Cokie McGrath

Cokie McGrath

Cokie McGrath is a field reporter and contributor for The Daily Discord. She moderates debates and is the journalist for team Search Truth Quest. Cokie is considered by most of the team as both a menace and dangerously annoying.

Pokey V Zano: Our Culture War for Dummies

Cokie McGrath

I did very little actual moderating for this one, none actually, but I agreed to review a challenging email exchange between Pokey McDooris and Mick Zano. I cleaned it up a bit and took out all the more colorful metaphors, terroristic threats, as well as any and all references to midget porn. You owe me, Zano, big time.

Before we start you also owe me for last weekend’s Brewery ghost shoot. I am ready to kill all of you bozos! Grrrrrr. I am Cokie, hear me roar! ¯Let it Go! ¯ Let it GO! ¯ …now back to our regularly scheduled program. This debate focuses on those recent cases involving encounters between white officers and unarmed black men. I would like to add, it was nice to see Zano discuss a topic that he generally avoids. He has Avoidant Personality Disorder—among other things from the DSM-V.

Pokey: My problems with the recent police brutality news stories have to do with people highlighting scenarios wherein a white man kills a black man. Look, I know racism exists, and I’m sure racial motivations account for some black men’s death at the hands of white police officers. The problem is that President Obama consistently aligns himself with black racists who have time-and-time again pushed forth a narrative that corrupts the truth of what actually occurred. This had real consequences in Ferguson.

Zano: It’s true, twenty seven windows were broken and, had Obama delivered the Ferguson Address, several windows could have been saved that night (innuendo/in your window joke removed by the editor).

Pokey: Obama never acted as a leader during the Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown incidents. He said, “If I had a son he would look like Trayvon,” invoking race into a case that obviously had nothing to do with race. He said, “I understand your frustration” to people who were justifying their mob aggression by showing their “hands up, don’t’ shoot” theme, even after it had been clearly determined that Michael Brown never put his hands up in surrender and never said “don’t shoot.” President Obama also sent his emissary, Reverend Al Sharpton, who has made his living off exploiting ‘black murders by whitish men.’ Where exactly did Reverend Al attend seminary, Our Lady of the Black Panther?

Zano: I understand your frustration. Hah! Sorry. This is a serious subject, but as it turns out I’m a comedian. This is a media issue, it’s just like how Fox News is catching and covering all black on white violence that MSNBC “missed.” Funny how when MSNBC is misbehaving, it’s already Fox’s Modus O’Reiandi. I was not there for Martin or Brown incidents, but the Cleveland video raises an eyebrow and after the Garner video my eyebrows flew off my face and landed in my beer. I was shocked. I wanted to drink that beer.

Pokey: As for the Garner video, obviously the police officer used too much force. On the surface it seems like a case best taken to court, but I didn’t see everything involved. Maybe New York ought to rethink its prosecution of people who sell untaxed cigarettes. New York overtaxes the shit out of cigarettes and then, when a guy finds a better deal for the addicts, the SWAT team arrives. When a man resists arrest, it becomes a life and death situation for the police—I agree, I wish this case would have gone to court—although that didn’t help Trayvon, did it?

Zano: Surprise, surprise you’re using the Rand Paul, nanny state defense (Talking Point Alert). Blame liberal laws for a botched arrest. Taxing harmful products is another debate. The choice of technique used during the arrest is the problem. It’s hard to even see how he resisted arrest from the video. He threw up his hands, he was tackled, and he died. The video is damning. I don’t need to know any more about this particular case. We were all there—just some of us wore filters over their eyes and the frontal lobe regions of their brains.

Pokey: My point remains, this promotes a ‘racist policeman’ narrative. Garner case aside, the reason I give you a hard time about Benghazi, Fort Hood, Trayvon and this “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative in Ferguson, is that each involves politically motivated false narratives pushed by the media and the White House. This is the worst kind of lie. In order to ease the tensions in Ferguson, President Obama could have been a leader and said, “The evidence shows that the police officer in Ferguson acted justly in his handling of this tragedy.” Or in the case of Trayvon Martin, “The evidence shows that there were no racial motives involved with this tragedy.” Those words would have gone a long way to defuse both situations. 

Zano: Shoulda, woulda, coulda. Was all those shots necessary? I don’t know. I don’t think Obama was at the scene either, and he is taking into consideration the cultural trauma when he speaks to black communities. He has a perspective on this that you and I simply don’t. But I guess he’s instantly the Mob organizer-in-Chief since he’s not driving a tank alongside Joe Arpio and routing out those Un-Muricans. I don’t see this grand conspiracy. Benghazi!!!!!!

Pokey: “Hands up, don’t shoot” is being used as a rallying cry for mobs of people to protest, riot, destroy businesses and threaten people. The objective evidence shows clearly that Michael Brown never raised his hands in the air in surrender. Of course, the “hands up, don’t shoot” theme is just fine because the “up” is relative to Michael Brown’s tallness, since his hands were “up” in relationship to a shorter person. And, while Michael Brown was sprinting toward the officer in rage, his defiant body language would best be interpreted to imply the phrase “don’t shoot,” even though the words “don’t shoot” did not come out of his lips. So when people gesture “hands up, don’t shoot”, they’re expressing an honest and accurate picture of what occurred to poor helpless Michael Brown on the day of his lynching.

