Happy Holiday Bargain Day!

  black friday

'Ah goddamn, how many more days of this?'On this Holy Day of going to the Big Box stores and outlet malls to use up whatever’s left of the American Consumer’s shrinking credit line, as a permanent jobless/starving class approaches one-fourth of the entire population and constant economic fear is the standard emotion for all but the richest 5%, what are Washington’s concerns? Preserving very low tax rates for the very richest Americans, spending hundreds of billions losing wars against nobody in places like Afghanistan, and the institutionalized harassment of people who can still afford tickets on the nation’s commercial airlines. Did you give enough thanks for all this, yesterday?

The Edward Gibbon of the Future will be as puzzled by the Collapse of America as the historians of the 18th Century looking back on Ancient Rome. (Ha ha, maybe we are the Edward Gibbon of the Future, which is about as sad a commentary as anyone really needs about the Early 21st American Century.) How did a nation of such wealth and power and influence crumble so quickly? Was the whole American Era really just a blip on the timeline that we’ve somehow mistaken for something bigger, something more important?

In terms of military might and influence, the only true winning streak goes from the Second World War until Vietnam, a span of just two decades — and that’s ignoring the Korean stalemate. Outspending the Soviet Union on defense gave Washington an undeclared victory in the undeclared Cold War and a couple of novelty wars just to show we could still beat up any brown people who looked at us wrong, but thirty years later the United States is in a position that’s looking a lot like Moscow in the mid-1980s: fighting endless foreign wars of occupation it can’t afford as things rapidly fall apart at home.

Technologically speaking, there’s still nothing on Earth to compete with Silicon Valley. But Apple and its peers are primarily Asian engineers creating products that are manufactured in Asia. We are not being very original or clever by saying the coming wave of technology and manufacturing companies won’t need a street address in Cupertino or Palo Alto.

In human terms, the United States peaked with the hard fought Civil Rights era, nearly a half century ago. The rest of the rich world long ago left us behind in recognizing the equality of races, genders and sexual orientation — and here in 2010, we’ve just sent a bunch of yokels to Washington who would very much like to wind back the clock to the pre-civil rights era.

 
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Our art is shit and our literature is empty, and both are ignored by all but a rapidly vanishing, self-conscious culture class. Other than a few marquee buildings thrown up in Los Angeles or New York to great fanfare from an overcompensating press, our buildings are repulsive — a mass architecture of cheap vulgarity and dinky imitation. The roads crumbling, the sewers backing up in the streets, the public schools starved of money and even the airports with their $200,000 backscatter x-ray machines are decaying and disgusting with their broken luggage conveyors and stinking toilets — this is a fading country dedicated to nothing more than building walls against invaders who don’t even want to invade. Why bother with invasion when you can cripple the most powerful military in the world with a printer cartridge shipped from Yemen or wherever?

Anyway, we were going to quote something from this Roger Cohen column in the New York Times but apparently got carried away. And now it’s time to go do something else. [New York Times]

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About the author

A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

View all articles by Ken Layne

Hola wonkerados.

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129 comments

  1. fundamentallybroken

    And here I am, stuck at work the day after Thanksgiving. May as well go cut my wrists now. Thanks Ken! (and remember, down the highway, not across the road!)

  2. SeveredHead.

    Got about halfway through and started thinking about that episode of "How I Met Your Mother," last night. Man, that was funny.

  3. OkieDokieDog

    My "Black Friday" shopping consisted of spending $2.00 on a lottery ticket (just doing my part to edjikate the lil chiluns!) And I only stopped and bought it because I had to make a run to the post office.

    1. Winnie_Cooper

      Funny, I bought a $1 Powerball ticket yesterday because the bus was late. Hooray for the tax on people who are bad at math.

  4. slappypaddy

    no. sorry. the winning streak goes from the battle of midway in june of 1942 to the battle of unsan in november of 1950. that was it, short and sweet.

    and we didn't win the battle of unsan. that was the beginning of a very long end.

    happy bargain day to you, too.

    1. mrbubb

      The Russians beat the Germans without any help from us really, so when you think about it, America in its entire history has had two assists, one draw, one victory over a totally overmatched race of yellow people, and one defeat at the hands of a totally overmatched race of yellow people.

      In short, we've always sucked. Good riddance, USA.

