Category Archives: Politics

Wrestler Kane, aka Glenn Jacobs, Wins Mayoral Bid for Knox County, Tennessee

While we don’t regularly cover wrestling, we do have a political bent, so we bring the news that the Big Red Machine is heading to the Mayor’s office. Glenn Jacobs, who is better known as the WWE wrestler Kane, won his bid for Mayor of Knox County, Tennessee.

Jacobs beat his opponent by a wide margin garnering 51,804 versus the Democratic nominee Linda Haney’s 26,224. Jacobs won the Republican primary by just 23 votes over fellow Republican Brad Anders.

Knox County is the home to Knoxville and the third-most populous count in Tennessee.

Jacobs originally wanted to play pro footbally but a knee injury ended those dreams. Instead, he focused on wrestling and spent years in local promotions before joining the WWE in 1995. He debuted “Kane” two years later.

Jacob’s new position isn’t a strange turn for a wrestler. Jesse Ventura was elected governor of Minnesota on the third-party Reform Party ticket in 1998 and served as mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota from 1991 to 1995. B. Brian Blair was elected Couty Commissioner in 2004 for Hillsborough, Florida. Rick Steiner won for school board for the Cherokee County School District in 2006. Ludvig Borga spent seven years on the Finnish Parliament. The recently deceased Nikolai Volkoff ran in 2006 for Maryland State Delegate but was unsuccessful. Jerry “The King” Lawler ran for Mayor of Mepmphis and garnered 11.7% of the votes coming in third. Bob Backlund ran for Congress in Connecticut in 2000 as a Republican and lost. Linda McMahon, the CEO of the WWE ran for U.S. Senator in Connectict losing with 43% of the vote. She’s currently a member of the Trump Administration heading the Small Bussiness Administration. Antonio Inoki was an extremely successful politician whose career began while he still competed in the ring. He was elected to the Japanese House of Councillors in 1989 and even led a one-man mission to Iraq in 1990 to negotiate the release of Japanese hostages with Saddam Hussein.

X-Men: Days of Future Past and Iron Man 3’s Bingbing Fan’s Silence Worries Fans

Actress Bingbing Fan is one of the world’s highest paid actors and fans are worried about her as she hasn’t been seen in public since July 1 and generally gone silent on social media. The prolific user hasn’t been active on her account since July 23rd when she “liked” a number of posts.

In May, Fan was accused of tax evasion but she has denied any wrongdoing. The accusation includes signing secreat contracts known as “Yin-Yang” contracts. This allowed her to avoid paying taxes. Yin means dark and yang means light, so one contract is public and the other is not. Fan’s team called the accusation defamation and the reporter later apologized.

What is also concerning is censorship by the Chinese government concerning her. In June, Chinese authorities issued guidelines calling on state media to not report on these contracts or tax issues concerning the entertainment industry.

In late July, it was reported by independent Chinese newspaper The Economic Observer that police in Jiangsu province were examining Fan’s financial case, and some of her staff were also under police investiaction. It was reported that Fan, and her brother, were barred from leaving the country. After publication, that report was taken offline.

Posts about Fan’s whereabouts were also censored from social media. Comments expressing support and concern by supporters and fans have been deleted.

The Chinese government routinely censors the internet blocking sites and keywords that “threaten” the “public order.”

Fan was Wu Jiaqi in the Chinese version of Iron Man 3 and played Blink in X-Men: Days of Future Past among her 53 credits.

ABC Cancels Roseanne After Racist Tweet

After delivering a season that made it the number one scripted show on television and getting a season renewal, ABC has cancelled Roseanne after a racist Tweet from star Roseanne Barr.

In the Tweet, Roseanne said that former President Obama staffer Valerie Jarrett was not only a member of the Muslim Brotherhood but also called her an “ape,” a common racist term for Black individuals.

Roseanne apologized and said she was deleting her Twitter account but it was still live as of this report. She did delete the Tweet about Jarrett.

Barr was condemned by Sara Gilbert who returned to the show along with the original cast and Wanda Sykes, a producer on the show, quit. Beyond Sykes, it’s unknown if any other cast members or staff quit or threatened to.