Zano: Tongue and cheek, I get it, but you’re putting scenarios in my mouth. This is how many people viewed these events through their own ideological filters. I have maintained all along that I wasn’t there, but could predict a given interpretation based on political affiliation. That’s the problem, a problem you see only one side of. You can’t extrapolate that to my own views. I’ve agreed with you on this one, but I just added better jokes, which might have thrown you.

Pokey: The Grand Jury has presented their report, which appears to be thorough and objective. It shows strong evidence in support of the policeman’s perspective. I’m sure that President Obama has been made aware of the facts of this case.

Zano: Obama condemned the court’s decision in the Brown case, oh wait, he didn’t. Damn facts. Obama has said multiple times that if you break the law, you will be prosecuted. He’s called for calm. I guess that’s translated now by republicans as “Obama’s inciting violence.” This movement is being handled poorly, by the media, and I have been against such stuff since the Tawana Brawley days. Remember her? I’ve heard Obama’s speeches on this. He is nuanced and pluralistic at times, but he’s always careful. You extrapolate my views in the same way you extrapolate Obama’s misdeeds.

Did you hear about the torture report today? While Ferguson is a big deal from a cultural standpoint, this is a political firestorm.

Pokey: Oh, yeah perfect timing for the administration to distract us with the ‘torture report’ that tells us how over a decade ago U.S. agents simulated drowning and induced sleep deprivation. And just for the record, I see nothing wrong with releasing the detailed techniques of the torture, beheadings, rape, and forced indoctrination of Islamic extremist groups. Oh how libs love finding dirt on the U.S. military, the police, the Border Security Agents, the evil U.S. foreign policy, of course Israel’s violent occupation of Palestine, details of U.S.’s evil history of genocide, slavery, imperialism, but then lets ignores the actions of Islamic Jihadists, the drug cartel at the border, the anarchist and communist involvement in “Occupy Wall Street” and Ferguson protests, the strategies of Hamas, and the criminal attacks against police officers. I’ve heard a rumor that one time an aggressive black man did physically attack a white police officer.

Zano: The Torture Report is a distraction? Real stuff is such a distraction these days. It gets in the way of all the bullshit, doesn’t it? Liberals focus on cleaning up our own house first and rightly so. We torture and they torture…uh, but we shouldn’t. Plain and simple. Both sides slant, but only one side consistently lies. Oh, and let’s try comprehensive immigration reform and end the War on Drugs. Then you will solve this border problem. Granted, some things are ideologically driven on the left, but almost EVERYTHING is ideologically driven from the right. I think that’s my summary of today’s media. Is it possible MSNBC will sink further? Sadly, yes. The dip in MSNBC’s coverage has not gone unnoticed. See my last post, in fact, see our last debate. Oh, and our crazy liberal prez just wrote another blank check to Wall Street. So we do need to Occupy, and now.

Pokey: It’s not about sides and slants, it’s about people who are abusing power right now. Back to my point with the Benghazi wherein a “reprehensible video caused a spontaneous protest.” The people who pushed that purposely presented an unclear narrative. Similarly, the “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative was politically motivated and untrue. The people who called the Fort Hood attacks “workplace violence” knew as well…. and another thing, no members of the White House were sent to the funerals of victims of the Fort Hood. Members of the White House were sent to the funeral of Michael Brown.

Zano: Did Bush send members of the White House to the funeral of those he tortured to death? Sure propaganda has reached untenable levels and I agree liberals have their slant of events, but I remain focused on the biggest offenders. As it turns out in Benghazi, after catching the guy we know it was a little of both, the video and a planned attack. So the truth apparently has nothing do with a good false-false narrative. So the worst thing Obama did was start a false narrative that turned out to be true? They hang people for that, uh, back in the deep south.

Pokey: I was concerned with Obama’s Reverend Wright and Bill Ayer connections, and I was uneasy about him marketing himself as a spiritual savior and all of his clueless ‘true believers’ evangelizing his cause. Nevertheless, on inauguration day I felt proud to be an American. Two hundred years ago black people were enslaved in this nation with no hope of directing their future in any way; and now here we are with a black man elected President of the United States; and I did hope that he would truly lead us beyond race and political polarization so that people would truly be judged by the content of the character. But from the start, he exploited racial issues for his own political gain, oftentimes at the expense of truth and justice. President Obama and Eric Holder decided to give the New Black Panthers a pass after a video showed that they had deprived would-be white voters of their civil rights on Election Day. And then there is the ‘Al Sharpton’ business. Reverend Wright and Sharpton are blatant racists. “Oh, Barack Obama is different; he’s the post racial President.” But what’s the difference between Reverend Wright and Al Sharpton? More than anything else, President Obama will be judged by history for his failed opportunity to unite our nation.

Zano: Those two yahoos in Philadelphia again? Another perfect example of a singular/weird incident overshadowing a systemic attempt by republicans at voter suppression. Two verses two million votes, but who’s counting? Certainly not republicans. Math isn’t their core curriculum anymore. You’re always focusing on the lesser of two evils.

And, sure Obama didn’t vet his preacher, but McCain didn’t vet his VP candidate. I can avoid Reverend Wrong by avoiding church. Palin, meanwhile, could see the presidency from her house. And Obama ran as a uniter but the Minority Leader on the right, Bitch McConnell, made it his priority to obstruct from day one. Once atheism is more common, politicians won’t have to pretend to believe in God anymore. Problem solved.

