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10 Reasons Dennis Rodman Visits North Korea

15 Jan

North Korea is having a tough 2014. Not only do they have Frontline on their case, but they’ve been reduced to using a basketball celebrity as a PR tool—again. The Maximum Know-How team is convinced that there’s more to these odd visits than just money changing hands, so we’ve devised some possible explanations for Rodman’s visits to the secret state.

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  1. Rodman is going through the interview process to replace uncle Jang Song Thaek, the recently executed second-in-command.
  2. The visits are actually a U.S. State Department conspiracy to trick Kim Jong Un into promoting Rodman as a role model for North Korean youth, thereby destroying the nation’s hope for a future.
  3. It’s all a North Korean ploy to scare its youth into rapt obedience to the regime: “THIS is what you’ll look and act like unless Kim Jong Un protects you!”
  4. Rodman is acting as an emissary for NBA commissioner David Stern, who is on the lookout for a host-city franchise expansion opportunity.
  5. Someone in Rodman’s camp keeps confusing “North Korea” with “North Carolina” when booking travel arrangements.
  6. Rodman is auditioning to become a UN Goodwill Ambassador in the hope of meeting fellow-ambassador Angelina Jolie.
  7. Rodman is actually a talent scout for the next K-Pop superstar.
  8. The fees paid to Rodman and his fellow b-ballers actually come from South Korea, because promoting these ridiculous visits is the only way Seoul can get the American public, press, and politicians to pay attention to this international threat.
  9. Kim Jong Un has always been a great fan of Rodman’s boa collection.
  10. Rodman never has to worry about his “friend for life” calling him “the worm.”

Secret Details of the Iranian Nuclear Treaty

26 Nov

What the Mullahs and the P5+1 don’t want you to know.

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After decades of deadlock and distrust, the country of Iran has signed an international agreement to limit its nuclear program in exchange for lightened economic sanctions. Fearing it’s just a sinister plot by hardline Islamists to drive up the price of oil, the Maximum Know-How team dug into the shocking political trade-offs hidden in the fine print.

Twelve Surprising Requirements of the Iranian Treaty

  1. Iran will finally get its own version of American Idol.
  2. It turns out that several popular revolutionary slogans and terms like “The Great Satan” are registered trademarks of the U.S. State Department, and Iran must henceforth pay licensing fees for their use in government-approved propaganda, religious tracts, candidate marketing, t-shirts, etc.
  3. For the next 10 years, the global press has to blame someone besides Iran for political instability in the Middle East. Someone like… Belgium.
  4. Hezbollah may continue representing itself as a social services charity, but must clearly indicate—on packaging, collateral, advertising, televised messages, press releases, websites, office premises, funeral placards, etc.—a sort of “Surgeon General’s Warning” along the lines of “Hezbollah seeks the obliteration of Israel, the destruction of the United States, and the spiteful murder of anyone who disagrees with us.”
  5. The Korean cultural attaché must guarantee free Iranian access to the latest releases by PSY, Girls’ Generation, and other global K-Pop acts.
  6. Iranian leaders don’t have to touch female foreign diplomats during state visits.
  7. The Iranian president is still allowed to use the future perfect verb tense when referring to Israel (“When the hated Zionists will have succumbed to us in World Cup qualifying…”).
  8. Iranian political leaders must pass an accredited Religious Tolerance 101 class and all other world leaders must pass a history class about the Western Crusades into the Middle East. Just so everyone has some perspective.
  9. The Iranian government must subsidize its own domestic women’s organizations, such as the Society of Women Against Twerking (SWAT), Excitable Revelers for the Ayatollah (ERA), and the Ladies’ Extremely Trustworthy Middle Eastern Division of Religious Independence and Vehicular Equality (LETMEDRIVE).
  10. International trade regulations must be modified to help Iranian manufacturers enter the global market (for program specifics, contact the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology or the Persian Camel-Hair Carpet Weavers Local 409).
  11. President Rouhani must ask permission prior to nuking neighboring countries (yeah, you know who we’re talking about). Plus, Iraq and Afghanistan are totally off limits until world opinion no longer holds America responsible for what happens there.
  12. The most impoverished class of citizens in Tehran must register with the healthcare exchange before March 31, 2014, or face severe fines.

