Free State Project Forum

New Hampshire -- The "Live Free or Die" State => NH Jobs => Topic started by: alecmuller on October 01, 2003, 01:08:47 pm

Title: An Onion in the Free State
Post by: alecmuller on October 01, 2003, 01:08:47 pm
I love The Onion(tm) and South Park because they make me laugh even though I sometimes don't agree with their views.

I'd like to start a satyrical online newspaper with articles specific to New Hampshire that make freedom concepts more palatable through humor.

They'd be lighthearted and subtle enough that they're amusing to anyone who appreciates satire - even dyed in the wool statists.  They could be articles, political cartoons, pictures with made-up captions, and maybe even shockwave flash movies.  We could do a weekly or every-other-week, and we could arrange our new issue dates so that they're right between new issues of the Onion.

I don't know anything about setting up web sites, but I've got a couple of articles all ready to go:

Quote
Bi-Partisan Program to Solve Problem of Under-taxed Citizens

Washington D.C. – Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Terry McAuliffe exuberantly announced today that the state of New Hampshire had made an important commitment to help solve the nation’s ongoing problem of under-taxed citizens.

 â€œFor years now our various states in our great country have been losing revenue to people who don’t pay their fair share of taxes.  While most Republicans have made matters worse by giving tax breaks to these people, Democrats have been working hard to actually solve this problem.  Today I can proudly say we’ve done something; we’ve reached a bipartisan arrangement with the Republican-controlled New Hampshire legislature to take these people off our hands.”

McAuliffe likened the program to the Department of Energy’s Yucca Mountain Project to dispose of high-level radioactive waste in the Nevada desert.  â€œWhen you have something that’s a detriment to society like containers of radioactive waste or people who don’t pay their fair share of taxes, the best thing to do is to round them all up in one place so people everywhere else don’t have to deal with them.  New Hampshire has selflessly offered to take these people, and quite frankly, we’re very happy to be rid of them.”

McAuliffe then went on to extol the benefits of the program.  â€œWhen we’ve gotten rid of these people the first thing we’ll see an immediate reduction income inequality.  Under-taxed people are all pretty well-to-do, so getting rid of them will automatically increase the overall level of equality.  Won’t that be great!?  Next, we’ll pass fair tax laws.”  Under-taxed citizens are the largest opponents to fair tax laws and spent $7.2 million last year lobbying against fair tax laws in California alone.  â€œAs more of them leave we’ll pass more and more fair tax laws and squeeze the rest out,” McAuliffe promised.  â€œIt will be so nice to be able to live and work without these bums mooching off the system,” he added.

Republican New Hampshire Governor Craig Benson said he looked forward to the challenge of confronting the problem in his state.  â€œIt won’t be easy, but I’m confident we can handle under-taxed people.  I’m just happy we could help out the rest of the country by taking these people off their hands,” stated Benson somberly, fighting hard not to crack up.  When asked how New Hampshire planned to attract them in the first place, Benson mumbled something about ‘tax incentives’, said he was very busy, and shooed everyone out of the room.

Quote
Dealing With Free Staters

As many of you already know, the Free Staters are coming to New Hampshire.  What does this mean for Democrats?  I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about this, and I’ve determined that our best strategy will be to marginalize them and rebuff any efforts to find common ground.

Some people point out that Free State Project members are largely in agreement with Democrats on such issues as free speech, same sex marriages, the war on drugs, personal privacy and a woman’s right to choose.  While this is true and they may prove valuable allies against the Republicans in some cases, the fact remains that they’re adamantly opposed to increasing the size of government.  This raises an obvious question – should we work with them on the issues we agree on, or should we spin them as “anarchists” and marginalize them completely?

While accepting Free Staters as allies on social issues will help us pass better laws in these areas, marginalizing them will still help us.  Free Staters are going to vote liberal on social issues no matter what we do, so there’s no point in lending them credibility by acknowledging them.  We’re better off to label them as “extremists” in the hopes that voters will forget about them and continue to choose between Democrats and Republicans.  Better yet, when these people do team up with Republicans on economic issues, we’ll be even better able to paint them all as extremist for wanting to lower taxes.

If we acknowledge Free Staters and work with them on the issues we agree on we will lend them credibility, but if we marginalize them we’ll stand a better chance of expanding the size of government.

If anyone is interested in offering web site help or writing articles, post away.

(p.s. it really is just a coincidence that both of these articles happen to be making fun of Democratic positions - I haven't had a chance to write any War on Drugs ones yet)
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: Dalamar49 on October 01, 2003, 01:57:46 pm
Hilarious!  :D Your first article was by far the best. Yup, isolate those bloody tax haters!!! hahahaha!

Starting an Onion like publication would be sweet, but much like yourself I have no idea how to operate a website. Thankfully we have a couple years to think about it.
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: SteveA on October 02, 2003, 11:55:50 am
I read the second one first and thought it was a legitimate article (oh man, I must be getting old!).  It's incredible but I bet I actually know people who would nod their heads in agreement with the second article (they live here in CA ;)).

I had fun reading them.  Nice work
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: alecmuller on October 03, 2003, 03:39:41 pm
War on Drugs a Great Success

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Drug Czar John Walters touted the numerous successes achieved by his department today while petitioning Congress for more money.

“I’m proud to announce that we’re making great progress in the War on Drugs.  As of right now, we’ve got more than a million Americans behind bars on drug convictions, and we’re putting thousands more away every day.  It’s a great start, but with an estimated 70 million Americans who have used illegal drugs, we’ve got a long way to go.  With more time and more money, I’m confident we’ll be able to solve this problem.”

As an example, he sited the stunning success of television advertising in reaching the nation’s youth.  â€œOur anti-drug ads are truly connecting with something in the psyche of young people.  The surveys are coming back with comments like ‘Hilarious!’ and ‘Nice Try’.  I really think we’re getting something here.”

Throughout the interview Walters confidently answered every question that left-wing hippy tree huggers could throw at him.  When asked how much the war was already costing, he replied, “The cost of this war is miniscule compared to the benefits.  By shooting or arresting people in every link in the drug supply chain, we’re helping to drive up the cost so that they’re harder to afford.  Aren’t you happy to be personally paying $70 each year just to know that pot-heads will have to buy their dope from murderous criminals at a huge mark-up rather than in a convenience store at reasonable prices?  I know I am – heck, I’d be willing to pay ten times that much.”

