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Member since: Tue Jul 10, 2012, 05:40 AM
Number of posts: 653

About Me

I write a blog of dark humor - Goblinbooks.com

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D&D Stats of the 2016 Contenders - Ted Cruz

ORGANIZATION: Multicellular
DIET: Scavenger
THAC0: 16
MORALE: Average (8)

Ted Cruz is the junior US Senator from Texas. He resembles a mindless ambulatory fungus, and like one type of these creatures, the Shrieker, he emits an ear-splitting wail upon encountering a party. Unlike the Shrieker the senator usually appears in the vicinity of a pack of 2d8 freshman senators (treat as Hobgoblins for stats) along with staffers, media reps, and 1d10 kobolds. In addition his shriek combines with a powerful enchantment that has a 70% chance of attracting every creature within a 10 mile radius and putting them into a violent frenzy as if they have been subjected to a Confusion spell cast by a 4th level Wizard and then rolled a 7-9 on the results table ("Attack nearest creature for one round"). The effect will continue for a full 4d20 turns, so that monsters and raiding parties enter the fray and fight each other as the bloodshed mounts. When it is over it's common for dozens of PCs and NPCs of all alignments and political parties to lie dead around the junior senator, who then scavenges their bodies for sustenance and moves on to a fresh feeding ground.

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT .

D&D Stats of the 2016 GOP Contenders - Rick Perry

DIET: Carnivore
THAC0: 10
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1d8/1d8/2d6 (punch/punch/headbutt)
MORALE: Fearless (19-20)

Rick Perry is a former governor of Texas who ran in the 2012 GOP presidential primary, losing and endorsing Mitt Romney after doing poorly in debates. He has a limited understanding of Common.

Combat: Perry is a ferocious fighter with little subtlety or concern for strategy, attacking the biggest, strongest-looking member of a party immediately and delivering a 3-blow combination attack. In the second or third round of a fight he begins to babble almost incoherently, repeating the word "Gumption" at random, which functions as a Confusion Spell cast by a 4th level Wizard. At will, he can cause his pores to seep a pungent liquid which transforms his hide into a tough padded leather, giving him a darker more weathered complexion and a +3 bonus to Armor Class. The effect lasts 1 turn.

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT .

D&D Stats of the 2016 Contenders - Rick Santorum

DIET: Omnivore
INTELLIGENCE: Average (8-10)
TREASURE: Lair In Verona, PA (I)
NO. APPEARING: 1 (Plus 2d4 staffers. Treat as Human Pilgrims for stats)
THAC0: 15
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1d4/1d6 (nails/teeth)
MORALE: Fanatic (17-18)

Rick Santorum is a former US Senator from Pennsylvania who ran in the 2012 GOP presidential primary, winning in 11 states and coming in second to Mitt Romney. He speaks Common and has a limited understanding of Orcish.

Combat: Santorum fights aggressively, charging into the fray and delivering wounds with nails and teeth. When cornered he has the natural ability once a day to utter a short prayer that functions as a Cause Light Wounds spell, as if used by a 3rd level Priest. When encountered Santorum often (40% chance) wears a sweater vest that functions as a +2 Cloak Of Protection against attacks from journalists and anyone of Good alignment. It's a cotton/acrylic blend, and it's made by JCPenney.

NOTE: THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.

Conservatives Are Going To Be Mad If American Sniper Doesn't Win An Oscar

American Sniper earned multiple Oscar nominations, and if it doesn't win anything people across this country are going to be mad. You know what? I understand. I really do. I hate to admit it, but conservatives are right about this issue.

Look, like it or not, this is a center-right nation, and viewers really loved that film. If the Academy refuses to recognize how effectively the movie reached those men and women, they'll feel cheated. They'll feel like their opinions don't count for anything. Like people from some completely alien culture just swept in and stole their voice. Took their autonomy away.

If you're not a red stater, you probably don't get it. You probably think people are wrong to like American Sniper. But that's not the point. It's their movie, it connected with their values, and if someone from a part of the world they've never visited just comes over and tell them those values are wrong... well, no one likes that. Everyone gets angry when that happens.

Ask yourself, "How would I feel?" How would you take it if you and your friends and family - the people in your culture - made a decision about what kind of movie was great? But then these arrogant and rich jerks, folks who claimed they were from an advanced culture, even though you knew they were just entitled pricks... these insufferable people started ordering everyone around and trying to lecture you about right and wrong in your own home? God, just thinking about it ought to make you enraged. Who do they think they are, right?