      1. V572625694

        Oh no, you're not allowed to say that the greatest battle in all of human history was fought between the Germans and the Russians and that the Russians won in a great triumph for freedom, because that's too complicated. History is simple. U!S!A! U!S!A!

      2. the_onceler

        eh, I doubt the Soviets would have been able to do it without unforced errors by the Germans and a lot of weapons from the Americans.

  5. edgydrifter

    And the cold florescent lights glimmer so merrily upon the gray fabric walls of my cubicle. Fuck us, one and all.

      1. Swampgas_Man

        Hey, at least you two HAVE a cubicle. I've resigned myself to more or less permanent unemployment, sponging off the government and my family and growing ever fatter sitting in front of this computer.

    1. kenlayisalive

      Much like when we invaded a country full of oil only to watch gas prices rise, we're now occupying a country full of heroin, and I haven't seen a drop of it.

      For shame America, I know I can't stop you from going around the world and killing people in my name, so can't you at least bring me home a trinket?

  6. user-of-owls

    Novelty wars?! If it wasn't for Bush the Elder, Ken, you'd be working in a New Jewel Movement gulag right now. Lose the pre-10/25 mindset!

  7. weejee

    Ken, you must be one of those godless libtards and glossed-over that the atheist Edward Gibbons hated the religions, and that is why Gibbons missed the point that the average Romans were agnostics at best, or witches at worst, and really didn't give a fig about Constantine's new pal the sweet baby Jebus! The invading Huns gave Thor and all their due, so they kicked ass. The Decline and Fallz was all about the godless Romans following Nero and Caligula into the orgies instead of setting-up PedoBear Santas at their marble malls.

    Xtine OD tried to 'splain this to the Delawears while wearing her New Jersey, but they would not listen. Since 'Murica has embraced races, gheys, metal, and hip-hop but spurned God and Nascar, it is ordained by the holies that 'Murica is going down the intertubes.

    It is so simple, to be saved we must re-embrace the faith of our fathers and nuke the Koreans, and Saudis, and browns in general, and tap-out our credit that isn't already tapped-out for the glory of God and Macy's. Amen, also, too.

  8. hooray4anything

    Couldn't you say our rise all started with the Spanish American war when we took a whole bunch of land from furriners and became some sort of world power? And around the same time we became a heavily industrialized nation which brought forth our trademark form of Capitalism by an Oligarchy and long-standing tradition of crushing the under class by union busting and the eventual breaking of one of our few progressive Presidents? Then we had the smarts to only join WWI towards the end so we came out ahead there and then had the smarts to only join in WWII after Europe and Asia were decimated so we came out ahead there too. Vietnam was a downer but it gave us some great music and movies and the 70's gave us disco and punk so you could probably say the Great Downfall all began with the election of St. Ronnie. Which is what our future Gibbons will probably say.

    1. Jukesgrrl

      Oh, let's not start with the charge of the Rough Riders on San Juan Hill. Let's go all the way back to the "acquisition" of the Welfare State of Alaska in 1867.

      And P.S., Sonny. I was around all through the 1970s and good music be damned, it still managed to feel like a downer.

      1. PuckStopsHere

        I was around through the 1970s, too and four fingers of pot–FOUR FINGERS!–was 30 bucks. And that is all I have to say about that.

      2. LetUsBray

        Yeah, but three things since have managed to make the '70s look damn good: The '80s, the '90s, and the '00s.

        1. hooray4anything

          I actually liked the 90's but that could possibly be because we had a Democrat in the White House. Also because I was much younger and drank heavily.

    1. Ken Layne

      Don't worry about me, worry about everything else! (Or actually, don't worry at all. Type something on a blog and wash your hands of it. That's what I do!)

      1. vulpes82

        Actually, I do worry about just about everything, but I'm also a stupid Pollyanna who think America can and will one day be great again. In other words: I'm crazy.

      2. user-of-owls

        Sure, fine. There's a whole lot of bad juju and it's really not difficult to find more of it. But there are some of us (ok, there's me) that come here to escape the fact that we're (ok, I'm) trying hard to crawl out of the bottle and get one more day or hour past a seven year vicodin jag. And yes, making smartass cracks about some of the astonishing nastiness of our environs is part of that. But getting pummeled with an ice axe between the eyes…again and again and again…well that gets a bit wearying after awhile.
        It's presumptuous and foolish for us (ok, me) to lay claim to Wonkette's tenor, but we've (ok, I've) always felt free to vent when that tenor rubs our spleen the wrong way.