Roseanne has embraced alt-right/Trump politics in recent years and has run for President. She regularly Tweets conspiracy theories and very questionable statements. The Roseanne revival embraced the right-wing turn with the Conners revealed to be Trump supporters. The show’s return often dove into questionable statements and stories skirting the line in taste with many socio-political topics. The original, while dealing with similar topics, was not as overtly political in who the Conners supported and focused on the day to day of their living in white collar America.

Channing Dungey, president, ABC Entertainment said in a statement:

Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.

While ABC had no issue with Roseanne‘s dealing with hot button political issues while the channel also reportedly refused to air an episode of Black-ish where kneeling in protest was discussed.

Pia Guerra returns to comics with Me The People

Image Comics has announced Me the People: a special, politically-charged hardcover by bestselling New Yorker cartoonist and Y: The Last Man artist/co-creator Pia Guerra.

Me the People offers up a collection of Guerra’s most recent editorial cartoons, just in time for the 2018 midterm elections.

Covering a wide array of topics—from the Trump administration’s unprecedented attacks on democracy and the GOP’s enabling of chaos to the fight against gun violence and corruption—Guerra’s widely shared cartoons are direct and to the point.

Me the People (ISBN: 978-1-5343-1022-3) hits comic shops on Wednesday, October 3rd and bookstores on Tuesday, October 9th.

Mike Norton’s Lil’ Donnie Gets Collected in August. It’ll Be ‘uge

Image Comics is winning again with the announcement of the forthcoming Rueben Award-nominated webcomic by Mike Norton (he’s a great guy)—Lil’ Donnie—to be collected into a hardcover edition and available this August.

Believe us, you’re going to love the Lil’ Donnie, Vol. 1: Executive Privilege hardcover which collects the first 125 LIL’ DONNIE comic strips (winning!). This collection follows the timely and terrifying adventures of Lil’ Donnie, the worst president in the history of the United States of America. The incredible men and women who buy this collection will enjoy the first year of antics of a truly motley crew of weirdos and degenerates as they work (HA!) to make our world a better place… for them!

So, let’s spend a lot of money on Lil’ Donnie, Vol. 1: Executive Privilege (Diamond Code JUN180066, ISBN: 978-1-5343-0977-7) which hits comic book stores on Wednesday, August 22nd and bookstores on Tuesday, August 28th. The final order cutoff for comics retailers is Monday, June 18th.

Marvel’s Answer to Cambridge Analytica, Musings on X-Men: Red

I’m a bit late to the party but I must say it is very good to see Jean Grey back in the realm of the living! The character brings this nostalgic warmth that has been missing in the X-Men for some time, and this warmth is reflected by her current mission and approach to mutant-human relations as seen in X-Men: Red.

We’ve seen multiple iterations of anti-mutant sentiment in the X-Universe. We’ve seen it in the form of an ancient bacteria, (John Sublime) hysteria borne from mutagenic viruses (i.e. the Legacy Virus and later Mpox) We’ve even seen it sourced and fueled from a telepathically empowered Nazi. (The Red Skull). The latest iteration of anti-mutant sentiment seems to take a page from the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal. With Jean Grey back among the living, the eminent telepath has set her sights on fixing the ills of the world she’s been away from for so long. This includes a plan hatched from a telepathic survey of the minds of humanitarians, and cultural influencers, as well as the formation of a new X-Men team.

Jean Grey’s resurrection is met with the return of a classic X-Men villain and the discovery of an elaborate social media campaign to stoke the fires of anti-mutant furor. The campaign’s target of individuals with known biases and its use of social media is a clear reference to the Cambridge Analytica operation, which sought to influence those with prejudiced proclivities with targeted advertising and fake news.  This is not the first time Marvel has used its stories to as social commentary on real-world issues. Back in 2009 in the lead up to the Utopia Storyline, Simon Trask advocated for Proposition X a proposal for a policy that would have forced mutants, to undergo mandatory birth control procedures. This mirrored the controversial proposition 8 in California that would have seen the LBGT community denied the right to Marriage.