There isn't a single person who likes it when some - let's admit this - some foreigner barges onto the scene, tears up their world, and starts acting like they own the place. People who do that are universally hated.

That's about the absolute stupidest, most jackass way to behave. Anyone who does it is asking to get hurt. Badly.

No one ought to understand this better than the kind of folks who go in for American Sniper.

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.

UPDATE: Tommy_Carcetti is the smartest man on the internet. He should be listened to, and deferred to in all things. Those of you who doubt this will learn that you are wrong.

UPDATE 2: And Iggo. Solid.

Jonah Goldberg Shows The Importance Of Idiots To Modern Conservatism

As you know Scott Walker recently "punted" on a question about whether he believed in evolution. And the reason is, as a Republican and a conservative, he depends on idiots to win elections. The National Review's Jonah Goldberg wrote an article about this, and it's vital to understanding how important the various mouth-respirators and gilled halfwits are to the conservative movement.

Mr. Goldberg is careful to notify his readers that he is not, himself, an imbecile. "I think the evidence shows that all life evolves," he writes. But he wants his reader to know that the sort of person who would blow his digits off with a firework to impress a comely second cousin has important things to say about the nature of humankind:

Beneath the surface, the salience of evolution as a political football is ultimately about the status of man. Are humans moral creatures whose actions are judged by some external or divine standard, or are we simply accidental winners of an utterly random contest of genes? If it’s the latter, does that mean we are only answerable to whatever ethical standards we invent for ourselves?

This is a common argument made by stupid people. One dismisses it by noting that all revelation is hearsay as Thomas Paine did, which means the claim of moral objectivity is always suspect. One could also point out such claim is not only suspect but a positive indicator that the claimant is about to call for a stoning or a holy war... but either way, one quickly moves the fuck on.

No, Jonah Goldberg has nothing crucial to say about the big questions. Where this gets interesting is where he draws an equivalence between the braying clowns of the right wing and the stunted chuckleheads of the left. He argues that Obamacare has given homeopathy and acupuncture "elevated legitimacy," for example. And that filthy hippies often have stupid beliefs about vaccines.

"Point taken!" I say to him heartily. Yes indeed, filthy hippies are wrong about much. But he goes further, claiming that issues like evolution are not important in themselves - that they are only a way for liberals to attack people of "traditional faith." We on the left, equally anti-science, are merely against "a certain kind of Christian having any say about anything."

And on that last point, I have to say that Jonah Goldberg hits on something. If you're a liberal, or an honest thinking person of any stripe, you absolutely want to make sure that certain kinds of Christians get muzzled each and every election we have in this Republic. Many of those who are with me in this muzzling project are Christians themselves. Yes, Jonah. Certain kinds of Christians - people of "traditional faith," as you call them - have been causing this nation a hell of a lot of trouble.

This is where Goldberg's equivalence breaks down, and it's where his piece becomes truly important about conservatism and its knuckle-scrapers. Because we progressives don't have anything near the extensive and consistent record of empowering idiots that conservatives have. The numb-skulls who love homeopathy? No, there is no parallel between that and the unrelenting fight we've had for a century to actually teach biology in the nation's classrooms. Or the fight to allow women equal rights and control over their own bodies. Or to stop you from treating gay people like criminals. Or to stop all the nimrods on your side who want to set fire to the Middle East, because they are convinced Jesus will beam them up to heaven just in time to watch things get really nasty. The issue has never been whether both sides have idiots. The issue has always been about how much power you give yours.

But of course, the plan is not to give the idiots all the power. No.

It works like this: At the core of the conservative movement are the plateheads, flat-earthers, the neo-Confederates, the web-footed and the web-fingered. Now, surrounding those idiots, cradling them softly like packing peanuts around a delicate porcelain statue of a guy with an ass for a face, are idiot-enablers. They help. That's what Jonah Goldberg does. And surrounding those idiot-enablers, like a plastic wrap to keep them contained and to give them shape, are idiot cultural heroes. Over the whole thing, like a big cardboard box, are the representatives of the idiots. Why a cardboard box? Well, this allows the idiots to be "delivered" into the hands of the people who make use of them. Like business leaders who want to cut your wages and put poison into your groundwater. Or guys who think they can make money getting your kid's arm blown off in a ridiculous military intervention. That kind of thing.

