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© Andy Marlette: Found at Real Clear Politics

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US politics cartoons of the week – 9.2.15

February 9th, 2015 at 11:52 am by Lindsay Addie

Plenty of topics for the US cartoonists to choose from, anything from the US debt, to ISIS, the measles and Brian Williams!

The first cartoon I’ve selected is about the massive US debt and Obama’s attitude towards it.

gary_varvel_gary_varvel_for_02022015_5_

© Gary Varvel: Found at Real Clear Politics

The other cartoon is for all the Cheney haters out there! It compares Brian Williams to Dick Cheney re Iraq. I’m not a Cheney hater but I can still see the funny side of this one.

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© Nick Anderson: Found at Real Clear Politics

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A terrifying sight in London

February 8th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

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From Matthew Steele on Twitter.

Patrick Gower has gone global and viral for the Waitangi Day pub crawl in London. I love it.

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Garner’s story

February 7th, 2015 at 10:05 am by David Farrar

Duncan Garner writes:

The event reminds me of something that happened to me in my first year at Parliament in 1996. I had the unfortunate (or fortunate) experience of being involved in something similar – without the social media fallout.

I wasn’t the bar patron that night. I was one of two people in the fishbowl.

It was after a National Party “caucus event” (code for a boozy night). In those days these shindigs went into the wee small hours and most people got well and truly liquored.

As I recall I left the party with a (girl) friend and ended up rolling around on the floor of a junior Cabinet minister’s office in Bowen House, next to Parliament.

It was late, the lights were on but it was dark outside. I couldn’t see out – so I had a false sense of security.

As we left the office we went past the patient cleaners in the corridor who were waiting and I jumped into the lift and went home. When I arrived at work the next day my boss Linda Clark pulled me aside and laughed in my face.

“Garner,” she cried, “I know everything.”

How could she possibly know what I had got up to last night? There was no social media then, our cellphones didn’t send photos and the internet barely worked.

But she’d got a phone call from Parliament’s chief pigeon – Kiwiblog’s David Farrar.

He knew everyone and news had travelled fast. He couldn’t wait to tell my boss.

Heh, Duncan’s story is correct, except for one detail.

I didn’t call Linda. I called Duncan to give him a friendly hassle and Linda answered his phone. I said I’d call back when he was in. Linda asked if she could help. Her assumption was that I might have some political news for them for a possible story.

I replied to Linda that I was just calling to hassle Duncan, and Linda put 2+2 together in a millisecond and exclaimed “Farrar, what is her name?”. I laughed and declined to confirm or deny but then Linda did several minutes of her famous interrogation style and eventually I folded, she got the details out of me, and yes poor Duncan arrived at work to have Linda loudly proclaiming knowledge of what had happened.

So guilty to telling Linda, but only because she answered Duncan’s phone as he wasn’t in yet!’

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Auckland Council pays $200,000 for a cock and balls

February 6th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

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Photo (c) Nick Reed, NZ Herald

The Herald reports:

A $200,000 public sculpture being installed in Auckland is causing a stir with locals, who say it resembles a penis.

More than resembles I’d say!

The Auckland Council-commissioned Transit Cloud has been created as part of a project to breathe new life into traditionally working class New Lynn.

Will Mayor Len Brown launch the sculpture? That would be a photo op!

“What the hell is that? It’s certainly not a cloud. It looks like a penis,” said Joy Dale, of Mt Roskill.

She said the sculpture was a waste of ratepayers’ money and the council would be better spending the money on more security and patrols in the area.

Indeed.

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Beware the monster slide?

February 4th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Press reports:

A giant slip n slide event which drew 3000 people to Sumner yesterday descended into chaos as unhappy customers spent up to two and a half hours queuing to get a turn.

Concerns about safety were also raised and a 54-year-old man was taken to Christchurch Hospital by the Westpac rescue helicopter  with suspected spinal injuries after being knocked over by another slider at the bottom of the 250-metre slide.