I always enjoy when this art form uses its narrative to represent or pose solutions to real-world problems of this kind. Not only does this connect the reader to the protagonists, it cements the superhero genre as a medium of productive wish fulfillment. Jean’s Grey mission is very wide in its scope and returns an advocative flourish that has been missing from the X-Men for some time.  Whether her team’s mission succeeds or not, it will definitely provide an opportunity for learning and reflection. What I have always enjoyed about the X-Men franchise, is the flexibility of Mutanthood as a metaphor. The team’s recent recruit Trinary, is a South Asian, mutant, who uses her techno-digital manipulating powers to rectify the gender-based pay inequity in India. The fallout from this protest leads to her joining Jean Grey and her team. Trinary’s powers help to bring awareness of this social media campaign to the fledgling X-Men team and raises some interesting questions on how this current predicament will be fought going forward.

Who wouldn’t want to develop powers, to combat the spread of Banonism that has latched on the ever-present “Fear of the other” in the United States? Or to develop a telepathic insight into how mental laziness, propaganda, and malice feed into systematic violence and disenfranchisement? What is so beautiful about this current run, is how it eloquently uses the mutant metaphor, to ponder or creatively inspire holistic solutions to society’s most chronic ills. Instead of reacting the way we always do,  with offense and subsequent attack. (methods anticipated and desired by those driving such conflict) the story in X-Men Red encourages us to move forward with strength in other matters, using understanding and creativity to tackle or disrupt problems that always recur and takes new forms this is essentially the heart of Jean Grey’s mission and it will be inspiring as well as instructive to see how it pans out.  If you’re a fan of Jean Grey, or just want to see a nuanced and timely story addressing difference, fear, and conflict, this is a title that is definitely worthy of your attention.

New York State Senator Brad Hoylman Says You Should Go Support Free Comic Book Day

Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday, May 5th. Shops all across the world will participate by giving away comics that you can enjoy (and while you’re there please buy something. These “free” comics do cost money).

New York State Senator Brad Hoylman got into the action early by delivering some Spider-Man and Avengers comics to his New York State Senate colleagues in honor of the day. Hoylman represents the district where Marvel Comics’ offices are located. Part of the job is representing your constituents!

You can find out more about the event and find a shop at the Free Comic Book Day website.

Health Care Voter Wants You to (Lightsaber) Rally for the Affordable Care Act

Health Care Voter is an organization who’s working to lift up the voices of millions of Americans who will lose their health care under the Republican health insurance repeal bill.

In honor of May the 4th the organization has been holding a “lightsaber rally” in Washington, DC to “protect our health care from the GOP Empire’s attack.” You can sign their petition on their site to show your support.

As the majority of individuals in the comic book industry are freelancers, access to health care is crucial as many will need to purchase their own and can’t afford expensive premiums. Comic creators are forced to rely on organizations and handouts like the Hero Initiative in later years and can easily fall into financial trouble due to the simplest medical need.

If you support comic creators, you need to support cheap and affordable health care.

Why Are Captain America, Falcon, and Black Widow Helping Assad?

In the lead up to their Marvel Studios releases, Marvel Comics publishes two issue “prelude” comics for upcoming films which are then collected into trade paperbacks with extra related material. Leading up to Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Infinity War Prelude recently saw its trade release. Written by Will Corona Pilgrim, with art by Tigh Walker, color by Chris O’Halloran, and lettering by VC’s Travis Lanham the two issue story recaps Captain America: Civil War and Infinity War, fills in gaps between the films, and also provides details on the Infinity Stones.

Part of the story follows what Steve Rogers, Sam Wilson, and Natasha Romanoff, (aka Captain AmericaFalcon, and Black Widow) have been up to, and what’s presented is a little head scratching.

The scene has the trio breaking up an arms deal in Syria. That arms deal is weapons being sent by the United States government to Syrian rebels who we can only assume are fighting a civil war against the dictator Bashar Hafez al-Assad. Yes, Captain America, Falcon, and Black Widow are protecting Assad from rebels and interfering in an internal conflict.