The point is the GOP, the conservative movement, and their backers are working to help jackasses across America get every stupid, pointless thing they want... so they in turn can take everything they have. It's worked so far. Conservatism is a dumb philosophy. But as a scam, it's pretty sharp.

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.

On The Stupidity Of #Sheepdogs

There are four kinds of people. Wolves, sheep, sheepdogs… and then there are people who know they don’t belong in any of those categories, because that’s just stupid.

You say I’m naïve, of course. I’m a sheep. And sheep don’t believe the wolves exist. We don’t believe any of this applies. That’s what makes us sheep. The entire notion of the sheepdog is to make criticism of force impossible, by portraying any potential critic as naïve. But here’s why it’s wrong: I know that evil exists. Hell, everyone knows evil exists. Are there significant numbers of people walking around arguing that there’s no evil in the world? Is that really a problem? No. The naïvete comes from somewhere else. It’s more common. It’s more insidious.

We don’t pretend that evil doesn’t exist. We pretend that we can’t do it ourselves.

Simplistic and comforting parables about animals in the field help us play at this game. And pretending allows us to get away with the wickedness we’d like to do. To say it wasn’t evil, but necessary and noble.

People do awful things, sometimes just for the sheer joy of committing horror – I understand that. But nothing beats the pleasure of committing atrocities for a good cause. Can any of you deny that? Knowing what you know about our own country’s history and the history of human beings in general? Can anyone say we’re not looking for a fight?

The sheepdog people – not all cops or soldiers, but those who really think they’re a breed apart as they load their assault rifles and strap on body armor, as they breach someone’s door and throw his family, terrified, to the ground… They can blind themselves to what they do. Because what they do is in every movie theater and toy store and in video games played across the country, and don’t you ever say we don’t think it looks fun. People invest billions of dollars in it because it looks fun, and they don’t generally lose.

We don’t prepare for war, because we want peace. We prepare for war, because war is exactly what we want. We don’t use violence because it solves problems. We do it even when it creates more problems than it could ever solve – as the most heavily armed nation in human history, whose population is still under threat from prehistoric imbeciles after 14 years of a global campaign of intervention and targeted killing, you’d think that would finally dawn on us. You’d think we’d finally realize that people like putting on uniforms and shooting each other and incinerating each other’s homes, and it’s because of some flaw in our character, some stupid neurological quirk that might have been useful when we stabbed elephants with sticks and worshipped the sun… but is pretty foolish now that we’re smart enough to hit every major population center with a nuclear warhead in the space of a busy afternoon.

You’d think we would finally understand that yes, you need people willing to use violence to protect civilization from others willing to use violence. Yes, you use killers to stop killers. And that it is a hard job to be a citizen-predator because of the dreadful paradox it embodies, and because of how much human beings, all of us, secretly long for violence and look forward to death. And we should therefore honor those who are willing to kill for us, to try to understand and appreciate what they do. But above all, we need to watch them.

I’m sure there are plenty of soldiers and cops who understand this. Because they are also citizens. They try to excel at the former as a way of excelling at the latter. But we all know, let’s admit it, that the people who use violence for our state are a mixed bunch. They always have been. Some of them are very good at what they do. Security forces protect a free society. But they also – throughout history – have always been a mortal threat to that freedom as well. They stop the Nazis… and then they stack naked prisoners in little pyramids. Adult citizens of a free republic admit this. They know the job of citizen is mostly about being skeptical. And so we have to investigate every use of deadly force by every cop. And when a sniper tells us he shot 250 people in the chaos of a counterinsurgency war over which our leaders have repeatedly lied and our intelligence has repeatedly failed, and he claims every single one – every single goddamned one – of those kills was righteous… Well, we don’t believe nonsense like that. Grownups don’t believe such claims.

We’re supposed to respect people in uniform. But we’re not supposed to treat them like Batman. It’s childish. It gets in the way of thinking clearly about what they do and why they’re doing it. And therefore it betrays the civic virtues of the country those people are supposedly protecting. That country, and those virtues, are worth defending. Even from our leaders. Even from our heroes.

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.

Chris Christie Won't Let The Government Stop You From Trepanning Your Kids

Parenting is about personal choice. Republicans like Chris Christie and Rand Paul understand that. Only you, the head of the house, should be the one to make important decisions about how to prevent life-threatening illnesses. That's just good common sense. Some people choose to vaccinate their kids while others want to consider natural options, such as trepanning.