Besides, this torture thing is happening right now. Check out this old Bush video here. Everything our former president said about enhanced interrogation techniques was a lie. This isn’t some nuanced slant or some grand conspiracy to bring down whitey. Our president tortured, then lied about it. I really think the stuff I identify ends up being epic and directly involves politicians and you are all too happy to entertain right-wing conspiracy theories.

Granted, there’s something to what you say about media coverage. Guilt by omission has become their M.O. and I also agree that sending al Sharpton to Ferguson was a mistake, but I don’t see this laundry list of missteps that you and your ilk are busy inventing. MSNBC’s coverage on all these subjects, at the end of the day, is still called journalism. The other side’s antics are simply not. Sorry, but torture trumps Obama’s fairly sensible handling of Ferguson.

Pokey: You’re changing the subject again, oh shock. Obama is not a stupid man. He chose his soldiers wisely, aka: “I can no more denounce Reverend Wright than I can denounce the black community.”

…well, until Reverend Wright said, “He ain’t no savior; he’s just another politician.” That day he became Reverend who? What happened in Fort Hood and Benghazi is what George Orwell described in 1984.

Zano: 1984 is an excellent album, except for Panama. I will not stand here idly and watch you bad mouth one of the greatest rock bands of all time!

Pokey: You don’t even like Van Halen.

Zano: I concede that point, but Orwellian? Geesh. You’re thinking of republicans. Libs are pointing out systemic problems while republicans are too busy creating them. The vast majority of liberals are trying to make this country better, not tear it apart. And I think when you have a cop not even indicted for strangling a guy on the street—for the lamest resisting arrest moment ever, or, a country that throws the Geneva conventions out the window—uh, I think this liberal slant may have a point. Liberals will continue to focus on racism, some historical mistakes, and some cultural trauma. It doesn’t make them un-American. These are real toxins that need to be hashed out, and I encourage peaceful protest of these systemic issues.

Pokey: This is about the priority to which stories and policies gain attention. Is there racism is this country? Of course, but hasn’t our nation made phenomenal progress in the area of race? Why is “American racism” the number one subject on our culture’s mind right now, when vowed enemies of our nation blatantly (and I’m not talkin’ accidental death during law enforcement confrontations; I’m talking premeditated, announced to the world, and with pride) murder and publically execute people on the basis of their race and religion right now as we speak?

Any concluding arguments will have to wait as I need to fly my Learjet to both the post office and the bank today. Sorry…well, not really.

Interview With the Zanblogger

Cokie McGrath

The Discord’s CEO Pierce Winslow asked me to hunt down Mick Zano to conduct an important interview. The boss-man is based out of Philly and he wants to get to the bottom of some recent disturbing trends occurring here in the southwest. He’s worried about some of Zano’s cryptic emails, his strange business receipts, the lack of viable material and his increased bail requests. It begs the question, has Zano completely lost his mind after the midterms? So I agreed to track him down and get some answers, for a small fee.

CM: Thanks for meeting with me today, Mr. Zano.

MZ: We’re usually here on Tues—

CM: (Ahem…) Let’s start with current events. They’re saying Obama’s executive order on immigration is the biggest power grab ever.

MZ: It was a bold move but Bush and Reagan did similar solo immigration things. Socialists! Jonathon Chait summarizes things wonderfully, here.  lf you recall, these other changes occured minus the whole End of Freedom rhetoric. I didn’t support Obama’s decision to act alone, precisely because of the focus on executive orders, the Constitution, and all this imperial presidency stuff. Post Bush the president did gain some clear leeway to act unilaterally, on anything, but this needs to be reined in.

CM: So you’re a Tea Partier now?

MZ: Hardly. In fact, if more people like them try to defend the Constitution we might as well burn that shit right now. Although, I must admit to being conflicted. Lately I’m all too willing to support any move on Obama’s part that further weakens Republicans. They remain our biggest challenge.

CM: Even if it means violating the Constitution?

MZ: No, but I do get Marshall Law flashbacks. We do forgo some rights during times of great crisis and an argument can be made that the Republican Party’s current Scheissgeist constitutes such a crisis. Their unwillingness to do anything except bring down our president is disturbing. But I’m still going to resist any moves that further expand executive power. I fear if a Republican becomes president in the near future, whatever the hell we quilled on parchment back in the day will be moot. That’s my declaration of an independent.

CM: The border situation is a humanitarian crisis. Doesn’t that matter?

MZ: I am pro-immigration reform, but we just got our asses handed to us in the midterms. Hey, I have an idea, maybe more than four Hispanics should have voted last week. Besides this is a Band-Aid. We need real reform. I’m not happy about the prospect of ignoring this crisis either, but we need to win elections.

CM: So why didn’t Congress act on immigration?

MZ: That’s like saying, why didn’t they let the Discord-gang stay longer on trivia night.

CM: Trivia night didn’t end well.

MZ: Yeah, and they asked us to stay.

CM: They won’t do that again, but back to the lack of action in Congress.

MZ: I guess it’s because the family-first people want to tear families apart, uh, in the name of Jesus. Don’t ask me to get inside their heads. They’re batshit. Obama went to Boehner asking for a bill and he failed, yet again. But we still have a system of checks and balances in place, as infuriating as that might seem when Republicans are involved. We need to beat them at the ballot box, until then the misery will continue, in all directions as far as the eye can see. But wasn’t it Jesus who said blessed are the shit kickers?