        1. DoktorZoom

          ha-ha, I am reminded of the time that the tenor and two altos rubbed MY…well, not really my spleen, exactly, but it was indeed quite amusing. If only we could have gotten one particular soprano to join in…

        2. Mindblank

          The thing is, Ken has been predictably deressing for some time, now: bitter snark without much humor. I think he feels free to do so because Wonkette has so many writers. He now writes only the Andy Rooney section.

        3. Herring_Burnit

          Is *this* what you meant, Owls?

          I feel a bit like a poseur, since I've never really had problems with prescription meds, which are truly awful (so I understand) when you try to get off them.

          1. user-of-owls

            Yeah, this was some of it, but no where near as bad as some stuff a bit later, would have been somewhere in the late March (when Mrs Owls moved out) and May, June?
            Dewey, when did I first catch you…remember, when you had a dead post comment on the Ativan?

          2. Herring_Burnit

            Wow. OK, I'll quit complaining, then. At least I still have my various partners AND no substance addiction, other than my inability to control my intake of booze.

            I want to thank you very much for the lifeline you and ntD threw me today. Thank you for the help and the rescue.

          3. user-of-owls

            No, no, please don't think I'm trying to 'one up' you! Demons are demons, regardless of what source they take. Dewey, as ever, hits it right on the head when he talks about good vs. bad drinking. It's one of the things that continues to eat me up, this powerful (and not attractive or healthy) envy of people who can control their drinking in a way that I simply cannot. I adore good food and humility aside, am one helluva cook. The fact that I can't pair delicious food with its natural partner, wine, infuriates me in ways hard to describe. But guess what? That's the tradeoff to having a wife, a family, friends, a job, a life. When I can force myself to look at it that way, the choice is a simple one.

            I'll try to see if I can track down some of the early conversations Dewey and I were having, because you might like to see how we were holding each other up during perilous times. Just like we want to do for you now. So don't feel like you have to walk alone. Want to hear something a bit funny and also very telling? My psychotherapist 'knows' Dewey and his therapist (and possibly wife? Correct me here, Dew) 'knows' Owls. So there's a web of people who care for you and are pulling for you, here and in the real world. Don't forget that, ok? Take care and we'll keep talking. Please keep us up to date. We lurkers need to stick together. ;)

          4. Herring_Burnit

            Dear friend, I don't think that, I'm just ashamed to be such a whiner. And, yes, the way into my life that the Demon took this time around was precisely that, of a good cook who loves to marry good food with wine. All my life, I was arrogant in the assurance that I would NEVER become an addict because, you know, us thinking folks, we're too smart for that shit, right? Read more Freud, more Jung, more ah fuckit, none of that stuff worked in the end.

            I felt like Julia Child, sometimes, deglazing a pan with something drinkable and then, why not, a sip never hurt, did it? Till the chicken goes flying across the room because one is too plastered to get a grip, so to speak, or one sets the brandy in the pan on fire, as I did spectacularly, recently, only barely missing burning the house down. That's why I have to quit. It's become life-threatening. When you cook a gourmet meal but can't remember whether you put in all the ingredients a day later, or, worse yet, can't remember cooking it at all!

            And I was so proud of having avoided the post-surgical painkiller trap! No drugs for this little bunny! Just another bottle of wine, and another, and yet another. I haven't touched the stuff all day but keep being besieged by images and scents. I don't keep much alcohol in the house at all, simply to avoid the temptation. And I don't drink anything except white wine, my deal with the devil. Enough about me, I'll go look for your saga now.

          5. user-of-owls

            You see? Can you see how much people here really, genuinely care for each other? And now, you're here among friends and we will care for you too. Take heart, Herring, we'll all get through this. I promise.

          6. Herring_Burnit

            Yes, and I am humbled. I came to you both almost casually, in that I felt I had nowhere to turn but to my online friend, and now you reach out your hand to me too, and I don't even know what to think or say except it's not so … doomed and despairfull when one is holding on to a pair of hands.

            And there are so many more. How have I deserved this?

            Suddenly it all looks possible.