The Christchurch Monster Slide event was the first of a series being held around New Zealand, with another one scheduled for Nelson today. 

Ticket prices varied from $15 for three slides up to $99 for 10 slides and special lane access.

Waiting two and a half hours for a go is not anyone’s idea of fun. It should not be difficult for them to work out the maximum number of tickets to sell, to ensure that queues are manageable.

Also the ticket prices are misleading. I purchased tickets for the Wellington event and on top of the advertised fee, you also have to pay a booking fee, compulsory insurance and a credit card fee. That increases the price by a staggering 50% or so.

Half of the Christchurch event’s 40 volunteer slide marshalls had not turned up which Templeton said had put a lot of pressure on the existing staff.

He was considering employing marshall volunteers for future events.

You’re raking in money from selling tickets/ Damn right you should hire staff rather than depend on volunteers.

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Bring back Romana?

February 3rd, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A former Doctor Who actor says a woman should never fill the role but he’s OK if the time lord’s ethnicity changes.

The fifth doctor, Peter Davison, who has been a public supporter of UK Labour and once voiced an election ad for the party, wants the character to remain male.

“My instinct as a viewer is that the Doctor is a male of the species even on Gallifrey (Dr Who’s home planet) and probably shouldn’t undergo a sex change”, he told a reporter in his Sydney hotel room.

I agree. Doctor Who is a male Gallifreyan. There is a difference between changing appearance and changing gender. Having said that, the Master appears to have changed.

Though Davison doubts a woman in control of the Tardis would be appropriate, he says he’s sure the character will one day be non-Caucasian.

But, the actor to break the mould will have to do so completely on merit, he said.

“Whether or not you have a black or ethnic actor playing Doctor Who is entirely down to the best actor for the role,” he said.

“I don’t think it should just be about `let’s pick a black actor just for the sake of doing it’.”

Now they have got rid of the limit of 12 regenerations, I’m sure there will be one also.

The actor, who was cast in Law and Order UK after his Doctor Who stint, says he’d like female time lords other than the doctor to play a bigger part.

I agree. Time to bring back Romanadvoratrelundar!

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Famous in a bad way

February 2nd, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

romp

Stuff reports:

A late-night romantic encounter in a Christchurch insurance office on Friday night  that was witnessed by bar patrons across the road could cost the couple their jobs.

The Marsh Ltd employees, who left the lights on in the Papanui Rd building, were filmed and photographed by patrons at the Carlton Bar and Eatery who posted images on Facebook and Twitter.

The photos have attracted thousands of likes and hundreds of shares.

“The whole pub knew about it and was watching, while they were totally oblivious to it. And afterwards celebrating with wine,” one man posted. 

The wine afterwards is a classy touch.

“They should have turned the lights out,” said another. 

Indeed. Or gone to someone’s home, or a hotel.

The Herald also reports:

Many people took photos and posted them on social media, which have attracted hundreds of likes and comments. The band playing at the Carlton stopped playing and let everyone in the bar watch, some posters said online.

“There were about 150 people watching at one point. It was awesome,” one poster said.

The band couldn’t compete with this entertainment.

Marsh Ltd chief executive Grant Milne found out about the incident this morning after the images surfaced on social media.

He confirmed that the two people were Marsh employees.

I hope they don’t lose their jobs, as the embarrassment will be punishment enough. They will have to live with:

  • Constant jokes from their colleagues
  • The knowledge 150 people watched them at it
  • Near inevitable publication of their names

UPDATE: I hear the gentleman involved in married with kids. If this is correct, then much less funny, and very sad for the family. All the more amazing they didn’t turn the lights off!

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US politics cartoons of the week: 2.2.15

February 2nd, 2015 at 2:29 pm by Lindsay Addie

There was a wide variety of topics to keep the cartoonists busy this week. The Obama administration and Mitt Romney have been selected this week.