CM: I always found your stuff entertaining, until this interview, but you did get the midterms wrong. The GOP is on the march and yet here you are still focusing your energy on their epitaph.

MZ: Longer term trends look bad for Republicans. They’re deeply divided—not on anything meaningful, mind you—but they’re just further fragmenting into ever more extreme versions of themselves. I think the Republicans will eventually become so batshit that even the not-fully-engaged average voter will be forced to take notice. Trust me on this one. I just worry it’s going to take too long. A growing societal insight may be wishful thinking on my part but the long term voter demographic trends alone will spell doom for the Republicans. They will spell it wrong of—

CM: You’ve done that one before.

MZ: Right.

CM: Let’s say I don’t agree with you on this one. The GOP isn’t going anywhere.

MZ: Well, those brainwashed aren’t, that’s for sure. But they won’t return to power, at least on a presidential level until some major reforms. The alternative is…well, that’s the stuff of nightmare.

CM: You remain a staunch supporter of the president and yet Obama remains deeply unpopular. How are you right and everyone else is wrong?

MZ: Therein hangs the tale.  But why do you think the Obama presidency is such a failure?

CM: Congress.

MZ: Okay, let’s pretend you never studied.  Why does your average citizen think Obama is such a failure?

CM: Obamacare?

MZ: That’s part of it and yet every element of the ACA is popular when polled separately. It’s surpassing all expectations for enrollments, it’s linked to decreasing overall healthcare costs, hospital administrators love it, pre-existing conditions, blah blah, blah, so why is Obama’s signature achievement suddenly the kiss of death panels?

CM: I’m supposed to ask the questions. 

MZ: Well, why else is he demonized?

CM: Fine. He’s had all these supposed scandals.

MZ: Let’s forget you said ‘supposed’ for a moment. This week we just concluded our 457th Benghazi hearing and learned nothing more than we already knew from day one, aka the place needed better security (committee’s lack of findings here). This won’t stop the witch hunts, nothing will. I guess all of the dozens of embassy attacks under Bush had sufficient security…right before they exploded. Feigned outrage, like Benghazi, has successfully painted a picture of both scandal and incompetence. Oh, and did I mention Republicans cut embassy security two years before Benghazi? When there’s a real problem, look to a Republican policy. I think a special Benghazi tax should be paid by all registered Republicans. You want to start being fiscally conservative? Why not start there? Let’s start tracking every time a Fox lie costs the tax payer money.

CM: I do remember you always saying this was a sham.

MZ: And now where are those Republican voices saying “we’re really sorry we led you on this two year journey of meaningless bullshit”? They are almost never right and yet they’re the ones who don’t bother with retractions. Hell, I do more than they do and I’m a spoof guy. I guess if you purge the bullshit from the GOP there’ll be nothing left. But let’s give them credit, their false reality had real consequences for seats. Ebola! ISIS! Amnesty! Fear!

CM: How could this incompetent bunch pull something like this off?

MZ: They’re well-funded and their using propaganda 101 to a tee. Fear motivates. There are also some educational problems in this country that they’re capitalizing on. Why it’s working is really the interesting part, at least from a psychological standpoint. On Obama’s inauguration day I predicted The GOP would try to create a Bush-Left.  That’s exactly what they’ve done. In the context of Obama’s arrival, which I always like to remind everyone involved a global economic collapse and two wars, why didn’t they try to help? The fact they had nothing better to do from day one than obstructionism makes them…um, for lack of a better term, assholes.

CM: You did kind of admit that Obama is as bad as Bush.

MZ: What? When? History won’t agree and yet somehow this is common “wisdom” today. But we forgot one, the economy. Everything is going fairly well right now but Republicans have this delusion that we could be doing much, much better.

CM: Okay, you’re going back to the demonization of Obama. So couldn’t we be doing much better?

MZ: Hell no. As our global economic system continues to split at the seams, I would love to hear some viable plans. Republicans are kind of forgetting how, post Bush, this world market of ours is continuing to flounder, as predicted—kind of like Iraq was lost the day we invaded, as predicted.

CM: Show off.

MZ: Bottom line is, many Americans sense our whole system is in trouble, and they’re right. They just aren’t very good at assigning blame. Republicans have capitalized on their mistakes. I don’t think our economy will ever be the same, post Bush, but since we’ve managed the strongest recovery in the West, Obama deserves some credit. All economic indicators improved drastically under Obama during a very difficult period.

CM: You always talk about the historical context.

MZ: Yes, this stuff is lost on Republicans. Most facts are.

CM: So you’re pessimistic?

MZ: Not necessarily, I have a lot of hope—not for super capitalism, or Republicanism, or our current culture, but for those people willing to embrace the next steps. There’s stuff we can still do to make a better future for future generations.

CM: Like what?

MZ: That’s a loaded question, but I don’t see how blind consumerism survives much longer. I would like to shift to sustainable energies and then to sustainable communities.  This is our moon shot, but we can’t even address this because half our country is not allowed to see the perils we face.

CM: Why do you think that is? Okay, I think I know.

MZ: You do, because Exxon and the Kochs and the like have successfully purchased the brains and votes of nearly half our country.