          7. user-of-owls

            Oh christ, now I'm bawling all over again. Thanks for finding that amigo. In its terrifying way, it's reassuring. Halloween was three months. Looking at that, it seems an eternity. Bless you. Give Susie a hug. Tell her it's from a kind old Owl.

          8. Herring_Burnit

            Well, I just talked to my only sister (I know, I say that as if other people might have a few dozen lying around to spare).She has been diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer. Surgery is scheduled for later this month.I'm sure at some point I will see the light, but right now, I'm just beaten. My Dad died last year, just around this time, and my mother a year or two before that. I'm fresh out of coping strategies, although I do think I'm actually too depressed to drink right now (this did not stop me from drinking earlier today, but to my great surprise I limited it to a single serving of sake).I'm not asking for any kind of help right now. I have the kind of crazy that requires medication, and I was trying to taper off, but that seems like a lost cause now. The only good thing about it is, the crazymeds make me very sick if I drink, so chances are, I'll stick with crazymeds instead.You can always reach me at the political cat, one word, at G mail you know the routine. I'm not feeling very sociable right now. So I shall return to reading about World War II and all those other deaths instead. Cheerful little fuck, ain't I? It's OK. I'll take happy pills before bedtime. Should be close to normal by morning.And yes, I have been reading the Big Book, it has been immensely helpful.Thanks for all.

          9. not that Dewey

            7/3/2011 NEVAR FORGET

            It was only a dead post because it was about Mitt Romney. In fact, I remember remarking at the time that if I hadn't been the 384th commenter on a holiday weekend post about Mitt Romney, I probably wouldn't have said anything at all.

            Non-prescription meds can be a real bear, too. I've been addicted to something, sometimes several things, on and off since I was about 16. Although I've managed to quit quite a few addictive substances, somehow the addiction still remains. In fact, I've still got that pesky Nicotine to worry about, but not yet. In due time.

          10. user-of-owls

            Oh honey, you remembered! That really was rather miraculous timing. And you too wif' da smokes? Like you said, it's got to go, but not right now. And with that, I guess I'll go off in search of that mythical post which you rather artlessly failed to provide a link for. You monster.

          11. not that Dewey

            Like an out-of-body (out-of-avatar?) experience. Like it happened to somebody else, and then Ken blogged about it.

            Speaking of which, how do you suppose Ken feels about all this? Here's a guy who built up this successful Poop-Blog out of the jetsam of the Gawker Media Empire, and we come along and turn it into a group home.

            I just linked another one up above to Pristine, the one where "Kid Zoom" entered the story…

    2. nappyduggs

      Right? I was just fixing to call some hotline to check on how to properly phrase my comment so as not to upset the j-u-m-p-e-r.

    3. sezme

      Not to be suckupish, but this is kind of patented Ken Layne screed is my favourite sort writing here. It may help that I live in Canada and so don't have to suffer quite as directly, though my stateside family does. But I think the main reason I love it so much is that it proves that someone –someone– takes this shit seriously and sees it for what it is.

      Being flippant and 'snarky' all day is entertaining, but there is rot at the root, and 90% of the punditry is too scared or shortsighted to put it all out there. Personally I don't see any way out of this morass apart from seeing the country like the junkie it is, hit rock-bottom first.

      1. user-of-owls

        I don't disagree that a periodic screed is a wonderful thing to behold. But I must take issue with at least two things: 1) If Wonkette is part of the "punditry," then I've been misreading it for about five years or so; and 2) Flippant and snarky "all day" is hardly the problem, I would argue. No one is (ok, I am not) calling for LolCatzEtte, but there's no shortage of non-stop earnest angst und dread to be found. Remember ye not where we first donned the War Blog moniker?

    1. hooray4anything

      And somewhere out there a smiling Maureen Dowd realizes that she doesn't have to spend any time thinking about what her next column will be about.

  9. SmutBoffin

    …our literature is empty…

    Are you saying you don't like internet fanfiction about the incestuous relationships of video game characters?

    1. KathrynSane

      Don't forget internet fanfiction about the homosexual relationships of members of the American government.

  10. Golfing_OJ

    Has anyone else thought about buying a gun for a shit-hits-the-fan scenario? Bersa with a Winchester mag is where I'm leaning.
    I mean, no, a nuke on Wall Street or at the Capitol building wouldn't necessarily effect anything. Or if Obama were shot, or Ebola were to outbreak. Mostly we'd just laugh it off. As a slick New England businessman with a gregarious nature, I've always wanted an excuse to bond with those guys in Kentucky who don't read anything and think Palin would be a great president. I'd help them shoot dogs, and we could talk about the Bible.
    Fuck, now I'm actually looking forward to it. Ha ha!

