The Chewbacca Defense

The Phillies probably could have used him tonight…

This is the first night of the Republican National Convention and I was a little hard pressed in terms of figuring out how to approach it from a Mad (political) Scientist perspective.

I thought briefly about starting this blog out with a picture of Hurricane Isaac but that would have been too obviously smart assed. You see, this convention started late because of the threat of Hurricane Isaac rolling through Tampa, Florida and taking several thousand Republicans with it.

It didn’t, of course. It instead decided to make the lives of New Orleans residents still smarting from the seven-year cleanup that is the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina more miserable by hitting that city instead. But instead of being glad that it missed Tampa and hoping that no one was hurt in NOLA, folks like former New Hampshire Gov.John Sununu criticized the media for pulling reporters like CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Soledad O’Brien away from the RNC and sending them to NOLA to cover the hurricane.

Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh, who I’m convinced has jumped the shark using a jet ski these days, said that fears over Hurricane Isaac were due to a plot that President Barack Obama hatched as a means to get the Republicans to cancel their clambake.


Then I thought about starting this blog with what I’d like to call the RNC Drinking Game. If you heard phrases like “American Exceptionalism”, “Take Back The Country”, “You Didn’t Build That” or any of the recent Republican watchwords, you’d take a drink.

But after hearing from many of my Facebook friends that participating in this game would lead to some serious cases of drunkenness, I decided against it. So I was stuck.

I sat through most of the speeches, including the ones delivered by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Rep. Artur Davis, Ann Romney, the wife of Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (who cracked me up when he said he had no problem with TEACHERS, he just didn’t like TEACHERS UNIONS) and I noticed one thing. They all kept talking about love, respect, and other things that were really kind of nice.

Only problem with that, one of my Facebook friends said, is that all of this talk of love and respect did nothing to address the economy, something that you need to address if you want to take the job of the current dude living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

It was during that discussion that someone who is becoming one of my favorite people, my friend Benet Wilson, solved my “how to write about the Republican National Convention” problem. Wilson, who is the go-to woman when it comes to aviation, tech, multimedia reporting, and a whole bunch of other stuff I know very little about, said that the GOP was using the Chewbacca Defense tonight.

Now what is the Chewbacca Defense you might ask? It is something that our friends from the television show “South Park” came up with. I didn’t know it because I hadn’t watched the show in a while. It’s a way to distract people to get what you want to done without alerting these people to the obfuscation until it’s too late.


Now that didn’t make sense did it?

It wasn’t supposed to.

But it did make you laugh, which was the whole idea.

You keep people from understanding that what you’re hearing on television doesn’t make sense by obfuscating it with a whole lot of stuff that keeps you from getting around that conundrum. You hear people talking about love…and then realize that they don’t love unions or any of the other organizations that keep workers from being screwed over. You get a lot of people talking about the Buyer’s Remorse they feel because President Obama didn’t give them what they wanted…and you never ask the question “What about Congress?”

You hear Ann Romney talk about a “real marriage” and you hear the anti-Gay Marriage dog whistle, or at least that’s what my gay friends heard. And then just to end the evening, you hear about a Black, female CNN camerawoman who was insulted by someone at the convention who chose to throw peanuts at her and say that “this is how we feed the animals”.

To her credit, I think that Ann Romney did well in her speech. Her mission was to humanize her husband and I think that she did that, telling stories about their life together and how it wasn’t always possible to afford to put elevators for the cars in their beach home.

She kept talking about the high school dance where they first met, and how much he makes her laugh.

 In other words, she basically kept saying “Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor! That does not make sense!”

 (She also said that she wanted an America where we wouldn’t be jealous of someone’s success. I personally don’t think anyone’s jealous of Mitt’s success. However, when you leave the charred remains of several companies, the pensions of thousands of workers, and the dreams and aspirations of those workers in the dust that you trample on the way to your next triumph, it might make people want to give you the Pimp Hand. I’m just sayin’…)

But it’s going to take more than humanization. It’s going to take a plan that doesn’t balance the budget on the backs of the poor and middle class or create the kind jobs that make the dream of being able to spend more time with family for most single mothers, a dream that Ann Romney articulated during her speech, next to impossible.

You’re gonna have to do better than a Chewbacca defense in other words.

We still have two more days of speeches to hear, videos to see, and other RNC reverie.

Let’s see if we hear a good plan…or if the Chewbacca Defense rules the day…

In case you missed it, here’s Ann Romney’s speech…

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The "People Who Need To Be Punched In The Face" awards…

I think that this would make a good trophy, don’t you?

Because I know myself better than anyone, I decided a long time ago that I’d never buy myself a gun.

Why? Because my Jackass Tolerance has whittled down to nothing over the last 47 years and I may decide to bust a cap in a jackass when I come across one. Seeing that as a reporter I come across jackasses often, I’d probably be considered a serial killer if given a proper firearm.

But while being a reporter means that I come across jackasses often, the Torrent of Jackass has been more like a flood of late.

Between the battle over birth control, something that I thought we all had settled already, to Voter ID laws, to the very existence of Rick Santorum and the recent reminder that we all got that it’s still not safe to be a young Black man armed with a pack of Skittles in this country, I’m awash in jackasses.

But since I don’t have a gun, and for the reasons I’ve mentioned above it’s probably a good thing, the only course of action that I could see myself taking if I ran across any of the jackasses that have littered my path of late is to do what the gentleman pictured above, Muhammad Ali, was really, really good at.

In his heyday, Ali was probably one of the best at Punching People In The Face.

Now I understand that punching people in the face when you’re not in a boxing ring is illegal. And I also realize that many of the people who most deserve to be punched in the face for their actions of late have very large people that they pay for (or in the case of our elected officials, we pay for) to protect them from having folks like me walk up and, well, punch them in the face.