CM: Others would say you are blinded by the benefits of big government.

MZ: I disagree. I don’t go into anything, including the ACA, blindly. But it’s much harder to see where a Dem-created policy has hurt us in the 21st century, unless you’re lying. The creation of Homeland Security, the NSA, the CIA, these are rogue agencies and, whereas both parties are responsible. It’s hard to see how Dems are more to blame for them.

CM: Obama expanded NSA wiretapping.

MZ: Yes, because we voted for this shit. As it turns out, we’re not horribly bright. Obama’s only scandal is how he is covering for these rogue agencies as well as the last administration’s torture. This doesn’t really resonate in the Fox-lands because on some level even they understand their own culpability.

CM: So Benghazi.

MZ: Right, Republicans are not permitted to discuss real issues and they somehow seem fine with this new reality.

CM: So what are they missing? What are your concerns for 2015?

MZ: Trivia night, I don’t think we’ll ever be—

CM: It’s true, I talked to Sharon. We should skip that for a month or two. I’m talking about national concerns.

MZ: I guess one of my main points remains how Republicans aren’t even “permitted” to see the real problems of our time. They are snowed on an impressive level.

CM: And if it snows, then there’s no global warming?

MZ: Good one! Exactly, and let’s not forget overpopulation, limited resources, mass extinctions, Monsanto, the disparity of wealth, poor education; these are the real problems of our time. And all this is happening while The GOP attempts to dismantle the EPA and the FDA. It’s insane, and history will damn them for it.

CM: They would say radical Islam is the biggest issue. Doesn’t that make the list?

MZ: Sure it does. Liberals are a bit too blind in this area, but their leaders aren’t. Hillary is way to hawkish for my tastes and even Obama, try as he may, is being sucked into this chaos too.

CM: You didn’t support action on ISIS?

MZ: I did, but degrade from the air. Screw putting our folks in harm’s way. The Middle East needs to start giving a shit about its own messes and that won’t happen if we keep trying to contain their own crazies for them. Besides, we have our own crazies to deal with in this country.

CM: Republicans? But you’re not conflating Christianity with radical Islam, are you?

MZ: No, Christians are generally at the upper end of the fundamentalism spectrum but too many Muslims are at the low end and are very tribal. It’s a problem, for sure. The recent interview with Sam Harris and Ben Affleck on Bill Maher captures the essence of both party’s blind spots.

CM: The right thinks all Muslims are jihadists and liberals defend all Muslims to a fault.

MZ: Bingo! Maher couldn’t even read a poll about Muslim beliefs without a massive liberal backlash. On the other hand, I think everything Republicans have done to quell this jihad tide has made things much worse. Besides, some of these other problems I mentioned will get you long before some ISIS-type, well unless we go broke amidst another avoidable war (See: alternate universe McCain Administration).

CM: One last thing, I don’t think you’ve ever mentioned the Keystone Pipeline. Isn’t this an important issue?

MZ: Not really, like our crowd on trivia night, it’s a mixed bag. Republicans are lying about it being a job creator—sure it will create some temp work, but why not just get a job at Best Buy for Christmas? But Dems are ignoring the fact other modes of oil transportation are far more dangerous to the environment. This shit-oil, that probably should have stayed put, may now have to travel further on a tanker. Lovely. Ultimately we need that moon shot away from fossil fuels which the Keystone only exacerbates. Eventually questionable extractions of fossil fuels will be globally illegal, but we’re not there yet. This makes little sense to a Republican, which is your first clue it’s true.

CM: Republicans would say eventually the free market will get us to sustainable energies.

MZ: Yeah, that’s the same thing the Republicans on Mars once said. We don’t have the time to get every greedy asshole on board. In fact, they are actually actively fuzzing the subject so they can keep raping the planet. I remain amazed that some relatively smart people on the right are fooled by these tactics.

CM: Okay, I’m really here because Winslow wants to know what happened in Vegas last week. No material, yet he received, and I quote, “A slew of suspicious business receipts.”

MZ: Ahhhhh, I think you’re only really here, Cokie, because this is your favorite brewpub. Oh, and you can tell Winslow to—

You know I read this stuff before posting, right Zano?

Zano to Quit the Discord….Again

Cokie McGrath

Against my better judgment, I’ve decided to interview the Daily Discord’s head comedy writer, Mick Zano. Mr. Zano is a man—at least technically—who many call the brains of the operation. OK, no one really says that. In fact, spending an hour with Mr. Zano is good cause for hazard pay. Did you get that, Mr. Winslow? Make check payable to Cokie Industries.

Cokie McGrath: Thanks for taking the time away from your favorite bar/coffee shop to meet with me today.

Mick Zano: Umm, we’re at my favorite bar/coffee shop.

Cokie MGrath: Imagine that. Hey, it’s a weekday during business hours. Shouldn’t you be working?

Mick Zano: Everyone gets a lunch hour.

Cokie McGrath: It’s 10AM.

Mick Zano: It’s lunch somewhere. I’m worldcentric.

Cokie McGrath: Ec-centric, maybe. Did you know that drinking before noon is one point on the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test? Oh, and if a colleague is worried about your drinking that’s another point.

Mick Zano: Great, I have two points today and it’s not even noon. Where I’m from that’s called a productive morning.