One representative had the gall to compare the War on Drugs to Prohibition, but Walters promptly set him straight.  â€œThis war is nothing at all like the prohibition of alcohol.  While it’s true on the surface that both have been a boon to organized crime, you’re ignoring the fact that using illegal drugs is morally wrong while using alcohol in moderation is not.  People go crazy and lose control of themselves when they use drugs, but not with alcohol . . . (coughing) as much.”   He then continued self-righteously, “Jesus drank wine, but he did not smoke dope,” to which a heckler yelled, “No, he bathed in it,” before being escorted from the building.

Walters concluded the interview with an appeal to the nation’s conscience.  â€œDrugs are evil, and they ruin lives.  Parents lose children to drugs.  Children lose parents.  I have nothing but pity and compassion for drug users and their families, and that’s why I want to lock them up.”
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: robertLP on October 04, 2003, 12:57:02 pm
Your "Drug War" one was great.  Of course, there's enough material for you to work with on that subject that you could devote an entire newsletter to it.

A "Libertarian Onion" is a fantastic idea.  Here's one I whipped up quickly; anyone with more time can feel free to improve/expand on it:



Americans With Disabilites Act Wild Success, Say Supporters

Washington, D.C. - Art Thompson had a problem.  He was the Human Resources director for DirectTech, a computer programming firm out of San Diego.  Before him was Rich Huggins, a perfect candidate for a job that Art quickly wanted to fill.  But there was a catch: Rich was wheelchair-bound.

"With all the regulatory costs and unknown legal liability of hiring him, the desicion was easy.   I just had to find a suitable lie to why we couldn't hire him.  I told Rich he was lacking the skills needed for the job, which included writing in BASIC."

"But in the end, the ADA really makes dealing with the handicapped much easier," he says.  "Now we just ignore them whenever possible."

"We're really improving the self-esteem of these people," beams Hillary Clinton, a strong supporter of the legislation.  "Can you imagine the indignity of working at an office where there is a small chance of a co-worker possibly looking at you weird for a second or two?  Now, they have no worries as they can sit home alone by themselves with the comfort of that $350 unemployment check arriving each and every month."
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: Dalamar49 on October 05, 2003, 01:21:10 pm
LOL!!!! Love it!  ;D
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: jgilyeat on October 05, 2003, 05:56:19 pm
*raises hand*
I'm more than capable of running such a site, and I can -probably- talk a buddy of mine into donating the code that is currently running http://www.themensroom.net (marginally work safe...seriously) which I am currently hosting :)

Setting up on a real server won't cost more than 20 or 30 bucks a month (and if it become as successful as the Onion, it -WILL- get expensive to host, and those uber-cheap hosting companies will not be able to cope.  Trust me on this :)).

So like, here's a volunteer webmaster.  Who wants me? ;)

-
J
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: alecmuller on October 06, 2003, 08:48:18 am
*raises hand*

So like, here's a volunteer webmaster.  Who wants me? ;)

Sounds great!  Do you know how difficult it would it be to have a feedback feature (to get people to tell us which articles are funny and where they stand politically)?  I that would give us a good idea of what's funny and what hits too close to home for our target audience.

Before we go ahead, though, I'd like to make sure that we'll have enough content.  I'd like to have roughly the same volume as The Onion (five or six large articles and columns per week, a couple of pictures with captions, and a few one-paragraph articles).  While there's nearly no limit to the number of ways for us to poke fun of statism, there will be a limit to how fast we can write pieces.  I can handle two large articles per week (or one along with the editing), but if we want to have weekly or bi-monthly issues we'll need several people who are willing to write on a regular basis.

For the short run, I'd like to continue soliciting articles right here until we have enough content for a couple of issues.  By that time hopefully we'll be able to see if there is enough interest to keep it going.

As far as money goes, while it would be great to make a profit I'm not really expecting to.  If the content works out I'll put up the $20/30/month; if it's not earning that much in advertising revenue after a few months I'll pull the plug,  solicit donations, or hand it off to someone else.

So here's my summary:

- libertarian in perspective, but subtle.
- funny, targeted at fence-sitting statists
- 5-6 full length articles/columns, a half dozen pictures and one paragraph articles
- archived issues
- feedback (a, did you think the article was funny, b, what's your score on the advocates for self government quiz?)
- whenever possible, specific to New Hampshire
- enough content for the first two issues (4 articles so far, any more on the way?)
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: jgilyeat on October 06, 2003, 08:57:12 am
it almost sounds like using modified Slashcode might work...
*srednop*

We should probably talk privately since it's now getting into implementation level details :)

-
J
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: alecmuller on October 08, 2003, 01:45:10 pm
Boston Shootings Down 8%, Gun Control May Be Working

Boston, MA – A report released today revealed that a tough new gun control law may actually be working.  According to the Boston Police Department's latest monthly crime statistics, shootings have dropped 8% in just one month.  The month before the law went into force and made it more difficult to own handguns, 82 Bostonians suffered gunshot wounds, 46 of them while attempting to rob other people’s homes and businesses.  In the following month, however, only 75 people were shot, of which 34 were attempting robbery.

Spokespeople from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence claim that although more study is needed, the statistics are proof that gun control can indeed reduce the overall number of shootings.


Relief is On the Way for Unemployed Mainers

Augusta, ME – Maine Governor John Baldacci signed a relief bill today that gives hope to tens of thousands of Mainers who are unemployed.  â€œI’m proud to approve this important piece of legislation,” Baldacci announced this morning as he signed the bill into law.  â€œAs unemployment continues to rise in Maine, it’s the responsibility of the state to help these people make ends meet until they can find a job.  This new law will increase weekly payouts by 4.5% over and above inflation, and will extend the time a person can collect unemployment by six weeks.  All of this will be made possible by a modest adjustment in the insurance premiums paid by businesses that have not yet gone belly up or moved to other states.”