The first by Michael Ramirez mocks the Obama administration’s bad habit of falling over their words in regards to who is a terrorist and who isn’t.

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© Michael Ramirez: found at Real Clear Politics.

 

Mitt Romney and on-again off-again 2016 presidential campaign.  ‘Deflategate’ refers to the New England Patriots NFL ball tampering scandal by Steve Benson.

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© Steve Benson: found at Real Clear Politics.

Once it dawned on Romney the financial backing and grass roots support wasn’t there from inside the GOP he wisely decided to give it away.

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US politics cartoon of the week: 26.1.15

January 26th, 2015 at 1:15 pm by Lindsay Addie

Most of the cartoons from the US have been about the  New England Patriots and the “deflate-gate scandal” or Obama’s state of the union (SOTU) speech. This weeks cartoon is about the latter.

The illusion to the President as Robin Hood refers to his idea of taxing the rich to give to the middle class. It was amusing to observe John Boehner sitting through most of the speech with look of a man who thought he was being fed rotten fish and was trying to hide the fact.

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© Gary Varvel: Found at Real Clear Politics

Sadly the SOTU has become a spectacle that is nothing more than a campaign stop for the White House incumbent. It has been like this for a number of years. The Economist has an op-ed on the SOTU and reminds readers that in an earlier time for example under Nixon the speech was an effective way for the President to attempt to advance policy goals and start an intelligent policy debate on issues of the day.

For a bit of context, it is useful to revisit the reception of old state of the union addresses. I’ve been watching and reading a few by Richard Nixon who, as a Republican president from 1969 to 1974, faced some similar hurdles: an endless and dispiriting war; a mysterious and haunting foreign foe; a sluggish economy; a Congress dominated by the opposing party. Interestingly, Nixon’s speeches promoted some similar priorities.

The result was progress.

But in fact many of his ideas became policy, even with Democrats controlling the House and Senate. The new Congress that had just been sworn in that January 1971 could have found it useful to make Nixon look like a failure, with a presidential election ostensibly lurking around the corner (though two years back then were far longer in politics than they are now). But in fact they passed a lot of landmark legislation that continues to benefit Americans today.

The article ends with these words.

One can’t help but feel wistful for an era when a president’s ideas might’ve been debated on their merits, and when lawmakers took their job of making law seriously. It has become hard to remember a time when truculence wasn’t the surest route to political power, and when policies weren’t simply dismissed as “partisan” before being thrown away.

I don’t expect the current divisive mind-set in Washington DC to change anytime soon.

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US politics cartoons of the week: 19.01.15

January 19th, 2015 at 1:28 pm by Lindsay Addie

There have been two topics this week that have kept the US cartoonists occupied. One is terrorism and those Charlie Hebdo cartoons. The other has been the US 2016 presidential election. With Mitt Romney making noises again about standing for the third time he has been on the receiving end more than once.

The first cartoon shows Romney as a Chameleon.

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© Matt Wuerker: Found at Politico.com

 

The second by Lisa Benson has the GOP and Democrats playing cards.

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© Lisa Benson: found at RealClearPolitics

Both Romney and Clinton have the same problem which is they have been around for a long time so no matter what they’ve achieved they’re both big targets when opponents indulge in the inevitable negative campaigning. Kerry in  2004, McCain 2008 and Romney in 2012 all suffered from this problem.

Neither should be discounted though as both could be formidable. Hillary may not have a lot of competition in the Democratic primaries which would mean she won’t put under too much pressure prior to the general election which may also reveal she isn’t ‘match fit’ when the actual campaign arrives in 2016. As for Romney, he had his chance in 2012 and couldn’t get the job done so his time may have past.

My guess is that the GOP will go for a candidate who has experience at Gubernatorial level and who hasn’t been around forever like both Hillary and Mitt.