    1. Rotundo_

      Canned and freeze-dried food, 12 gauge shotgun for up-close and personal defense, and a .22 with many, many rounds for small game and annoyance duties. Neilist will probably have some additional insights, but the old classics are classics for a reason. Then you'll be all set for that picnic in purgatory. As for a vacation in Kentucky after the fact, I don't think you'd like the kind of bonding they will be looking for.

  11. chascates

    Nothing that electing real 'Muricans and lowering taxes can't solve!

    Here's to American Exceptionalism! Jesus died for Black Friday shoppers.

    1. Negropolis

      Yes, yes he did. All of them, Katie. Every single last one of those morbidly obese, DWTS-watching bastards.

      The Lord is my corporate employer, I shall not want.
      He maketh me lie down in pollution-ladden brownfields;
      He leadeth me beside bubbling cesspools.
      He restoreth my Big Gulp tenfold until it overfloweth;
      He leadeth me in the path of unscrupulouness for his name's sake.
      Yea, though I walk through the porn-filled Valley of San Fernado;
      I shall fear no evil;
      For thou art with me; – thy gun and thy taser, they comfort me…"

    2. natoslug

      I was a bad American — my only Black Friday purchase was on an Italian website, from home. I missed the beauty of the annual hauling of the asses in-store, the majestic squabbling for the last of whatevers and the tears of the losers in the struggle to find that One True Bargain. Some day, those of us who skipped Black Friday Mecca will look back on what we missed and cry. Like the proud bison, thundering across the plains, the Black Friday Hoveround herd will someday be only a memory. Sniff!

  12. dr_giraud

    Heh heh, architecture.

    Here in the Capitol of the Empire State, the mayor pretended for 15 years that a an old hotel and 2 adjacent buildings (just steps from the NYS Capitol) weren't abandoned. Then the cornice started to fall off the top of the hotel: Oh noes! "Harumph harumph," sayeth the mayor; now those buildings have been demo'd to the facades and await "redevelopment" (ha ha, never).

    At least the hotel was built well and lasted 100 years. One block down the hill, the facade is cracked and falling off NYS Comptroller's building, built just 10 years ago, so scaffolding has been installed around it on all sides to catch the pieces until the problem can be fixed (ha ha, never). Oh, and the most recent comptroller just copped to a felony, and waits to get his jail ticket punched.

    At least the scaffolding will protect the state workers who are about to be fired/downsized/furloughed by either Blind Lemon Paterson or Cuomo the Younger, whoever gets 'round to it first.

    1. One_Man_Band

      It is interesting to me how at some point architects abandoned all pretense of making buildings that were aesthetically pleasing in any way.

      I remember when I traveled to Barcelona a couple years ago, in the pre-porno/grope era, and marveled at Gaudi's buildings. What a different world we'd have if that had become the standard.

    1. hooray4anything

      I eagerly await Tom Friedman's big column on how China and India are ahead of us in jet pack technology

    2. Negropolis

      "American's Next SuperPower" has a nice ring, to it; and better you, you can do it American Idol style. Maybe, we can even get Ryan Seacrest to host and Simon Cowell to judge. I say we let Britian take another crack at running the place, and see how it works out as a test case.

      China, you too ammoral, and India, you too crazy and unstable. To the back of the SuperPower bus with all of you.

      1. hooray4anything

        Good idea, but we'd have to open it up to the rest of the world because then the fate of the world would have rely on the American voters and we all know how well that's been going of late. Plus, considering Bristol Palin almost won Dancing With the Not Really Stars and the abilities of American Idol winners, Albania would probably make a run of it for being spunky or something.

  13. sati_demise

    yea, well fuck, Chalmers Johnson died this month. I think he possessed your body for a moment there, Mr. Ken Layne.
    Watch out!

  14. KathrynSane

    Mmm, nothing like some good old post-holiday misery to go with my already-existing post-holiday misery. Except for maybe pre-Christmas misery, which is just on the horizon.

    God (i.e. Alcohol) bless us (i.e. render us completely incapacitated), every one.