Note:  If people have ideas for non-government related articles, let them rip!  When I look back at what we've got so far it seems to closely focused on the effect of laws.  It would be nice to have some non-legal ideas.
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: joe_m on October 08, 2003, 08:43:42 pm
Here is an idea for a name: "The Obedient Citizen." The domain name obedientcitizen.com is available, or was when last I checked.


Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: alecmuller on October 10, 2003, 03:00:02 pm
France Defends War in Senegal

Paris, France – French President Jacques Chirac spoke to supporters today to defend his administration’s war efforts in the African nation of Senegal.

“For decades the Senegalese regime has been an affront to freedom and democracy the world over.  Through the colonial era, the Second World War, the Cold War, and onward into present times, France has used military and economic force in an attempt to help these people govern themselves, but to no avail.  We have passed U.N. resolutions against them, invaded them, boycotted them, subsidized their enemies and even subsidized them, but our message is still falling on deaf ears.  They simply do not wish to accept our gifts of freedom.”

“While the refusal of Senegal to let us meddle in its affairs has always been a thorn in our collective sides, it did not appear to threaten national security before the fateful events of August 22nd.  The lesson from that day, which we will never forget, is that our enemies hate us and are willing to do what ever it takes to destroy us.  They hate us not because we meddle with their affairs to promote the French way of life, but because they are envious of this way of life.  This envy runs so deep that it has led them to resort to terrorism in the hope of destroying us.”

“I am here today to tell you that we will not let them win.  France will do what ever it takes to defend herself, the rest of the world be damned.  This March, when the Senegalese regime yet again flaunted our attempts to enlighten it through U.N. resolution 1789, we were left with no other option but to mount an invasion.  While there is no evidence to support a link between Senegal and August 22nd, the fact remains that they hate us and will not accept our help.  We were compelled strike preemptively because if evil regimes like the Senegalese ever become capable of threatening us then they will endanger our very right to impose our will on the world.  How could we invade other countries if they were actually capable of striking back?  We would be forced to abandon our interventionism to the detriment of freedom lovers everywhere.”

“Without France to bear the torch of freedom in the world, what would oppressed people do?  Would they overthrow corrupt regimes on their own as we did?  Maybe, but probably not.  Would they migrate to free countries?  No, we'd send them back to be slaughtered by their oppressors just like we do now.  While we truly care about the plight of the oppressed - let's be honest -  would you really want any of them living next door to you?  No, the only hope for oppressed people is for us to give them freedom, no matter how many bombs we need to drop to do it.”

Trump in Awe of Congress’ Business Savvy

New York, NY – In an interview earlier this week, famous financier Donald Trump unexpectedly expressed his envy for Congress’ ability to accurately predict winners and losers in the marketplace.

“The best measure of any investor is whether they’re able to earn attractive enough returns to get people to continue investing money with them.  By this measure, the Senators and Representatives in the U.S. Congress are hands-down the best investors on Earth,” he exclaimed with admiration.

“They must know something the rest of us don’t because they invest taxpayer dollars in places no banker would ever dream of putting them.”  He then went on to list numerous examples.  â€œI mean look at Amtrak or the U.S. Postal Service – how can they know these companies will make a killing?  Or all the farms they invest in.  Do you know they’ve purchased more than a billion pounds of dried milk to stockpile?  The instant that price shoots up they’ll sell it and make a bundle – they must really understand the market there.  Or investing in farming operations in North Dakota instead of South America where the weather is warmer and the labor is cheaper.  How about giving down payments to people who are deemed likely to default on their mortgages?  I would never have thought to put my money in these places!”

“Then there are the corporate bailouts.  Bankers look at a failing airline or an ailing steel mill and they say, ‘No way – we’d be throwing our money down the toilet when we could be investing in other businesses that will actually turn a profit and create jobs,’ but Congress says, ‘Yessireebob! This is just what the economy needs,’ and then do it.  Year after year they go on doing it, and year after year they convince taxpayers to give them more money to invest.    I read all the same reports they do, but I’m just not as good as they are when it comes to investment.  How do they do it?  What made them so smart?”
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: Dalamar49 on October 10, 2003, 03:49:18 pm
The France/Senegol is your best one yet! Playful way to satire the War in Iraq.  :D
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: alecmuller on October 11, 2003, 12:35:00 pm
Here is an idea for a name: "The Obedient Citizen." The domain name obedientcitizen.com is available, or was when last I checked.

Thanks a lot for the suggestion, but I was hoping for something a little more subtle.  The goal is to popularize libertarian view points, so I'd like to avoid drawing attention to my bias.  CNN and FoxNews, for instance, try to pose as mainstream and are very careful to avoid pointing out their own Left and Right biases.  While satyrically accurate, I'm worried that "The Obedient Citizen" might scare some potential fence-sitting statists away.

To be honest, I'd be happy with a completely non-descript name like "The Coos County Tribune" or my current personal favorite, "The Sandwich Times" (did you know there's a town of 1300 people called Sandwich, NH?).

Any other ideas for names?  Also, any ideas for non-political humor (I'd like to throw in a little bit just to keep attracting people who are luke-warm on political humor)?

Picture Quotes
Death Toll Mounts as Man on Sporking Spree Continues to Evade Police
Man Dismayed by Bank's Refusal to Accept Martian Property as Collateral
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: Top Dollar on October 11, 2003, 02:03:44 pm
Also, any ideas for non-political humor (I'd like to throw in a little bit just to keep attracting people who are luke-warm on political humor)?

There's plenty of room for parody in the commercial marketing drivel one sees everyday.  

Fast Foods:  a visual comparison of the inviting food seen served in the ads with what one actually receives at the restaurant.  When someone farts, I ask, "Did I hear someone say McDonalds?"

Auto Insurance:  a scene of some cops shaking down a motorist for loose change and kidnapping him with a narrator explaining that this is why you must do business with them.

There are many other examples where it can be pointed out using satire how marketing campaigns play on the herd mentality of the public, using public mind control techniques.
Quote
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: alecmuller on October 15, 2003, 12:11:07 pm
Proposed Constitutional Amendment “A Disaster Waiting to Happen”

Concord, NH – Opponents of a newly proposed state constitutional amendment have derided it as foolhardy and are campaigning strongly against it.  The amendment, which would limit both on- and off-budget state-level spending, has drawn the ire of both Democrats and moderate Republicans.