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A Completely Dumb Brilliant Marvel Movie (with a Racoon and a Talking Tree)

January 6th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by Kokila Patel

by John Stringer (https://conzervative.wordpress.com)

1kiwi

I pretty much like anything Marvel, except this stupid comic (1969- ; self-title 1990). I have a pretty good collection of early 1960s Silver Age Marvel comics to prove it and DaughterofAwesome (aka Cypher) has met Stan Lee (so she’s on the quirky Xmas card and presents list). Comics can be a great investment. See here: $100k Comic Found in Wall.

The recent comic-to-movie transitions have been mostly successful following the travesties of the earliest Spiderman movies (1977). Iron Man, Cap. America, Thor, The Avengers, the two parallel Spiderman franchises (Tobey Maguire/Sam Raimi from 2002) are all pretty good interpretations propelling Marvel to a whole new level and empowering a completely new genre and creating a new audience. These reboots will replace the comics over the next generation, along with computer games and new media. Comics will become vestiges of collectible nostalgia for Baby Boomers and Gen. X and historic oddities for Gen. Y.  Who reads comics anymore, apart from the video store guy in The Simpsons or the Fatso pony-tail guy?

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And so, having recently watched Guardians of the Galaxy on dvd at the insistence of WifeofAwesome and wondering WHY this Marvel comic was ever made in to a movie, I present the Guardians of the Galaxy Honesty Trailer. Because we need this. (I actually really enjoyed this 2014 movie, it was extremely watchable and really entertaining. I just hated the Racoon. Too Disney!). But, let the Honesty Video speak…

Guardians of the Galaxy. was one of the biggest (unexpected) movie successes of 2014, snobbed by reviewers, loved by fans at the box office. Of more interest, was that it was a genius departure from the Marvel cinematic universe. And the give-away about what was really going on with this movie, was the final scene, after the credits, when Howard Duck makes a cameo appearance (heralding a forthcoming movie? Please, no!).

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Howard was a socially satirical cigar-smoking anthropomorphic duck from New Stork City on the planet Duckworld. He was a 1970s Marvel anti-hero superhero, a tongue-and-cheek lampoon of Marvel itself by Marvel.  A mash of Donald Duck, Daffy Duck and Marvel all-in-one, demonstrating that Stan Lee (and creators Steve Gerber and artist Val Mayerik) have great self-awareness and a robust sense of humour.

Guardians Of the Galaxy is pretty different from Captain America: The Winter Soldier and is perhaps ‘high’ on its own power but has the same tongue-in-cheek self-awareness and self-deprecating in-house jokes. In Guardians, one critic says Marvel is trolling its own world and “doles out middle fingers to the audience they know they have in the palm of their hands.” I’d agree with that. But the spaceships and vacuum of space wars are awesome.

You like superheroes? Well how about a movie that stars a stupid raccoon and a one-word speaking tree called Groot? (a rip-off of Tolkien’s Ent). Yup, that’ll work. The critic concludes, “And here’s the one finger salute, ‘the raccoon, the tree, the many-colored people and the white guy –who brings them together– made a metric crapton of money for Marvel.’ To which I say,

“People, it’s a movie based on a comic.  Just enjoy it. I did.  Immensely. A great holiday watch if you’re bored with the cricket.”

~John Stringer, Christchurch.

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US politics cartoons of the week: 3rd January 2015

January 3rd, 2015 at 9:21 am by Lindsay Addie

The US cartoonists have been particularly active over the holiday break so I’ve selected three cartoons.

The first makes fun of GOP leader Steve Scalise for allegedly giving a speech to a KKK audience in 2002. He claims he didn’t know. NB: toga party = costume party.

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© Mike Luckovich – Found at Real Clear Politics

 

The second cartoon has Obama assessing the odds of Gitmo prisoners being a threat upon release.

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© Michael Ramirez – Found at Real Clear Politics

 

Finally it wasn’t the Americans who busted the North Korean internet a couple of weeks ago…..

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© Gary Varvel – Found at Real Clear Politics

[UPDATE]: Added the word ‘allegedly’ to the line above the first cartoon.

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