Cokie McGrath: Where’s that, Amsterdam? So my sources tell me you’ve spent at least 80% of the last three years here at the Discord either on the chopping block, or threatening to resign. Is that about right?

Mick Zano: I don’t know where you get your numbers, Cokie. The percentage is much higher than that.

Cokie McGrath: And, if reports about your pot addiction are accurate, so are you.

Mick Zano: If you’ve just come here to insult me…oh, right, that’s the basis of our relationship.

Cokie McGrath: On that note, what is your stance on legalization?

Mick Zano: The War on Drugs is a fiasco. It’s over. By every measure known to man, we’ve lost. It’s been a colossal waste of money. Obama is hinting that, given a second term, he would clean house. He would legalize pot, or at the very least decriminalizing it, which would be a huge boon for the proponents of reason. Half of the War on Drugs would be over with the stroke of a pen.

Cokie McGrath: Are you a pot smoker?

Mick Zano: No. I joke about it on this blog, but I prefer…er, what did you buy me?

Cokie McGrath: Caffeinated booze. Thus my having to pay your tab just to get this interview.

Mick Zano: Yeah, I learned that one from Alex Bone.

Cokie McGrath: So, besides having the police slightly less interested in your closet farm, there are other benefits to legalization?

Mick Zano: Drug cartels would see half their business die overnight and we could tax the shit out of the stuff.

Cokie McGrath: But wouldn’t pot become more prevalent?

Mick Zano: It’s already prevalent (blows a sweet smelling smoke into Cokie’s face). Remember the whole ‘losing the war’ part? Sure there would be a spike in use and then things would settle down to maybe slightly higher than today’s consumption. Spending our treasure and destroying countless lives for a few percentage points is asinine. Would we do that for alcohol?

Cokie McGrath: You did this story for alcohol.

Mick Zano: I’m just saying, we could shift tons of our funds from enforcement to treatment and education, which might actually be useful. And we would just need better equipment to assess DWI levels to keep our roads safe. Besides, legislating morality has never worked.

Cokie McGrath: Sitting next to you, I would agree with that. So why do you think so many people appreciate your work? And by many I mean four.

Mick Zano: I resonate with a small group of Americans…a very small group. The backbone of the Transcosmetic Party involves very little actual backbone.

Cokie McGrath: Umm, four is within the margin of error of zero.

Mick Zano: I’m not a political pundit, I’m a comedian…but, today, comedians have much more insight than our politicians, which is frightening. Basically, I started this party to make a statement.

Cokie McGrath: Sounds more like a cry for help. What exactly is the Transcosmetic Party?

Mick Zano: It’s a reaction to one of the most ridiculous periods of American history, a time when we, through stupidity and shortsightedness, ruined a great country.

Cokie McGrath: OK, Mr. McGloom&Doom so is this the end of the world?

Mick Zano: …as we know it. Our sick version of capitalism is doomed, for sure, which will be a bumpy transition for many. But trying to maintain this consequences be damned, unsustainable level of consumption…umm, it’s just not going to work anymore.

Cokie McGrath: Speaking of going to work, how are you going to return in this state?

Mick Zano: Arizona is a ‘right to drink’ state.

Cokie McGrath: Oh, a livertarian. You paint such a great picture. Is there anything you are optimistic about?

Mick Zano: Well, the Coyotes are starting to play well. Look, losing a little capital around this planet is not the worst thing that could happen. It is to Republicans, of course, because cash is the only thing they understand. I say, stop deporting Mexicans and start deporting Grover Norquist.

Cokie McGrath: You’re going to mention taxes, aren’t you?

Mick Zano: We have a spending problem in this country, not a revenue problem.

Cokie McGrath: Really?

Mick Zano: No, that shit just cracks me up. We obviously have problems with both overspending and revenue generating, but half our country is only allowed to comment on spending. Ironically, it’s the same group that spends too much.

Cokie McGrath: Some would say Obama spends too much.

Mick Zano: True story…avoiding a depression turned out to be rather expensive.

Cokie McGrath: That’s not all he spent money on.

Mick Zano: True, there’s a number of Republican policies that continue to drain the old coffers. Bush is the first President who cut taxes during a war. Republicans aren’t big on actually reading the bill. They tend to order the surf & turf, lecture the waiter about responsibility, and then sneak out through the kitchen. It’s all just selective outrage. Funny how the party of personal responsibility never seems to take any.

Cokie McGrath: In your posts you always seem like a know-it-all to me. Your articles are funny, but the political ones read like “I told you so about this” and “I told you so about that.” What have you gotten wrong?

Mick Zano: Lots. I predicted we’d be amidst a double dip recession two years into Obama’s Administration, but it’s been almost four…

Cokie McGrath: Some would argue the double dip has already started.

Mick Zano: No, it will officially begin some time during the Romney Administration, as God intended. I also underestimated Obama and overestimated the Republicans. I predicted Obama would be a one term president, yet now he might win his re-election even if unemployment hits 20%. Oh, and I hired you as a field reporter. That wasn’t horribly bright.

Cokie McGrath: True story. Is there anything we can glean from Republicans, or Europeans, or Asians, or anyone else on the planet besides you?

Mick Zano: Sure. Asians are a highly advanced race.

Cokie McGrath: Why?

Mick Zano: Both genders tend to pee sitting down. It’s a real game changer. Of course, if we improve our bathroom hygiene, we could lose thousands of custodial jobs.