Growth of Government
a)   The ratio between the inflation-adjusted total state outlays and the state population may not exceed that same ratio for the previous year except with a 2/3 vote of the legislature.
b)   The ratio between the total state outlays and the gross state product may not exceed that same ratio for the previous year except with a ¾ vote of the legislature.


“In short,” says Dan Stilman, a leading opponent, “this amendment would allow small groups to hi-jack the process and prevent us from spending more of our neighbors’ money”

Stilman went on to explain the details of the new law.  â€œThe existing rules let us spend other people’s money with a simple majority vote of the legislature.  Under the new amendment we’d be limited to last year’s spending per person.  If we wanted more than that we’d need a 2/3 supermajority.  The first part of this amendment would make it so that it just 1/3 of our neighbors could say, “No” and stop us from spending more of their money.”

“But that’s not all,” he continued.  â€œIt gets worse.  Suppose we do get past the 2/3rds barrier and we want to expand the government faster than the economy.  That will be next to impossible, because the second part of the amendment allows a mere one quarter of the legislature to hi-jack the vote and prevent us from doing this.”

Proponents of the amendment say that it does nothing to prevent government from maintaining its current size and still allows plenty of room for growth when people genuinely desire it.  â€œThis amendment isn’t going to force the state to reduce services or get by with less money – even in inflation adjusted terms,” insists Tracy Medford.  â€œIt only makes it more difficult to expand services without widespread approval in the legislature.”

“For instance, say we’re spending $2000 per person per this year and inflation is 2%.  Next year we’ll still be able spend $2040 per person without needing any supermajorities.  If the economy has grown by 3% in real terms and we want to spend more money, then we’ll need a 2/3 vote the legislature to break the $2040 limit.  With a 2/3 vote, we will be able to spend up to $2100, expanding per capita spending by 3% in real terms.  We can still spend more than that if we really want to, but only with a ¾ vote.  Is it such a bad thing to have widespread approval when you take a larger slice of someone else’s pie?”

Stilman thinks so.  â€œThe backers of this amendment are trying to divert attention to ‘other people’s money’ when all they really want to do is stop government from growing.  Yes, it’s true that every dollar we spend through government is a dollar taken by force from us or our neighbors.  Get over it!  That’s how democracy works.  The real motive behind this amendment is to make it more difficult for us to expand the size of government and relieve more people of the unreasonable burden of personal responsibility.”
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: Zack Bass on October 15, 2003, 12:22:48 pm


“In short,” says Dan Stilman, a leading opponent, “this amendment would allow small groups to hi-jack the process and prevent us from spending more of our neighbors’ money.... Yes, it’s true that every dollar we spend through government is a dollar taken by force from us or our neighbors.  Get over it!  That’s how democracy works.  The real motive behind this amendment is to make it more difficult for us to expand the size of government and relieve more people of the unreasonable burden of personal responsibility.”


Dan Stilman is a wonderful opponent!  May I borrow him for my straw-man arguments?

The really neat thing about this amendment is, if we ever get a really good economy going, with massive deflation (more goods chasing fewer dollars), they will have to spend LESS each year, while productiviy skyrockets!  We get a positive-feedback situation.
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: Dalamar49 on October 15, 2003, 04:17:08 pm
The Sandwich Times sounds like your best bet. Its disarming and kinda funny. You could have a drawing of a half-eaten sandwich as your logo.
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: Mike Lorrey on October 15, 2003, 06:10:44 pm
Here is an idea for a name: "The Obedient Citizen." The domain name obedientcitizen.com is available, or was when last I checked.

Thanks a lot for the suggestion, but I was hoping for something a little more subtle.  

I'd suggest something like Peony.com (yeah, thats right Mr. Liberal, we named it after a flower....)
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: jgilyeat on October 15, 2003, 07:58:05 pm
Any of the nominated names works for me, but then, I'm not the guy who came up with the idea :)

So like, make a decision on the domainname already, Alec!

-
J
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: alecmuller on October 16, 2003, 08:35:47 am
Sandwich Times works for me - and I like the half-eaten sandwich idea.

At this point I'm waiting for other people to contribute articles, though, because I don't want to start up a web site if we've only got one or two writers (the issues would be spread further apart than I'd like).  When we've got a decent rate of articles coming in THEN I'll be ready to get started with a web site.

Thanks for all the comments!

p.s.
So far we've gotten 7 big articles and 2 small ones in two weeks.  If I can keep the same pace I've had so far, we'll need 2 large articles and 4 small ones per week from other people, as well as as a smattering of graphical ones (pictures with quotes, man on the street questions, infographics, etc) to meet the goals I set earlier (5-6 full length articles/columns, a half dozen pictures and one paragraph articles per week).
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: alecmuller on October 16, 2003, 12:15:02 pm
Opinion

Drug Companies Spend More on Advertising Than Research
The greedy drug companies complain that making them lower prices will force them to spend less money on research.  That’s complete nonsense, because they’re already spending more money on advertising than they do on research!

The truth of the matter is that drug companies don’t care how much people have to pay for their products and only care about how much profit they make.  Think about it - if you’re a drug company and you spend more money on advertising than on research, which one makes more money for you?  That’s right – advertising.  Because you only care about profits, you've already shifted money from research toward advertising right up until the point where the marginal benefit is the same for both of them.  Now suppose someone forced you to lower prices and cut spending on one of those two, which one are you going to cut back on?  That’s right – advertising, the one that’s more profitable.  

The drug companies are just trying to use scare tactics here, and there’s no reason why forcing them to lower prices would result in less research.

