April Fools has come and gone, yet people continue to promote ideas so ludicrous I can only assume they’re pranks being played on us.  Perhaps this entire year should be dedicated to the Fool.  Here are some of the best jokes so far:

Paul Ryan:  “My plan to replace Medicare with a voucher was such a huge success, I’m totally going to bring it back.”

Chris Christie:  “I’m innocent!  My lawyer buddy says so.”

Sarah Palin:  “The Republican budget plan doesn’t cut enough benefits for the poor!”

Paul Ryan again:  “The pre-existing condition clause of the Affordable Care Act is wildly popular.  But I’m sure nobody will mind if we repeal it.”

Ann Coulter:  “If they really want to endear themselves to the voters, conservatives should keep making comments about rape.  For instance–immigration is just like rape.”  (Thanks to the Kavalkade Krew for drawing my attention to this one.)

Vladimir Putin:  “Ukrainians long to be freed by their beloved Russian brothers.”

Kim Jong Un:  “I haven’t done enough executions.  Let’s try one with a flame thrower.”

Miley Cyrus:  “America is in love with my sexiness!”

Ted Cruz:  “America is in love with my intellect!”

If this is any indication of what this year will be like, I will spend the rest of it in constant fits of laughter…or weeping.  I haven’t yet decided which.

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For once, a coupling has taken place which is more disturbing to conservatives than any gay wedding can ever be.  Yes, Republicans and Democrats decided to get together and make a budget, and all day long, the sound of wailing and gnashing of teeth was heard on the talk radio airwaves.  The conservative dog had awkward interspecies sex with the liberal cat, and the resulting litter doesn’t appeal to anybody.

One could see the budget as a Christmas miracle, a moment when two sides which had long been warring with each other came together in peace.  But right wing radio listeners think this really is a war, so a deal isn’t just a deal, it’s abandoning your position to the enemy.  And so Paul Ryan, formerly the golden boy of the Ayn Rand brigade, is now being dragged through the mud by his own followers for consorting with the other side.

Mind you, there are things in this budget that I don’t like at all, as a progressive.  But, well, that’s the nature of compromise–you get things you don’t like.  It’s a sign of where we are as a country that a compromise is considered an apocalyptic event.  Perhaps, for all the talk about our desire for bipartisanship, we–secretly or not so secretly–prefer the drama and division?

Well, it looks like an extension of unemployment benefits will not be a part of the new budget deal.  Meanwhile, the long-term structural problem with employment in this country–that of jobs getting outsourced overseas–continues.  What are the unemployed to do?

There’s an obvious solution which would warm the cockles of even Paul Ryan’s bleak, Ayn Rand-infused heart.  It’s about time we had a real hunger games.  Except this one would involve only unemployed people.  They’re takers and moochers, so their lives are not worth as much anyway.  And there’s no way that any of the wealthy job creators should be risking their well-being in a competition like this.  We could have a contestant from each sector of employment which has been losing jobs to other countries:  manufacturing, high tech, call centers etc.  Just like in the movie, this would be a reality TV show–thus, getting rid of the jobless and producing a profit at the same time!  The lone survivor could get an extension of his/her unemployment benefits.  Or even better, the winner could be rewarded with a job.  Sure, chances are you would lose your life in the games, but if you’re not willing to do anything to get a job, you’re just not trying hard enough.

If nothing else, this would be a refreshingly honest proposal from Paul Ryan.  But I doubt we’ll ever see such honesty on Capitol Hill.

I’m torn about the rodeo clown thing.  On the one hand, I’m offended and disgusted by what the clown did, and even more disgusted by the audience of morons cheering him on.  But I still don’t want his right to be a blithering idiot taken away, and here’s why:

Because one day Paul Ryan might be President.  And as President Ryan goes on his merry way privatizing Medicare and outlawing abortion, there will no doubt be a late-night burlesque show taking place somewhere in Portland, in which Paul Ryan (or someone wearing a mask) will dance seductively in lingerie and a garter belt, simulate sex with the Koch brothers, and then get bent over and spanked with a dildo, as is our way here in PDX.  And if Paul Ryan ever becomes President, then goddammit, I really, really want to be able to see that show.

I want to be able to mock the future Republican President just as relentlessly as I did back when W was in power.  My concern is that I’m going to have to deal with a bunch of right-wingers whining that “Well, you wouldn’t let us do this with your President!”

The most satisfying revenge against stupid people, including stupid racists, is not to censor them–it’s to give them a proper spanking when it’s their turn.

“He must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love:  the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison.”  —  Pope Francis

“The mystic parasites who have, throughout the ages, reviled the traders and held them in contempt, while honoring the beggars and the looters, have known the secret motive of their sneers: a trader is the entity they dread–a man of justice.”  —  Ayn Rand

All right, Paul Ryan.  Enlighten me.  How can you be a follower of both?  I’m having genuine trouble figuring this out.

After the Republicans got their butts kicked in the election, they were supposed to search their souls and re-examine their message, or so we were told.  After all, a lot of voters had clearly found that message unattractive.  But while the GOP leadership has made some noises about changing course, that’s not the reaction I’ve seen so far from the conservative rank and file.  Rather than ask “Why don’t the voters like us?” they’ve been busy discussing the many reasons why they don’t like the voters.  Or voting, for that matter–at least, not too much of it.

Women were understandably repulsed by the bizarro Republican stances on issues like rape and contraceptives.  So now I’m hearing the familiar chorus of voices suggesting that perhaps, just perhaps, it had been better if we had never given women the right to vote.  And this chorus includes some Tea Party women, who think their fellow females are simply not smart enough to vote correctly.  As far as I know, nobody’s been so dumb as to make the same type of comment about African-Americans and their voting rights, but Paul Ryan did mention those pesky “urban districts” and their high turnout this year.  You can bet that there are Republicans in local governments right now working on figuring out how to make voting even more difficult in those districts by 2016.  And speaking of urban areas, there are lawmakers in places like Ohio trying to change the way electoral votes are apportioned, so that they are divvied up one per congressional district, as opposed to winner take all for the state.  This would benefit more conservative rural areas and strip the cities of their population advantage.  As one angry Glenn Beck fan declared on The Blaze, “We gotta stop letting the blind masses in the cities control our fate!”

Well, it’s easy to see the direction this is going, and it’s not one of deep reflection.  Other lovely right-wing responses to the election results have been “Young people are too stupid to vote!  Let’s raise the voting age back to 21” and “Stop letting all the immigrants in!”  And, of course:  “They’re Takers who want gifts!”  Not a single “Hmmmm, why is it that Americans are not excited about voting for us?”  I suppose that only benefits my side, but it would be nice to have a decent opposition party–it would give me more options.  However, that kind of change would take some soul-searching.