1. Yes, You Can Just Throw Money at the National Debt

    While there’s not an app for that (not yet), there’s a convenient website where you can go and give extra money to the government to pay down the national debt. Yes, people use it.

    And you have options!

    The Bureau of the Public Debt may accept gifts donated to the United States Government to reduce debt held by the public. Acting for the Secretary of the Treasury, Public Debt may accept a gift of:

    • Money, made only on the condition that it be used to reduce debt held by the public.
    • An outstanding government obligation, made only on the condition that the obligation be retired and the redemption proceeds used to reduce debt held by the public.
    • Other intangible personal property made only on the condition that the property is sold and the proceeds from the sale used to reduce the public debt.

    And people actually use it! Last year they gathered up $2,840,466.75 in contributions from fine well-wishers of the Republic! That’s somewhat less than the $21,122,729,715.18 the government paid out in interest on the debt last month but it’s the thought that counts, right?

    Uuuh. Seeing that many commas in a number preceded by a dollar sign made me a little nauseous.

    Thanks to The Consumerist for tipping me off to this depressing as hell site.

  2. Master on the Horror of Insanity writer HP Lovecraft on Republicans (Remember to Vote)

    Tomorrow is election day in the United States and yesterday was Halloween. Coincidence? Here’s some political advice from master of cosmic horror and insanity, HP Lovecraft, on Republicans from 1936:

    As for the Republicans — how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical ‘American heritage’…) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience? Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead.
    — HP Lovecraft, 1936
    Letter to C.L. Moore (August 1936), quoted in “H.P. Lovecraft, a Life” by S.T. Joshi, p. 574

  3. Crass: There is no Authority But Yourself

    Found this via Dangerous Minds.

    I have little to add beyond advising you to clear out an hour to watch this Dutch documentary about the collection of people, practices and ideals that came together to form the punk band Crass.  With a militantly anarchist outlook and a very DIY devotion to living what they screamed, Crass was one of the very few in art who lived their ideals 100%.  A great hit of inspiration if you’re feeling like you’ve got no option but the treadmill you’re on.

  4. Muammar Qaddafi and Michael Jackson: the Oneness

    Muammar Qaddafi and Michael JacksonAm I the only one that thinks Muammar al-Qaddafi and Michael Jackson look like the same person?  I mean, add 20 pounds and a limp and you’re basically there.  Oh and a pulse.  And a crack team of lady bodyguards.

    Really.  MQ? Sleeps in a tent.  MJ? Slept in a tent.  Face like wood putty? Check.  Rambling conspiracy theories, a love for costumes and radical decisions prompted by financial troubles?  Check, check and check.  Two men, two vast reservoirs of ego and paranoia swirling around in big piles of money, leaking weird gibberish across the land.

    Only natural that they’d have the same tailor, eh?

    But what if it was more than that?  What if Michael Jackson, hounded by his debts and public reputation, entered in a secret pact with mysterious Libyan nationals to support a clandestine coup, a neat little switch that whisked the real Qaddafi off the pedestal and slid the ersatz dictator in his place as smooth as Indy swaps idols for sand?  A plausible Michael Jackson corpse wouldn’t be the hardest thing in the world to fabricate and Qaddafi’s strange reputation could be cited to cover up any unaccounted for behavioral changes.

    Now, I’m not saying this did happen.  I’m just saying for a man as weird and famous as Michael Jackson, there aren’t nearly enough rumors and conspiracy theories surrounding his death.  We can do better, people.  Give the King of Pop his Elvis treatment.  Let’s start reporting Michael skulking around the dumpsters behind Costco at 4 am, breaking open expired boxes of over the counter allergy medicine.  Let’s convince each other he ascended into heaven astride a chimpasus, an immortal hoofed and winged primate developed by freakiest of Soviet science in a Kazakhstan lab.  WE CAN DO BETTER.

  5. I therefore pronounce him a Coward and a Scoundrel

    This photo made my day when it arrived in my inbox. I don’t know who snapped it but I figured there had to be a story.

    And there is.

    William Tradewell, the man who declared General Leigh Read a “Coward and Scoundrel” was a member of the America conservative Whig party and slave owner in the Old South. General Leigh Read was a rising star in the Democrat party whose political naivety  cost him.

    Tradewell requested a duel with Read because of Read’s refusal to “apologise for the insult offered” and the feud between Tradewell and Read’s respective political parties. Read, being a poor shot turned him down.

    Another guy by the name of Augustus Alston also offered Read a duel (but no public notice on his ’scoundrelness.’)

    Read accepted knowing he was going up against a man who was a good shot, wealthy, from a nepotistic family, and vehemently opposed the Democrat party’s bank reform bills. Read stood by his position knowing if he was going to go down, it had to be someone who was a “bulldog” of the dying Whig party.

    In Alston’s arrogance, he misfired and Read killed him with one shot. Alston– and pretty much everybody– planned on a “victory banquet” but Alston’s itchy trigger finger and cockiness caused him a critical delay and certain death.