- Jay Mazzella, Keene, NH



<<<What do you guys think - is this one too subtle or hard to follow?>>>
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: alecmuller on October 17, 2003, 06:08:02 pm
Mainstream Media Becoming Increasingly Difficult to Parody

Milwaukee, WI - Carol Kolb, editor-in-chief of the prestigious news source “The Onion™” lamented earlier today that television newscasters are becoming more and more challenging to caricature.  â€œIn the old days it was as easy as taking a normal story and twisting it just a little bit to make it off-the-wall.” Kolb explained.  â€œBut now-a-days the regular news sources are making such bass-ackwards statements that they’re not leaving much room for parody.  Just the other day I saw CNN’s Lou Dobbs report on a how foreign engineering students were inundating U.S. universities so they could find work here and needed to be restricted.  Then in the very next breath he lamented a forecasted shortage of engineering and technical people in the U.S. and went on to say the government needed to do something about it.  Stories like this are becoming the norm lately, but viewers are eating them up without batting an eyelash.  How in Hell are we supposed to parody them?”
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: mattbarney on October 18, 2003, 08:09:42 am
Great ideas.  I'd love to see this funny paper not only reach out to liberty-leaning New Hampsters  but also help recruit non FSP'ers into the fold....especially those who haven't heard about it yet.....after all, there's still ~15K to go... :)
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: alecmuller on October 18, 2003, 09:08:52 am
Ashcroft Urges Jail Time for Limbaugh
Washington, DC – U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft gave a speech earlier today saying that his department would see to it that Limbaugh would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“It is a sad day when as great a promoter of the War on Drugs as Rush Limbaugh is found to have been breaking the law to support his own addiction to prescription pain-killers.  I’m speaking here today, however, to reaffirm that we Drug Warriors are not hypocrites.  We will show no favoritism for Limbaugh – he will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and will be treated no differently than the President’s niece, Hollywood actors or poor kids from the ghettos.  We stand by our principles.”
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: Mike Lorrey on October 19, 2003, 01:47:55 pm
Drug Legalization Advocate Says Jail for Limbaugh

POTSDAM - Drug legalization advocate and noted liberal Al Franken declared today that Rush Limbaugh should go to jail because, "he's not smart enough, he's not fat enough, and gosh darn it, I don't like him." When asked about his left wing preference for going soft on crime he replied, "Thats only for oppressed and disadvantaged minorities who have been exploited by America for hundreds of years. Whites should be punished twice as hard as minorities, especially whites that insist on a color blind world."

Franken's sentiment seems to be sweeping the celebrity world. Actress/director/singer/democrat/anti-gunner Barbara Streisand was quoted, as she was picking a friend up at the Betty Ford Clinic, as saying,"He should be put up against a wall and shot."

Senator Hillary Rodham explains that it isn't that he is an addict, but "he's a hypocrite". Hypocrisy is apparently the only crime that offends liberals. Senator Diane Feinstein said that "it would be like if a Democrat voted against firearms ownership but carried a concealed pistol."
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: alecmuller on October 23, 2003, 04:02:49 pm
State Senator Wants to Drive Harder Bargain When Selling Out Constitution

Concord, NH – State Senator Andrew Peterson (R-District 11) has a problem with New Hampshire’s efforts to secure federal highway funding:  he says we’re not demanding enough money.

“As most of you probably know,” he explained, “the U.S. Constitution prevents our Federal government from passing certain laws.  Some of these laws, however, can still legally be enacted by individual states.  When Congress wants to pass such a law, it collects taxes from everyone – gasoline taxes, for instance – and then gives them back to the states that agree to pass the laws for them.”

“Congress can’t force the states to sell out, but – as a practical matter – all of them do.  Most of them, in fact, sell out for a lot less than they could get if they just drove harder bargains.  I mean, let’s be realistic here, we’re helping to make end-runs around the supreme law of the land.  We’re selling out part of the document that made us who we are – a document that’s been widely copied and is the envy of the world.  We’re selling a piece of our very souls, and all for piddling $70 per person per year.  Don’t you think we could drive up the price just a bit?  I mean, $80 or a $100 per year – that might be worth selling out for – but $70?”

“If Congress really HAD to have the authority to pass these laws, then why didn’t they just get an amendment passed to make it nice and legit?  Why are they going through the back door, and why are we taking such pitiful kick-backs for letting them in through it?”  

“I want the money for roads just as badly as everyone else does, so I’m not suggesting we stop selling out.  I just think we need to drive a harder bargain.”
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: Mike Lorrey on October 23, 2003, 06:12:15 pm
Rummy Gets Chummy on War

Pentagon City, VA - Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was the center of a firestorm of controversy today in and around the beltway over a classified memo written by him that was leaked to the press. The memo asks a number of questions that, in a context only the press can manufacture, appears to call the whole war effort in Iraq, the War on Terrorism, as well as the War on Senility, into question.

An excerpt from this memo: "Do we know why we fight? Do we know how strong our might? Can this battle here be won, or is it we're just having fun?" The memo goes on to question whether a Department of Defense is capable of winning a war or whether some 'new organization' would need to be created.

When questioned about this memo, the Secretary said that he has been consulting with noted consultant on introspection, Dr. Seuss, who he was introduced to by his 2 year old grand-daughter, and that the good Doctor is a likely candidate to head any new organization that would take 'truly brave moves' to finish the war with innovative technologies like the fearsome Snuffa-whompa-whack-a-puss weapons system, which as any school child knows really packs a punch.
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: alecmuller on October 24, 2003, 04:48:33 pm
Lobbying Group Searches for Best Way to Discourage Personal Responsibility

Washington, DC – For decades the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA) has nobly defended unlucky people.   Their lobbying has helped forge a legal system that looks out for genuine victims of fraud and dumb-asses alike.  Some of their most heartwarming legal successes in fact – such as the aviation lawsuit that single-handedly wiped out domestic light aircraft production for more than a decade – are legendary.

Recent victories against the tobacco industry have been a godsend to people stupid enough not to realize that cigarettes can kill you, and current suits against fast food franchises and gun-makers are offering hope to others who want to blame their problems on people with money.

In spite of all their successes – or perhaps because of them – one question remains:  What else can be done to discourage personal responsibility?

The opinions of experts are varied.  â€œI think there’s a lot of room left for improvement in medicine,” posed one man who wished to remain anonymous.  â€œWe’ve done a great job of making it easier for patients to get huge settlements from doctors who aren’t perfect, but medical costs are rising so fast that a lot of people can’t afford to see a doctor at all now.  I think we should get laws passed that hold doctors liable for the suffering of people who can’t afford to see them.”