But if I knew that I could punch someone in the face, and not go to jail or get busted up for it, there’s a whole line of people that I’d love to take a swing at because of their special brand of red-hot ignorance… So it is in that vein that I would like to announce the inaugural People Who Need To Be Punched In The Face Awards.

Before we start, some caveats: First of all, the People Who Need To Be Punched In The Face Awards are not literal. I do not now, or will ever, encourage anyone to punch any of these people in the face. This is a metaphoric designation. Secondly, this is non-partisan. There are going to be people of all political stripes deserving of a (metaphoric) punch in the face as this goes on.

And thirdly, I don’t think that I should be the only one having fun with this. If you know someone who deserves a People Who Need To Be Punched In The Face designation, let me know. The Mad (political) Scientist Facebook Page will be up and running soon, so you can put your recommendations either here, on the blog, or on that page.

So now, without further ado, here is the first group of People Who Need To Be Punched In The Face Awards….

Because I believe that charity begins at home, the first of this week’s People Who Need To Be Punched In The Face is Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.

In all honesty, I didn’t know whether to nominate Gov. Corbett for his championing and signing the voter ID law that I talked about in a previous posting or for cutting education funding to the bone while allowing the Marcellus Shale drillers to make our water undrinkable for practically nothing.

But at a news conference in which he talked about how happy he was to sign a voter ID law that was totally unnecessary, Gov. Corbett was asked about yet another one of those Really Bad Ideas That Will Probably Become Law In Pennsylvania, a trans-vaginal ultrasound law.

Under this law, which has been passed in other connotations in places like Virginia, women would be forced to submit to an ultrasound featuring an internal probe before having an abortion. This is on top of the 24-hour waiting period that women are already forced to go through in Pennsylvania to obtain an abortion. His response made me say…”Wow! He should be Punched In The Face!

I sometimes wonder if the guys who come up with these laws have kids…and if so, if any of these kids are female. If you’re a dude who has female children and you can come up with some nonsense like this, I have to question how you can look these female children in the face without at least apologizing to them.

But then again, some of the most heinous of these laws that seek to take away reproductive choice have, believe it or not, been proposed by women. So what do I know?

The next recipient of a People Who Need To Be Punched In The Face Award is another person taking on the same topic: the reproductive freedom of the women in his state.

This entry comes from Georgia and it’s from the fevered mind of Rep. Terry England. Rep. England has proposed a bill that would make women who have been informed that their child will be stillborn carry the fetus to term and deliver it naturally instead of being allowed the more humane choice of having it removed.

Now we could talk about how doing that would lead to the mother possibly dying because carrying a dead body inside of you for any length of time has to be harmful. But in the mind of this Person Who Really Needs To Be Punched In The Face, it should be okay.

I mean, livestock do it all of the time…

So let’s review: Women with stillborn children should be forced to carry those children to term because hey, chickens and cows do it…so why can’t they?

As Forrest Gump would say, “Stupid is as stupid does…”

But as Your Mad (political) Scientist Says, somebody needs to be Punched In The Face…

Last but not least, my last People Who Need To Be Punched In The Face Award “winner” is another one of those examples of why you don’t have to worry about Your Mad (political) Scientist moving anywhere below the Mason/Dixon Line.

You see, while Pennsylvania has passed some really stupid laws based on some really bad ideas, most of those really, really bad ideas have come from the American South. Among those laws is a law that allows folks to, well, be able to shoot first and ask questions never if they feel threatened by someone. Notice I say “feel threatened”. This person doesn’t actually have to do anything to you.

And it is a manifestation of what happened when one of these laws was followed in Florida that leads to my making George Zimmerman and the Sanford, Fla. Police Department the last of my  People Who Need To Be Punched In The Face.

You probably know the story now. On Feb. 24, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin walked to a convenience store in Sanford to get a pack of Skittles for his little brother and an iced tea for himself. As he walked down the street with his hoodie over his head, town watch person George Zimmerman observed Trayvon as he was “walking around, looking about”.

By the end of the night, Trayvon was dead by the hand of Zimmerman, who had been the subject of a complaint from other residents regarding his Town Watch approach. He had called Sanford police when he first saw Trayvon…and the police told him not to get out of the car. But Zimmerman not only followed Trayvon around, but he got out of the car, fought with him, and later shot him.

Just in case you want to hear the 9-1-1 tapes connected to this incident, here they are:

My favorite part of the whole thing: when Zimmerman says “The assholes always get away…”

Now you have stalking. You have a guy shooting an unarmed kid. You have a guy disobeying a direct order from police. So tell me again why Zimmerman isn’t occupying a cell in Administrative Detention (where they put inmates that would get beaten to death in General Population) in Sanford?

Because the Sanford Police don’t think that Zimmerman has done anything wrong. They say that he’s a good guy and that this is a clean shoot.

Shenanigans! Shenanigans, big time!

Now I understand that Zimmerman has moved from his home and isn’t taking calls because people are threatening him behind Trayvon’s death. While I don’t think that’s cool, I also don’t think it’s cool that he’s walking around after shooting a 17-year-old armed with a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea.

Notice that I haven’t even brought up the whole White Man/Black Kid thing…

But it’s kind of the reason why I hope the Department of Justice takes a look at this. It’s obvious to me that if we’re waiting for the Sanford Police to do something, we’re gonna have a long wait. Maybe the Justice Department will move a little faster. Or at all. That seems like the only way that the Martin family will get justice…

And that, ladies and gentlemen, ends this week’s People Who Need To Be Punched In The Face Awards.

Hope that you had as much fun as I did picking the winners! Remember: you can leave your own nominations on the blog here or on our Facebook page once it’s up and running. Thank you and Goodnight!