What’s stranger is that Black Widow refers to these individuals as “terrorists” which is language that takes the side of Assad’s government. Further strange is that Black Widow has gotten her intel from her KGB contacts (and I’ll ignore the use of KGB and not one of the current intelligence agencies that split up in to after the dissolution of the Russian government in the early 90s). That means she received information to take down these “terrorists” from Russian operatives. The Russian government supports Assad and is in a proxy war with the United States with real world engagement. As presented, these superheroes are being willingly manipulated by the Russian government to take down the Syrian opposition (and their US ally) and prop up a dictator.

When you mix in some of Rogers’ issues with the fictional Sokovian Accords it gets stranger. Rogers vocalized concerns to Tony Stark included being used by individuals to meet their agendas, they lose their right to choose what actions they take. So, in this situation either Rogers, Wilson, and Romanoff have chosen this action and/or they’re being used by the Russian government. Either case, it’s a bad choice as they’re propping up a genocidal dictator who has used chemical weapons against his own people.

Through their actions too they’ve not only denied the weapons to this group, they’ve done so in opposition to the United States government an action that would likely come with further sanctions and at least charges.

Will this be addressed in the upcoming film? We have only until late April to see but as is it muddies the politics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Editorial: Pruitt vs. Peck – Who’s Worse?

With EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt‘s scandals all over the headlines and him likely the next member of the Trump Admin to get the signature

it seems like a good time to ask the questions no one else is willing to ask: How bad is Scott Pruitt really at his job?

As the head of the EPA, it’s clear. He’s. . . uhm, how do you say?

Literally, the worst. Go ahead. Name one other truly bad EPA Administrator. Can you? (You must be one of my co-workers if you can.) They all look amazing by comparison. Yes, even Anne Gorsuch. Yes, even Stephen Johnson.

So, to really compare Pruitt to someone, we have to go to the world of fiction. And we look no further than fictional EPA apparatchik and classic 80’s villain Walter Peck from Ghostbusters. 

Let’s run down their CV’s:

scott-pruitt-800x430NAME: Scott Pruitt
JOB: EPA Administrator
HOME: Oklahoma, or sometimes a swanky DC condo owned by a lobbyist that he pays $50/night for.
ENEMIES: Clean air, clean water, a stable climate, science, and kittens, probably.
OTHER: Is a dick.

 

 

william-atherton-as-walter-peck-in-ghostbusters

NAME: Walter Peck (played by William Atherton)
JOB: EPA jerk
HOME: New York City
ENEMIES: Ghostbusters, especially Peter Venkman
OTHER: Has no dick. That’s at least what I heard.

 

Ok, so straight off, Pruitt is in the lead. Because, I mean, he’s not fictional. And Peck, while a jerk, was legitimately trying to do a job protecting the environment. Pruitt seems to think his job is to make it easier for big polluters to make big money. Fox, here’s your job guarding the henhouse.

So next let’s look at one trait they both share: Skepticism.

Both Pruitt and Peck are famous skeptics of scientists who actually know what they’re talking about. But while Peck is skeptical of Drs. Venkman, Spengler, and Stantz for saying they see ghosts, we can somewhat understand that position. I mean, it does seem unscientific to believe in ghosts.

Pruitt’s skepticism is about climate change. He has somewhat famously been pushing to do a “Red Team, Blue Team” “debate” about “climate science” but it has mostly been shut down. Why? Because even the worst of Trump’s cronies know that’s an extraordinarily bad idea to give a stage to the 3% of scientists who don’t believe the climate is changing from greenhouse gas pollution (and who all, coincidentally, take millions in cash from the coal, oil, and gas industries) because they’re essentially crackpot conspiracy theorists. Also, that’s not how science works, bro.

Again, advantage Pruitt.

Next? Biggest bombs.