Some are downright creative. “Unemployment is disturbingly high among young people,” outlined another anonymous man. “Schools are also doing a deplorable job of educating, and I think there’s a connection.  What we really need to do is pass laws that encourage people sue their alma mater when they can’t seem to find a job.”

Others still want to focus on improving the very foundation of our legal system – contracts themselves.  â€œLegal contracts have gotten so complicated that the average person isn’t capable of understanding any of them,” stated yet another anonymous man.  â€œStupid people are just crap out of luck.  I think what we really need to push for is a law that will let people renegotiate their contracts unilaterally after-the-fact when they can demonstrate inadequate intelligence or expertise to actually understand them in the first place.”

No matter what the future of our civil justice system holds, one thing is certain:

It will be someone else’s fault.

p.s. Thanks a lot to Mike Lorry and others for contributing!
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: joe_m on October 24, 2003, 07:50:10 pm
President Bush Unveils Plan to Create New “Department to Combat Mattress Tag Cutters”

It has long been known that the most serious crime in America today is the removal of mattress tags that say "Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Law." This crime has caused more damage to society than any other atrocity. (This includes such horrors as using recreational drugs - other than tobacco and alcohol- , prostitution, pornography, homosexuality, masturbation - and other sinful enjoyment of sex -, gambling, listening to Rock 'n’ Roll, watching television, eating desert, and use of guns in self defense -when everyone knows that such an act should be left to our mental and moral superiors who work for the government.) Needless to say, this horrible crime is far worse than such minor nuisances as murder, rape, and armed robbery.

So, to respond this severe threat to democracy, President Bush has called together a panel of experts on morality (including John Ashcroft, Janet Reno, Ed Meese, John Walters, Barry McCaffrey, Bill Bennett, Jim Baker, Jimmy Swaggart, Rush Limbaugh, and all of the members of _The Association of Catholic Priest and Bishop Pederasts_). This panel will determine appropriate methods of torture for the evildoers who cut the tags off mattresses. It will work toward building public support for laws that promote early release for violent criminals (in order to make more room in prisons for mattress tag cutters). And, finally, it will work toward firmly establishing the link between mattress tag cutting and terrorism, so that law-abiding citizens know that persecuting their mattress-tag-cutting neighbors is their patriotic duty.
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: joe_m on October 24, 2003, 09:08:01 pm
D'OH! Should have said "eating dessert"! (Damn that spell check and its inability to determine context).  

Well, I guess eating desert, could be another way of supporting the dirty, smelly sand-monkeys, unless, of course, its one of our domestic American deserts (e.g. The Great Basin Desert or The Mojave Desert).
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: Karl on October 24, 2003, 09:19:00 pm
D'OH! Should have said "eating dessert"! (Damn that spell check and its inability to determine context).  

You can fix it by clicking on the "modify" button above your post.
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: joe_m on October 24, 2003, 09:47:23 pm
Thanks Carl!

I decided not to modify the "desert/dessert" mistake, since my follow-up post, and your follow-up to that wouldn't make sense to new readers, but I did change "Doug Bennett" to "Bill Bennett" (Doug Bennett was a dude I went to high school with, don't know WTF I was thinking when I mistook him for our former high-rolling Drug Commissar!)
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: alecmuller on October 27, 2003, 02:19:53 pm
Local Employee Bargains with Boss for Economic Hardship Package

Laconia, NH – Roy Ferland, an attendant at a local Texaco station, held an open hearing with Frank Jeffers (his manager) this Tuesday to make his case for an economic hardship package.

“Revenue has remained stagnant the last several years,” he lamented, “while expenditures are up 8% per annum.  Unforeseen circumstances (including some rust work for my Pinto and rate hike on the credit card I used for my spending spree last Christmas) have resulted in unavoidable cost increases.  While my investments in off-track gambling have yet to pay off, I’m confident that a modest funding increase will allow me to reap a windfall.  In addition to these expenses I have my regular rent and bar tabs to pay, so you can see why you and I must come to an agreement on this package or face cutbacks in essential services.”

Ferland went on to propose two alternatives.  â€œFirst, we could agree to a modest rate increase of say 50 cents an hour.  Alternatively, you could expand my personal line of credit (say, from zero to $500), thereby increasing my debt ceiling.  While I personally find the first option more attractive, I would be perfectly satisfied with the second and am also willing to entertain alternatives.  Working together, I'm confident that you and I can get through these financially difficult times.”

Jeffers reportedly smiled, gave Ferland a pink slip, and cautioned him not to let the door hit his ass on the way out.
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: joe_m on October 27, 2003, 06:10:01 pm
Alec:

The "Local Employee Bargains with Boss …" article was an excellent depiction of the contrast between the government and the average working stiff, until the last sentence.  Had Jeffers merely laughed at and ridiculed Ferland, Ferland would have learned the bitter truth that, unlike Master Government, he cannot have more money simply because he thinks he needs it. However, by _firing_ Ferland, Jeffers completely reversed the situation.

Now, with the help of any lawyer who advertises on daytime TV, or the back of the phone book, Ferland can have as much of Jeffers' money as he wants. Jeffers, by issuing the pink slip, discriminated against whatever protected group Ferland is a member of (assuming Ferland is a white, heterosexual male under 40, he _must_ have _some_ condition that a good psychologist or psychiatrist could classify as a disability).  Besides, Jeffers sexually harassed Ferland with his comments about the door hitting him in the ass (any references to the posterior are sexual in the eyes of the courts).

Joe.
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: alecmuller on October 27, 2003, 07:04:50 pm
Alec:

The "Local Employee Bargains with Boss …" article was an excellent depiction of the contrast between the government and the average working stiff, until the last sentence.  Had Jeffers merely laughed at and ridiculed Ferland, Ferland would have learned the bitter truth that, unlike Master Government, he cannot have more money simply because he thinks he needs it. However, by _firing_ Ferland, Jeffers completely reversed the situation.