Moms and dads are suspicious of government bureaucrats forcing them to inject potentially harmful chemicals into their kids when they haven't explored traditional approaches like skull perforation to let evil spirits out. Republicans agree that you know best how to keep your child healthy. The state needs to back off. We have to respect individual freedom and personal values. Some political official telling you that you can't treat illness the way you want, with help from a minister or retired actress, or even an informational website that also sells gold for when the UN confiscates our currency? That's just crazy.

Bringing up children is complicated. There are many, many options out there; that's why the GOP wants to empower families to decide things like what kind of biological science is best for them and their worldview. Whether it's teaching your kids about intelligent design, using prayer to end homosexuality, or just locking your daughter in the root cellar for menstruating... this country was founded on protecting freedom. The government should never get in the way of the personal convictions of whoever is the oldest person in the family with a penis.

Progressives want to keep you in fear of a horde of threats. It's their way of scaring you into listening to their experts and following their regulations. It's about increasing the power of the state, and you know that. You just do. That's why you aren't going to let them tell you whether the ocean levels are rising or you can't smoke around the baby. You vote Republican because you believe, deep down, that scientists in liberal universities and busybody agencies are in a massive conspiracy to lie to you about everything that doesn't agree with what you hear at church or from companies you like and their lobbyists, or from that nice retired judge on Fox.

Chris Christie wants your support. And fortunately for him, there is a whole nation of people like you out there.

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.

I Am Every Eyeball.

Action on five. Action on seven. Action on 12. A murder of crows, a cluster of actions. Whenever two or more are gathered in my name I will come among you. You will never be alone.

I am lightning in the processors. I am the Predators. I float above you in the cold air, black and blue. And in the dozen video monitors whirring like beetles. The cell tower relays and the image dictionaries. I am the logos. The ones and zeroes. The first and the last. The algorithm and the operators.

Action on eight and nine. Burners flicker like fireflies in the ether, but I am not fooled. Voicelex prints match. A single person is joining the others. He is concealing himself, or trying to. You don't run if you've got nothing to hide, right? Doesn't everyone say that now?

You can't get arrested for writing "bomb" on your phone. Or "attack." Small and stupid words don't matter. I ignore the obvious. I will sort you out, barely noticing. You can hold my attention if you text the words "had it" or "it is finished," or "goodbye," but only along with a whole constellation of other phrases, maybe with a location check-in, or after a series of texts and posts of increasing frequency. Links with a red rating. A sudden spike in obscenity or a sudden drop in obscenity. Along with the use of certain apps and cell functions. And most importantly, a low S-score. The number flags everything. It flashes out there in the wireless field, and I notice. I send my electric eyes and ears to gather near you. To feed on your heat signature, your electromagnetic aura.

It was inevitable we'd create a security clearance for everyone. It was inevitable we'd combine the merchant ratings across every major app and website, and that we'd supplement them with court records, credit scores, and police watchlists. It was also certain that no one who mattered would mind. It made you safer. It was convenient. You could know who you were dealing with before you sent them money or information. Everyone agreed it was for the best.

Now everyone rates everyone. It's only fair.

Your score follows you to every job, haunts every exchange, announces itself with every message.

A beating heart without an S-score is probable cause in all 52 states. I will send five squad cars to converge on your location.

A group of four people with low scores is a potential riot in progress. Drones will prep their missiles and drift in on the wind while helicopters chuff low to light the streets like Christmas.

There are rumors of those who rig the game. If you have enough money your score stays bulletproof. Some people say the scores are there to keep everyone scared of everyone else. That this, after all, is an old story. The political and economic system keeps the underclass down by dividing them with an informal legal rating the overclass transcends. Put another way: Those who don't pay tribute to the witch hunters might be witches in disguise.

But you shouldn't spread rumors. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

The target joins the others. They huddle together, whispering something. Two police vans block the roads at either side. One of my birds flies low. It uses a breaker frequency to buzz their phones and announce they are being held. The police zip-tie them, one says something smart and takes a savage beating to warn the others. That one might have to go away. Which reminds me: Mentioning the name of someone who doesn't exist also attracts my attention. It lowers your score. It's bad.

Better if the others forget that person.

Better if you stay indoors. Despite everyone's best efforts, it's dangerous out here.