Cokie McGrath: Out-house sourcing?

Mick Zano: OMG? Really?

Cokie McGrath: So where does your anger come from, besides your inability to attract women?

Mick Zano: I’m certainly angry with the gross incompetence and greed inherent in the system. We’re all angry, but I would just prefer it if people at least tried to understand how we got here rather than always defending the indefensible.  

Cokie McGrath: Like in a few minutes when I tell the bartender, I’m sorry, he’s usually not like this at home…

Mick Zano: Sort of.

Cokie McGrath: What’s the Right getting wrong?

Mick Zano: You mean, besides everything? George Bush was our worst president ever and Obama will likely rate mediocre. Does that match their rhetoric today? They’re trying to revise history by forever repeating falsehoods. And it’s working! You watch, in ten years W will be Reagan and in twenty years Reagan will have parted the Red Sea and brought some stone tablets down from Mt. Sinai. Hell, Reagan wasn’t even Reagan; they just make shit up. I just saw a thing on Facebook today, “click here if you miss President Bush.” Two million people clicked on that shit!

Cokie McGrath: Did you click it?

Mick Zano: Well, yeah, I’m a comedian. The Discord was only around for a short time during the Bush years. It’s sad really…all that lost material.

Cokie McGrath: Does some of the blame rest on the Dem side of the aisle?

Mick Zano: Certainly. I’ve always said they’re about 35% of the problem, but I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong…it’s probably more like 36%.

Cokie Mcgrath: Proportionately, you don’t spend 36% of your time razzing Dems. Are you defending the indefensible?

Mick Zano: Maybe. But how is Obama actually screwing up? Who’s covering the real stories? The Left won’t cover it and the Right, hell, every news cycle Fox News feed us endless plumes of methane emissions…frankly, that’s our job. Their biggest scandal is the Fast & Furious. Really? Sure that could have huge implications for our Attorney General, but for Obama? Even if the whole thing is true I don’t think it would rate anywhere near Bush’s top ten scandals. Oh my, a gun running program which occurred under the last several administrations finally went awry. Imagine that. Yet Fox News has become the Fast & Furious channel. They peddle 24 hours of conspiracy theories that even Agent Mulder would roll his eyes at.

Cokie McGrath: The Fox is out there! So what’s the bottom line?

Mick Zano: A really cool club down in the Village, but I think it closed. Bush should have represented the Republicans bottoming-out phase. You know, when they start hallucinating, stop forming coherent thoughts, and then throw up some blood. Then, in a moment of lucidity, stagger over to political rehab. But nothing happened! They started believing the hallucinations and thought the blood was just all the kool aid they drank. They are becoming even less insightful, which shouldn’t even be possible! I believe this horrible fact is the story within the story of our time.

Cokie McGrath: If you could stuff a dirty sock in someone’s mouth, whose would it be?

Mick Zano: Everything out of Rush Limbaugh’s mouth is a lie or based on a false assumption. But we have a first amendment, so I’d rather go all second amendment on his ass.

Cokie McGrath: When you start threatening to shoot people, I think it’s time to get you back to work.

Mick Zano: I’m a pacifist…just one prone to violence.

Cokie McGrath: Makes sense. I think we should do this again….without me. Oh, and sorry, sir, he’s not usually like this at home.

Aging: It May Be Fucked Up but Maybe Less So

Cokie McGrath

Age related decline is a phenomenon sweeping the nation. You may recognize this subtle foe to establishing and maintaining relationships. For example, “Sure, honey. I can pick that up from the store” quickly turns to…”Umm, why am I going to the store?” Other symptoms include: fumbling around for beers long since consumed, emphatic arguments with inanimate objects—typically of the malfunctioning variety—and accusations of moving items which have remained stationary for years…like, for example, your house.

Similarly, loved ones experiencing this condition may ask several times, “Have you seen my keys?” Not to worry, there is a solution. Mexico is now offering affordable long-term plans available for monthly installments. Flexible tax policies and generous bribes facilitate the placement of your loved one in a “semi-habitable establishment” where infermera Ratchet is always vigilant and people wish their meat contained pink slime filler.

There is a difference between age related decline and Alzheimer’s. The Crank recently summed things up nicely, “If you forget where you left your keys, you’re getting old. If you forget what your keys are for, you have Alzheimer’s.” Never truer words were flash light battery. Sorry, bad Alzheimer’s joke.

I chose this topic because some older people in my life, one in particular, is starting to become really limited…He’s getting dumb…monkey with a gun dumb. So I wanted to know 1.) Is it simply part of the normal aging process?, and 2.) Can I use some of this research material to exploit and demean him?

As most of you are well aware there are some common trends with regards to the aging process—these generally moves through Eric Erikson’s famous stages of development, namely AC/DC to NPR to AARP to RIP. I think that’s all of them.

Many folks start to lose their hair, lose their hearing and lose their brain cells, while each year they pick up those few unwanted pounds…of medical marijuana (going to pot joke omitted by management). Some of the less obvious changes come in the form of hormonal changes. In men this is a more gradual process, hardly recognizable unless you’re my boss, Pierce mid-life-crisis Winslow, who spends most of his time flinking (an unsettling combination of drinking and flirting).