Now, with the help of any lawyer who advertises on daytime TV, or the back of the phone book, Ferland can have as much of Jeffers' money as he wants. Jeffers, by issuing the pink slip, discriminated against whatever protected group Ferland is a member of (assuming Ferland is a white, heterosexual male under 40, he _must_ have _some_ condition that a good psychologist or psychiatrist could classify as a disability).  Besides, Jeffers sexually harassed Ferland with his comments about the door hitting him in the ass (any references to the posterior are sexual in the eyes of the courts).

Joe.


Ha!  Thanks for the comments Joe.  I've realized after a few articles that I'd like to focus on the irrefutable hypocracies in our culture that are glaring to us but aren't necessarily apparent to fence-sitters.  Any suggestions that will help my articles do a better job of driving these views home are welcome.

Here's an alternate ending:

Jeffers reportedly declined Ferland's proposals but did suggest an alternative.  "I offered you extra shifts just last week but you turned them down," he deadpanned.  "If you want more money, work harder and make yourself useful to the business.  If you think you can make more money at Irving or Cumbie's, go for it, because we'll get along here just fine without you."
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: joe_m on October 28, 2003, 07:15:04 am

Here's an alternate ending:

Jeffers reportedly declined Ferland's proposals but did suggest an alternative.  "I offered you extra shifts just last week but you turned them down," he deadpanned.  "If you want more money, work harder and make yourself useful to the business.  If you think you can make more money at Irving or Cumbie's, go for it, because we'll get along here just fine without you."

I like it!

Joe.
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: alecmuller on October 28, 2003, 11:12:14 am
Mainers to Choose How to Fund Public Schools

Augusta, ME – The off-year election is just a week away, and Mainers will vote on a number of ballot issues.  While the possibility of an Indian Casino has drawn the most attention, proponents of two competing tax measures are vying to change how Maine public schools are funded.

Question 1 gives three alternatives.  The first increases the fraction of public school funding that comes from the state to 55% (up from 43%), the second does the same thing but phased in over a five year period, and the third is simply “no” to the first two.

Proponents of the first two measures are selling them as tax reforms.  Art Mayo, a spokesperson for 1A, contends that shifting money from the property-tax pocket (local funding) to the income-tax pocket (state funding) will reduce Maine’s high tax burden.  â€œI’m confident that we’ll see real tax reform with the passage of 1A.  Towns will be flush with cash once they’re relieved of a portion of school funding, and I’m certain that they’ll use that money to lower taxes and not just spend it on something else.  In addition, I’m sure the state will have no problem absorbing the added cost without raising income taxes.  Finally, I’m confident that these funds will come without strings attached, and that the state won’t demand additional control over schools just because they’re footing the bill.”

Godfrey Wood, head of the campaign for 1B, partially disagrees.  â€œ1A will actually increase our tax burden, because it will change funding sources too quickly.  The true road to tax reform is to do this same thing only more slowly, and without the frills.  You can’t trust politicians to lower taxes or reduce spending when you change their funding levels all at once, but if you do it slowly, then yeah, they’re honest and do the right thing.”  Wood was also confident that towns would not be giving up control over their schools.

Bob Stone, the one man foolish enough to campaign for 1C, contends that 1A and 1B will hurt both education and the state’s overall tax burden.  â€œNeither of these proposals offers real reform.  How is transferring the funding source of education away from the town level and toward the state level going to increase accountability in our public schools?  How is moving money from one tax source to another going to reduce our tax burden?  Maine needs both education and tax reform, but that doesn’t change the fact that 1A and 1B are both BAD ideas.”
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: Rearden on October 28, 2003, 03:48:52 pm
Congress Admits Existence of Giant Warehouse of Health, Socialists Rejoice

Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) announced at a press conference today that Congress does indeed possess a large warehouse full of health.  This amazing fact directly contradicts the repeated denials of various members of Congress of the existence of such a stockpile.  Supporters of socialized healthcare rejoiced at the news.  

“I knew they were lying!  I knew they were holding back the people’s health from them!” shouted a jubilant Robert McCloskey, of Eugene, Oregon,“Finally, our right to health will be acknowledged.”  â€œNo more going to Canada and Britain for high-quality healthcare,” agreed Joanne Martin, of Silver Spring, Maryland, “Now I’ll be able to get my needed treatments right here in the USA, the way God intended.”

In a solemn tone, Senator Sarbanes admitted what American socialists have suspected all along.  â€œYes,” he said, “we have been stockpiling health for over four decades, just for ourselves.”  As everyone knows, health grows on the magic Healthber tree, native to the Cypress Swamps of Louisiana and long thought extinct in the US.  When asked why Congress has kept the warehouse full of Healthber trees and their fruit a secret, Sarbanes responded, “To be frank, we’ve been so busy hiding our nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain and building the new Paisley line of the DC Metro that we plum forgot about it.  Hell, we hardly ever read the bills anyway – most of Congress probably never knew it was there.”  

The 100 million units of health will be disbursed starting on the first of the year, according to Sarbanes.  Those seeking the share of health to which they are entitled must fill out two sets of forms in triplicate, have them countersigned by a doctor and their senator, and then appear at the warehouse of health in Topeka, Kansas on the third Tuesday of each month between the hours of 2:30 pm and 3:00 pm.  The warehouse will be closed for inventorying the health from June through September.  
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: alecmuller on October 31, 2003, 12:49:19 pm
Naïve Local Man Confused By Permitting Laws

Burlington, VT – Local property owner Andrew Borrett just didn’t understand the law.

Last week the unlucky man decided to cut down a tree he thought was his.  â€œI’ve wanted more sun on my front lawn for years, so I finally got around to cutting that big shade tree down.”

Little did he know, however, that the tree actually belonged to Society.

It wasn’t long before a neighbor noticed the missing tree and reported it to city code enforcement officer Frank Coderre.  â€œThe city law is very clear on this,” Coderre maintained, “trees inside the city within sight of a public road can only be cut down with a permission slip from the city.  This way the city maintains control over the appearance of its properties.”

But Borrett didn’t seem to understand.  â€œI thought I owned my house and yard and the trees in it.  I have a deed that says so, and I pay taxes on them.  Don’t property rights mean that you control what you own?  Did that tree belong to me or someone else?”