Walter Peck famously shut off the Ghostbusters’ containment unit, equivalent to “dropping a bomb on the city.” Listen to how he fails to listen to not only the expert opinions of the people who understand the technology the best, but also neutral actors (like the ConEd guy) who says he doesn’t understand any of this and maybe they shouldn’t shut it all down? Instead, he seems to take glee in abusing his power, even telling the cop that he can shoot Venkman. Have a watch:

Pruitt’s bomb he’s dropped is similar, but less spectacular. By shutting off Obama’s landmark Clean Power Plan, which limited greenhouse gases from power plants, and rewriting clean car standards to allow for more pollution (and more automaker profits!), Pruitt has dropped a climate bomb on all of us. But it is one which will more affect our children and their children, even while we deal with the shorter terms consequences of more smog, more asthma attacks, more premature deaths.

On the other hand, blowing up the containment unit brought about the coming of Gozer the Destructor. So. . . advantage Peck on this one. But really only slightly.

How corrupt were they?

Well, Peck doesn’t seem to be corrupt other than he’s a guy on a power trip. Meanwhile, Pruitt seems more like a fictional cartoon supervillain for all his corporate stoogery. Here’s an internet challenge: can you name all of Pruitt’s scandals in 30 seconds?

The Washington Post is saying Pruitt’s excuses for his corruption are “crumbling” and even Fox News is dogpiling on as his lavish travel, 24/7 security detail, sweetheart deals with lobbyists, and general mendacity become more and more impossible to defend.

Some of the highlights of Pruitt’s ineptitude? First, his entire reasoning for needing a 24/7 security detail and to fly first class everywhere? Because, apparently, people who care about the environment are mean to him. In his requests for first class travel, he recounts an incident where someone at the airport baggage claim confronted him and told him, “Hey Scott Pruitt, you’re f—ing up the environment.”

Beyond pointing out that flying first class still means you have to stand at the baggage claim with everyone else, this is just a lame excuse from a fragile snowflake who can’t take criticism for his work. An easier solution? Pruitt could maybe not f— up the environment? And then people wouldn’t be mad at him.

But his security detail and security concerns. Whoa. . . there’s so much to unpack here. So, first, Pruitt had them build a soundproof secure booth in his office. Why would the EPA Administrator need this? Sure, head of the CIA or Secretary of Defense or State. . .  but EPA? Lots of state secrets you can’t share with the public, Scott?

Or– OR– this was just a clever way to be able to skirt freedom of information and oversight laws and make it easier to collude with corporate polluters about what kinds of policies they wanted. I can just see it now. . .

“Administrator Pruitt, your landlord is on the line.”
“Great, is he calling about the leaky faucet?”
“No, he says you’re late on your rent, but mostly he’s calling to talk about his clients’ pipelines and the clean car standards on behalf of the auto industry. He also wants to know if you’re going on the swanky Morocco junket to promote natural gas exports for his clients.”
“I REQUEST A CONE OF SILENCE!”

***AND…. SCENE***

But this security detail. . . they’re just the gift that keeps on giving. Apparently Pruitt made EPA pay for a door to the condo he was renting, because they broke it down while their boss was taking a nap.

Then, when Pruitt was late for a dinner at a fancy restaurant, he asked if they could put the sirens on. Taking a page from Ghostbusters, “Hey, let’s run some red lights!”

The icing on the cake of this story is Pruitt’s security told him they could not turn on the sirens unless there was an emergency. Pruitt then fired his security chief like any toddler throwing a tantrum because they can’t turn on the sirens.

Walter Peck? He did none of these things. A million points to Pruitt, none to Peck.

And finally, how’d they end up? Well, we only assume Pruitt is covered with an oily sheen gotten from bathing in the ill-gotten gains from his friends in the fossil fuel industry. He’s also surrounded by a dense cloud of smoke– but one can’t be sure if that’s from the coal stacks or just ethical problems. Peck, however, made it out at least a little better.

While being covered in liquid Stay Puft goo was described as “feel[ing] so funky” and “like the floor of a taxi cab,” at least marshmallow is yummy, and it’s nothing a shower and a trip to the dry cleaner’s can’t fix. Pruitt wins this round, too.

So, who’s worse? Pruitt, Pruitt, Pruitt.

When you lose so badly to a classic 80’s movie villain, you really need to wonder just how bad of a person you are.

Join us in our next round of these articles where I compare Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to Hedley Lamarr from Blazing Saddles or Mark Zuckerberg to famous James Bond villains.

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