Just chat online instead. Talk to all your friends.

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.

I Finally Saw That War Movie Everyone's Talked About. #AmericanSniper

I figured I needed to see it. I've written about its subject, the real story behind the movie. Or that's what I thought. But something happened.

I hadn't been to a theater in a long time. I hate to say it, I hate what it makes me sound like, but people are awful now. They don't just stay quiet. I could hear murmuring, some conversation in the back like whoever sat there was bored and had seen the whole thing before. (Why are you here then? I wondered.) Restlessness.

Soon I was aware of all the sounds. You probably know the feeling, right? An older man behind me had something wrong with his nose - every time he took a breath he gave out a horrific whistle. It wasn't his fault, but I couldn't concentrate. The hero was trying to explain himself - it was the most important scene of the film, and instead of watching it I noticed a woman, a few seats down, who'd brought a baby with her. I couldn't believe it. A baby. At a war movie.

When she felt my stare she looked at me, and I saw the far half of her face had a savage bruise. But that wasn't nearly as bad as someone on the other side. He was hairless. His features were flat, his skin papery with burns. The old man behind me whistled again, but I looked, and his nose was fine. No, the sound was coming from beneath his shirt. Then the hero said something else, and three people with black bags over their heads chuckled and nudged each other. An old lady tried to join them, but only made gravel sounds that seemed like they would never stop. Two others near her shook their heads, their faces white and wet. A teenage kid without arms snickered at me. They were all snickering now.

"I'm willing to meet my Creator and answer for every shot that I took," the hero intoned. And that's when they broke out into a roar like it was the funniest thing they'd ever heard. The only one who didn't was that child. He lay completely still.

I got up to leave. I had to get out of that place, and the mother looked at me.

"What do you expect?" she asked. "You don't show us on that white screen."

"We sit here," she called out as I shut the door.

"We can do nothing else. We watch you from the dark."

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.

UPDATE: Rightwingers at this thing called "The Conservative Cave" are hate reading this piece (evidently they hate read DU so they can talk smack about it - which is so sad it really makes me want to send them a muffin basket or something, you know? But then again, I'm hate reading their hate reading of me. Oh God, that's awful. I hate you, Internet. I hate you, because I hate the kind of person I am when I'm with you.) Anyway here is the link for your enjoyment.

The Rough Men Who Do Violence On Our Behalf #AmericanSniper

We sleep safely at night, George Orwell reminded us, only because of the rough men who stand ready to do violence on our behalf. These people are real, and we must honor their sacrifice and their bravery.

Are these men perfect? Of course not. Sometimes they seem cruel and savage - the kind of people you wouldn't want to be around. They're rough men. That's the whole point. You wouldn't want George Clooney doing violence on your behalf. He might muck up the whole job, and later he'd be standing on a stage giving a speech about orphans or crap like that afterwards, and the guy he did the violence to - who totally survived that violence - would be hiding in the wings so he could suddenly jump out and clock him one. Because that's how you do some violence, goddammit.

My point is these men are good at doing the violence, and violence by its nature is ugly and chaotic. We thank them for their service. It seems unpleasant, sure. It has to be done. You can't rise and sleep under the blanket of the very freedom they provide and then question the way they provide it, okay?

We're not rough men. We shouldn't judge. Not even when the violence actually seems profoundly wicked and pointless:

"When the fighting is over in Fallujah, I will sell everything I have, even my home," said a resistance fighter who gave his name as Abu Taif Mashhadani. He wept as he recalled his 8-year-old daughter, who he said was killed by a U.S. sniper in Fallujah a week ago. "I will send my brothers north to kill the Kurds, and I will go to America and target the civilians. Only the civilians. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. And the one who started it will be the one to be blamed."

That's from a Washington Post article a few years back, and I admit, it does kind of make the violence seem like something that might actually come back on us. Like maybe we won't be sleeping safely because of it. But the guy might have been a terrorist, right? You can't trust him.

"But the worst form of attack was the US snipers hiding on rooftops who kill hundreds of civilians as they tried to move about the city."

That was from an Australian aid worker quoted here. And there are others from this source:

The incident occurred as a US convoy hit an Improvised Explosive Device, then opened fire on what the witness statements describe as a man in black fleeing the roadway near the site of the Improvised Explosive Device. A child in white was shot and killed. The age of the child is redacted throughout the report.

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