    1. Negropolis

      May the good lord (i.e. the cashier at the corner liquor store) rain down his sweet mercies (i.e. liquor) from heaven (i.e. the actual liquor store, duh.). Also.

  15. ANTHONYPERONE

    Brilliant summary. We are tracking the Roman Empire's demise stage-by-stage. It all goes crappy internally, before you eventually lose out to the Eastern Goths.
    "All this has come to pass because good men did nothing." (Egypt)

  16. kenlayisalive

    Well, those awful, evil, blood-thirsty, Russian tyrants let a 600 year old empire go to pieces with surprisingly little blood shed and violence (Chechnya of course a big big exception to that).

    Something makes me doubt we'll be able to show the same sort of grace over the next few decades.

    1. transfatz

      The skids of today are scheduled to be the good old times of tomorrow. You're right, I don't think Americans are ready for that.

    2. Negropolis

      Are we talking about the same Russia? The Russia I know distigrated pretty violently over a very long period of time (the formal dissolution was just that, a foregone conclusion kabuki), and was reduced to nearly developing nation status.

      That's not to say the Soviet Union was better as an empire, but rather that if you're going to use a former empire doing well after it's disintegration, Russia is probably not the best example, to put it lightly.

      1. kenlayisalive

        I think we are.

        When was the major violence? As far as I know (and apart form the ethnic violence in Armenia and Azerbaijan, which I wouldn't consideran attempt by Moscow to assert itself), there were some isolated incidents of bloodshed, but nothing major in the sense of, say, what happened when the Western European empires faced declarations of independence (Vietnam, Algeria, Angola, Ireland).

        Compare it even to the horrors of Yugoslavia, a country which didn't exist for 70 years compared to the 600 of the Russian Empire.

        I don't know my history perfectly (or even that well), but I think that actually the way the Soviets reorganized the relationship between the Republics in the 1920's allowed for a comparatively painless dissolution. I think they deserve credit for that. I doubt the Czar would have let it go so painlessly.

        I wouldn't say they did well after the break up (what with the invasion of LArry summers, et al) – I'm just saying it happened without too much violence (save Chechnya, which was most certainly a terrible, bloody, conflict).

  17. kenlayisalive

    I, for one, am looking forward to the Wikileaks release.

    At the very least, it will give the new Edward Gibbon something to work with.

  18. Jukesgrrl

    I'm intrigued with the notion that we're "looking a lot like Moscow in the mid-1980s." So twenty years from now, we'll be ruled by an Oz-behind-the-curtain who collects pet tigers and likes to show the nation his bare chest and our capital will be run by the nastiest Mafia on earth, who were all trained at Blackwater-Goldman-Sachs? Yeah, I can see we're well on our way to that future.

      1. Oblios_Cap

        Here in the Sunshine State, we are much closer to realizing the Utopia envisioned by Jukes than the rest of you losers!

  19. DahBoner

    Here we have sort of a socialistic, we-give-a-damn Marketwatch.

    And other there are the people who think THE WORLD IS TOO PERFECT.

    And we should STOP TRYING TO DO ANYTHING MORE and keep gum'mint small.

    In fact, most of 'em think the WORLD IS TOO PERFECT and we should go BACKWARDS by cutting gum'mint.

    Hmm….

  20. donner_froh

    Looks like I missed the announcement for this year of the minimum wage temporary security guard stomped to death at Wal-Mart when he fell beneath the hooves of the herd on their way to buy cheap junk more cheaply.

    So who got overrun and killed this year?

    1. Grief_Lessons

      I know, I'm waiting for it too. As Ken points out, our wars on the browns is not turning out so well, but at least the war on the working poor is still going according to script.

    2. Negropolis

      "So who got overrun and killed this year?"

      Only our dignity, so far; only our dignity. After that death, the Big Boxes actually did end up implementing measures to prevent it, such as l staying open 24 hours, permitting shoppers to line at at different entrances instead of corraling them into one pin, and spacing popular items further apart inside the store to prevent congestition among other measures.

      I shit you not, this was part of their (Walmart's) settlement after that dude was trampled in 2008, and a lot of other stores followed suit.

  21. One_Man_Band

    Yeah, I avoided the crowds and the decline by huddling inside by the pixel light. My only purchase today was a present for my parents, bought online: a ye olde fash'iond PAPER copy of Mark Twain's autobiography. I figured the oldz to whom I am related would enjoy some work written back when our nation produced writers who had a pair.