    Even though this was a duel, that Alston initiated, his sisters deemed it “murder.” Alston’s sisters had the bullet removed and recast. They instructed their brother Willis Alston– then in Texas– to kill General Read with the same bullet that killed Augustus Alston. Willis Alston approached Read at a public speaking event a few weeks later dressed in a cloak and hat to disguise himself. He threw off his disguise and the crowd immediately recognized him. He attempted to stab Read with a knife but was foiled when Read grabbed his gun and grazed Willis Alston’s hand.

    A few years later after keeping a low profile Willis Alston caught up to Read and shot him in the back. Willis Alston was arrested but through family connections and $30,000 in bribes managed to escape to Texas.

    Dr. Stewart a Tallahassee native son and friend of Read living in Texas became enraged that Read’s killer lived nearby– and said several insults about Willis Alston. Rather than post a public notice to apologize, Willis Alston approached Dr. Stewart on horseback demanding he apologize for those ill remarks.

    Stewart refused and shot Willis Alston in the stomach. Though injured, Willis Alston fired back and killed Dr. Stewart.

    Again in jail, Willis Alston hatched an escape plan with his family connections. That night though, friends of Dr. Stewart formed a lynch mob and fired endlessly at Willis Alston until he laid dead.

    Just goes to show you America was– and probably always will be– pretty fucked up.

    Update: @ColinPeters found this wonderful painting by Christopher M. Still check out “18? for more on Tradewell-Read-Alston.

  6. Mad Palin: A Sarah Palin Speech Generator

    Mad Palin

    Ever wonder how you could write an eloquent speech as eloquent as former Alaska governor Sarah Palin? Well now you can. At least the first couple paragraphs. It’s a bit long and rambling, but then again so is her 2,500 word speech. Share you results below. Fill in your own nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs after the jump.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  7. Demand Celebrity Death Panel Choice, Patriot!


    Remember when the thick rich soup of internet infotainment was touted as the food of a new race of superintelligent uber-citizens who would zoom from source to source with a keen eye for the facts?

    Yeah.  The future has always been full of shit.

    So instead we get Sarah Palin’s pearls of wisdom drooled out via Facebook, raising the specter of government death panels chomping at the bit to liquidate her Down syndrome baby’.

    As an aside, whenever challenged about anything, from now on, I’m going to reply ‘You want to kill my baby with Down syndrome.’  Bulletproof.

    In this brave new post-facts reality, I think Obama would be foolish to try to refute this charge by say, calmly refuting the death panel rumor as weird gibberish and talking some sense. No way, once an idea gets dipped in the delicious candy coating that is a buzzword like ‘death panel’ there’s no way something wimpy like multi-syllabic facts could combat it.

    No sir.  In the heartland, the small towns, in the Real America, they only want three things: Freedom.  Celebrities.  And meth.  Let’s give them two of the three, shall we?

    Celebrity Death Panels! All Americans should go get their freak on as loud as possible at their local town hall, scaring the beejezus out of their elected representatives by bellowing support for the right to choose a panel of the famous to decide whether one lives or dies once they near that border line of one’s worth to society.

    I’ve already got mine picked out:  Celine Dion (don’t ask me to explain this one), Henry Rollins (after studying his lyrics, I think he’d reliably vote to pull the plug should I be wired to a ventilator and a poop tube), that pneumatic JFK from Sans Soleil, and Kevin Federline (he’s made a career out of looking like he could use the work)

    Fellow TITLEr Mr. Veer puts in his request for Bob Saget, Alan Thicke, Tony Danza, and Dave Couiler, possibly so as to be gently ushered off to death’s door with some learning-a-valuable-lesson music and a lingering sitcom father figure glow.

    Hit the comments and name your dream panel or twitter it with #celebdeathpanel

  8. Jesus Grassdancin' Christ, Obama… Bud Light?


    Alright, I knew what I was getting into, not going to pretend I didn’t.  Obama’s a politician and you don’t get further than your front door in politics if you don’t have a healthy dose of the Zelig in you.  Some of the backslapper, the faux everyman, the telegenic blank slate that talks pretty and says little.  But c’mon…

    CBS says that for his cop and proffessor ‘hey let’s talk about racial profiling bay-bee’ beer session Obama’s choosing Bud Light.

    This is intolerable.  Are they playing beer pong?  Is that why he’s going for watery domestic? I don’t know about you, but I like my elected representatives to be smarter than me, with better taste.

    I remain too indignant to say anything useful about the Fourth Amendment or the numerous descendents of Niall.

  9. Declassified Spy Images of Arctic

    Reuters reports:

    The United States released more than a thousand intelligence images of Arctic ice to help scientists study the impact of climate change, within hours of a recommendation by the National Academy of Sciences.In an unusually fast move by a U.S. government agency, the Interior Department made the images public on Wednesday. The academy’s report urging this action was released at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

    East Siberian Sea in 2000 released by the Obama Administration Previously Classified

    East Siberian Sea in 2000

    These images show the possible effects of global warming. Possibly classified by the Bush administration for possible fear that Al Qaeda might take a liking to snow or evil supervillan Lex Luthor might find Superman’s base on Google Earth.