But, for women, hormonal changes can be a potentially more dramatic event called menopause. For those who have not yet experienced this feminine benchmark, it may not be that devastating. Recent studies show how expectations play a key role in the severity of menopause. In fact, some ladies do not seem to have much difficulty with the transition at all. So keep a positive attitude and avoid too much flinking. Of course on the other side of the spectrum…invest in chainmail, gents, and always where a cup.

In general, much of today’s research is more positive about the aging process. We all know some of the negative inevitabilities involved with our life-spans, but much of the news about our level of control over certain aspects is encouraging. Research has recently shown that the elderly can maintain healthy sex lives until their seventies and beyond! It is also believed that, despite age-related brain degeneration, general intelligence remains stable until late in life. This brings a certain accuracy to the term old fuckers.

Whereas many things are forgotten, like names and facts (covered nicely in the latest Crank feature), unconscious memory seems inexplicably intact throughout the life span. So there is considerable good news on the aging front; certain behaviors and dietary choices can actually help delay some of the natural cognitive deterioration associated with aging, as well as age related diseases. I’ve even heard blueberries can have beneficial effects for the aging brain, so that chick who turned into a giant blueberry in Willy Wonka may be fat, but she’s sharp as a tack. Just keep all tacks away from her please.

Individuals can avoid such debilitating diseases such as dementia by simply exercising more later in life. Diet, particularly calcium, can help delay cognitive aspects of aging as well. Still, I’m not sure the Discord crew’s infatuation with Chucky Cheeses is healthy. But there are things you can start doing right now that will decrease your chances of developing some of the most common geriatric brain diseases.

More importantly, I can now—with a keen scholarly accuracy—make fun of my boss for ignoring every important health study. We have always known that healthy lifestyles are important, but current research is stressing how we should maintain those good behaviors into our golden years, aka, long after you’re barred from Chucky Cheeses.

Oh, and sorry Mr. Winslow, flinking is not yet associated with any cognitive benefits whatsoever, but ask your doctor if drunken flirting is right for you.

Alex Bone: Arizona’s New Homelessness Advocate

Cokie McGrath

Outside the Collapsing Shack, AZ—In a freakish turn of events not seen since that last Crank feature, Alex Bone has sworn off all societal ‘responsibilities’ and ‘obligations.’ Inspired by the Discord’s own ‘Occupy Space’ movement, Bone Man has not only joined the ranks of the homeless, but is working diligently on a statewide movement for others to join him in his crusade against rent, mortgages, and roofs in general.

The Discord caught up to Alex, where he was hiding from the police behind a dead tree in the woods just south of town. There, our own Cokie McGrath asked why he had chosen the road less cozy.

“It wasn’t just because I didn’t have the money to pay my rent,” said Bone. “There is waaaay more to it than that. These days they expect you to pay for your home, pay for your utilities, pay for your food, and even pay for your sex!”

Cokie asked him to elongate…er, to elaborate on that last part:

“Yeah sex, the only reason you need a place is because chicks dig beds and heating and all that other sissy stuff. From now on I’m only going to go out with women who dig me for me…sure I’m wet when it rains and I freeze when it’s cold and I’m forced to eat rotting food from dumpsters, but…what was the question? And another thing, paying bills is stupid. The Native Americans didn’t have bills. Land of the free, my ass, how about land of the bills?! I’m not quitting my job, so don’t call me a bum, I’m just spending money on what I choose to. I’ve been at it for a while now and I already have an extra two thousand dollars in my bank account. Suck on that Arizona Power Service! Now if only the bank would let me in so I could withdraw some of it. So what if I smell a little? It’s a price I’m willing to pay.”

Mr. Bone is now trying to convince others to adopt his carefree lifestyle and has released a seven-CD set entitled: Shirk Your Way to Prosperity. When we asked how he was able to keep his job without bathing and such, Alex Bone said, “I have enough money now to buy a new shirt every day if need be.” He then took a sniff of his armpit. “And, by Yig’s scaly beard, need be…but I prefer to wash my clothes in the company’s bathroom sink, while washing my feet in the toilet. They’re always encouraging us to multi-task, right? I’m starting to get a few weird looks, but it’s worth it. I have so much money now I treated myself to two twelve packs last night. That’s almost a case using the metric system, woo hoo!”

When Cokie asked him about his Anti-Home Movement, Bone said, “The Sacred AHM is all about taking your freedom back and using it the way God intended, on barcrawls. Screw wasting money each month just to have a place to rest. I can rest just fine under a bridge and I have so much money now I can use my wallet as a pillow, bitches! I used to just work my ass off to have a place to drink my crummy beer. So I just cut out the middle man. Heck, if I drink enough, I don’t even notice how cold it gets. In your face UNS Gas!”

In closing Bone added, “I’m finally free. The man doesn’t own me anymore. I can even stay at City Hall some nights as part of the main Occupy Movement. Oh, and if you get a bus pass, you can just circle town and stay warm for hours. They drop you right off at the shelter and the mall, where I spend a lot of time buying lot’s of very small things that fit in my backpack. It’s almost full so I’m going to have to sell shit on Ebay so I can buy more shit. Hey, where are you guys going? If you let me take a shower at your place, I won’t smell so bad. You can’t argue with that logic. Maybe I could crash there too. I need to charge my laptop. Oh come on, I’ll buy the beer. I can afford fancy imported beer now. Did I mention that homelessness is the new rich?”