  22. PuckStopsHere

    I'm still pissed off that footballers were insulted in this space yesterday as tight polyester-wearing anus scratchers. I let a lot go around here (Neilist) but when it comes to insulting the most 'Merkin of all possible pursuits, well, up with this I will not put. Then again, I may just be mad at myself for not standing in line in the cold rain from 5pm last night until 5am this morning to save $100 on a 32" flat screen at Wall-Mart and am taking it out on you because of it. Hard to say, really.

  23. Chet Kincaid

    "The rest of the rich world long ago left us behind in recognizing the equality of races, genders and sexual orientation…"

    Not buying it. Europe gives lip service to racial equality as long as there isn't a critical mass of browns resident in a given country. When that mass is reached, they start getting just as ignorant as Real US Americans–while throwing the "we're indigenous here, not you!" card.

    1. V572625694

      Try becoming a citizen of Italy if you don't have Italian "blood." Germans "repatriate" people who never lived in Germany and don't speak German because they have "German blood." Listen to Italians say, "Nobody was hurt in the accident, just some Gypsies." Or watch othewise-rational Italians explode with rage about Muslim immigrants demanding that Sweet-Bleeding-Jeebus crucifixes not be displayed in public school classrooms.You can love Italy for a million reasons but absence of racism isn't one of them.

    2. Negropolis

      Speak on it.

      The French are really vying for the "ignorant, racist tea bag" award of the decade, right up there with the Swiss who had the gall to ban minarets on mosques.

      1. Chet Kincaid

        Although, we watched "Law & Order: UK" on BBC America for the first time tonight. Black folks all throughout, including the judge, which surprised me. And the judge was hilarious too, because you know those white wigs they wear in British court? His was nappy!

    3. Plowmon

      Damn straight, ask some Frenchies what they really thing about the Algerians or Germans, Swedes, ANY northern Euros the same about their Turks, etc…

      1. Negropolis

        And, don't get the Brits talking about the Serbs and Eastern Europeans. You'll never hear the end of it. They turn into complete full-tilt "they are talkin' all our jobz" tea baggers.

  24. mrbubb

    Oh and furthermore, pace his most excellent freeing of the slaves, we should go chisel Abe's face off of Rushmore. Hanging on to those fucking inbred, jingoistic, hypocritical-bible-spouting-while-lynching-people-for-gods-sake, cornpone assholes was the biggest mistake any president has ever made. We should have gone down there, taken their slaves away, and let them become white Haiti. Fuck them for all time.

  25. mrbubb

    Finally, a little surfing around reveals Ken to have what have to be the cutest kids in the universe. Tell Sasha and Malia to call in about 15 years. Ken, you do indeed have a lot to worry about. Good luck.

  26. vulpes82

    BTW, just to be a history nerd, the Roman Empire took about four hundred years to fall (or over a thousand, depending on your view of the Byzantine Empire), so, everyone, strap in! We've got a few more centuries to stumbling along left in us!

  27. doxastic

    I actually heard a news anchor chirp that since most growth comes from consumer spending, it was practically our duty as Americans to go out and shop today. I did a lot of yelling at the TV today…

  28. slowhansolo

    The republic's honor endured for centuries, but once broken, much more easily again. And again, and again. It can now serve only as a degenerate platform eager for exploitation by a succession of disparate interests, kind of like my ex.

  29. Mort_Sinclair

    Geez, the white "fur" on that Santa's uni looks like mold. And I think he might have sold his rib cage for that last pack of cigarettes. HFS. I'm going to go slit my throat now.

  30. johnnyzhivago

    Preserving very low tax rates for the very richest Americans, spending hundreds of billions losing wars against nobody in places like Afghanistan, and the institutionalized harassment of people who can still afford tickets on the nation’s commercial airlines.

    Not to mention traffic stop slavery!

  31. finallyhappy

    We had no scanner or patdowns going from Baltimore to FT. Lauderdale or back. On Friday, I bought nothing besides pricey meals and some gelato in South Beach.

    For all that was written above- I am still thankful for the US- that my grandparents left Russia and Poland and Austria- or they and my parents would have been murdered (pograms, the Russian Army, the Nazis,or all the locals who hated us Christ killers).

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