Coderre was happy to enlighten him.  â€œYour confusion is understandable – we actually get this all the time.  When a deed says you own a piece of land, that’s really more of a property privilege than a property right.  Property rights do determine who controls a piece of land, but individual people don’t have them – Society does.  Society decides who can use properties by giving deeds to people, and it decides how they may use them by passing laws.  These laws are privileges, and the privilege to cut down a tree in your front yard is a perfect example.”

Borrett, unfortunately, was unable to hide his disgust.  â€œYou mean to tell me that we live in the freest country in the world and we’re not even allowed to own private property?  Is this some kind of a joke?”

“No, no, not at all,” Coderre replied.  â€œYou’re perfectly welcome believe that you ‘own’ your land if it makes you happy – that’s one of your privileges.”
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: alecmuller on October 31, 2003, 01:57:34 pm
Hey web-savvy people!  I've got an idea and I'd like feedback on how much work/money it will take to set it up:

The Onion does not accept submissions from readers, so I'd like to start up a site that does.  On top of that, readers will be free to choose between a variety of different editors.

We'll have one web site where we post all of the articles.  Anyone who wants to (free stater or not) can post an article as long as they've either written it themselves or gotten permission from the author.  All restrictions on use of the article (such as which editors can use it and whether they can make changes) must be made at the time of posting.

Anyone who wants to be an editor can sign up for an account.  Editors get their own page and complete control over it.  They decide which articles to use and can edit them (subject to the restrictions made by the posters) as they see fit.

The main page will be nothing more than an explanation, a link to the forum where articles are posted, links to the pages for individual editors, and advertisements.  We'll also have ads on each of the editor's pages.

In the beginning, I'll pay all the monthly costs and collect all (if any) advertising dollars.  If it stays small-scale we'll leave it at that.  If it catches on then we'll figure out how to allocate ad dollars (maybe I'll give editors money to keep them on the site and editors will give authors money to let them use their articles? who knows, we'll see).

What do you all think?  Does this exist somewhere else?  Would you read, write/edit-for something like this?
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: alecmuller on November 03, 2003, 02:01:21 pm
Respectful Man Would Rather Live in Grinding Poverty than Break Canada’s Laws

St. Albans, VT – Earnest Smith may be poor, but at least he’s a law abiding citizen.

Like many Vermonters, he works 12 hours a day, six days a week in a machiadora just south of the border for about fifty dollars a month.  Smith and his wife and oldest son have worked there for 6, 5 and 2 years respectively.  While the pay is pitiful by Canadian standards, it’s a princely wage in this impoverished region, and they hope to soon find a position for their younger son.  The wages and conditions in non-Canadian-run factories are even worse.

In their city, crime runs rampant and everyone is poor.  The judges and the police are owned by the mafia, and entrepreneurs must make a series of bribes before starting their businesses.  Unemployment is widespread, and many young people are turning to drugs and prostitution.

Conditions are so desperate, in fact, that some even pay ‘coyotes’ to smuggle them across the border into Canada where they hope to make a better life.  Experts estimate that as many as 5 million Americans are living and working in Canada illegally.

“The come here only for jobs,” decries Jacques Lafayette, spokesperson for the Canadian Alliance Against Immigration.  â€œAnd many of them never leave Ontario and don’t even want to learn French.  They come and they make use of our social welfare and are off the books so they don’t pay taxes.  And to top it all off, they have no respect for our laws because they begin breaking them immediately just by crossing the border.”

Some Americans cross the border illegally, but most, like Smith, have principles and stick to them.  While he would like nothing more than to work in Canada, he is insistent about going through the proper channels.  â€œI’m going to take the official route,” he told us in English.  â€œno matter how long it takes.”

“When I get there and I’m looking for work, I’m going to turn down everything that’s less than going rate for native Canadians, even if it means turning down a job that pays 5 times what I earn now and not being able to find anything.  It’s very important to me that I don’t drive down wages for native Canadians, after all.  I’ll also learn French and try to adopt the French way of life even though there are plenty of opportunities in English-speaking Canadian communities where I would feel much more at home.”

“Because I’ll be there legally,” he continued, “I’ll be paying taxes to help support their social welfare system.  But I’m also proud, so I won’t accept handouts from that system, even from the people whose job it is to sign me up for handouts.  I know they’ll hound me like they hound everyone else because they need people to sign up in order to keep their jobs, but I’ll turn them down just because I don’t want to be a burden to society.”

Finally, Smith was adamant about going through the proper channels.  â€œI have a great deal of respect for Canada’s laws, so I’m determined to go through the official immigration process even if it takes 10 years longer or never happens at all.   My family will remain living in grinding poverty for that time, but hey, it’s either take care of them or obey Canada’s restrictive and bureaucratic immigration laws, and my family just isn’t as important to me.”
Title: Re:An Onion in the Free State
Post by: Kyle on November 03, 2003, 05:50:30 pm
Man Confused by Liberty

Keene, NH - Life has been difficult for local resident Gary Bulgar lately.  It seems that he doesn't know how to live his life following the new changes brought about by the Free State Project.

"I mean, what am I supposed to do?", he wondered aloud.  "Should I wear my seatbelt or not?  Should I smoke marijuana?  Should I own a gun?  These are decisions the government used to make for me and having to make them myself has been very difficult."

Gary is not alone.  Many New Hampshire residents have expressed difficulty making decisions that were formerly made for them by the government.  The Free State Project brought over 20,000 liberty-minded individuals to New Hampshire, which was shortly followed by a reduction in size and scope of the government on both the local and state level.  Free State Project Members defend their goal, suggesting that New Hampshire residents now have a greater degree of flexibility in their lives.

"People are now free to do as they please in New Hampshire", said Free State Project member Harold Schultz.  "A person can do anything he likes, so long as he doesn't infringe on the rights of others."

Bulgar says that he isn't sure how much longer he can cope with this new development.  "Its just so hard", he said.  "Maybe I'll move to Massachussetts.  I hear they just passed some massive taxes on tobacco and alcohol."