The Truth Behind the Shutdown

16 Oct

The REAL reasons why the government is shut down.

StudioC

 

So you think our government shutdown is merely an ideological standoff between power-hungry politicians dressing up their own shameless self-promotion as public service? Preposterous. While it’s clear that our elected leaders are stalling, it’s time we moved beyond simple-minded insults to realize the truth behind the drama in Washington.

What’s REALLY Behind the Government Shutdown

  1. They’re holed up in senate conference rooms watching Studio C sketches, and just can’t pull themselves away.
  2. Because they were so caught up in figuring out the budget, hunting season crept up on them and they were too busy to buy their licenses or tags. The shutdown puts the game wardens nicely out of the picture, at least until our congressional leaders can poach enough elk for the winter.
  3. Both sides of the aisle are racing to falsify an evidence trail that clearly demonstrates that the other side is planning a terrorist attack on American soil to justify their policies. They had a hard time finishing when they only had nights and weekends to work on it.
  4. By keeping federal employees out of their offices, they are holding back the dam on an alien body-snatcher invasion long enough to upload a virus to the mother ship’s mainframe computer.
  5. They’re putting the final touches on a complex international relations deal that will resolve the Syrian civil war, ease Iranian nuclear ambitions, reduce Egyptian street anger, stop polar glacial melt, restore Tim Tebow to greatness, eradicate Chinese smog, reestablish European financial stability, and salvage Miley Cyrus’s career—and no doubt net each member of congress a Nobel Prize for either peace, science, or economics.
  6. They’re testing the emotional stamina of the electorate to see how long the government can be closed before citizens do something besides complain. Once the riots start, expect to see a speedy resolution. Then, following an in-depth consultation with their masters in Beijing and completion of a predetermined waiting period, expect another shutdown during the end of December. With everyone focused on the holiday season, the takeover will be quick and seamless.
  7. James Bond movie marathon during office hours. Be patient: they’re almost done.
  8. In an effort to squash discussions of concussion damage in the NFL, a special legislative committee is hashing out whether to change the Washington Redskins’ name to something more politically appropriate, like the Washington Gender Neutrals.
  9. To improve their social awareness, they’re all taking this opportunity to change religions and trade racial identities.
  10. They’re hammering out a last-minute investment deal that promises to balance the budget in fewer than three years and actually produce a budget surplus by 2020. In fact, insiders suggest that the negotiations with federal investment consultant Bernie Madoff are “escalating.”
  11. Members of the congressional appropriations committee wanted to minimize the crowds during their preplanned fact-finding mission to Yellowstone National Park. Plus, they get a cut of the fines collected from people who want a quick look at all the beautiful places that belong to all of us as a nation—or so we thought.
  12. A well-armed Republican delegation is blocking the doors until the Democrats are willing to a) read aloud the entire text of the Health Care Reform Act and then b) explain what it says.

Back-to-School Special: Operation “Do Something Else”

29 Aug

Ten ways to distract the Pentagon from Syria.

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Good heavens, the Pentagon is preparing to invade yet another Middle Eastern country already besieged by corruption, violence, religious conflict, and terrorism. Can’t they think of anything better to do with our military forces? No? Well, I can.

 Ten things the Pentagon can do instead of invading Syria:

  1. Take another crack at Afghanistan to see if the country improves with yet another invasion by a world power. Eighteenth time’s the charm, right?
  2. Ship the troops to the Mountain West states to help put out the 30-odd wildfires raging there.
  3. Send a crack squad of “negotiators” to Arab League headquarters to convince them to deal with their own member states and not to blame the U.S. for whatever does or does not happen there.
  4. Guard our nation’s elementary schools (against, for example, One Direction merchandise).
  5. Focus on decreasing its budget from “colossal” to merely “gigantic.”
  6. Practice some special ops maneuvers on crack houses—they can start on the one down the street from me.
  7. Conduct a surprise invasion of a politically stable ally, just for fun.
  8. Rescue those people still stranded in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.
  9. Consult congress before starting another war—even if they insist on labeling it as merely an “operation,” “maneuver,” or “intervention.”
  10. Play a few rounds of RISK or Axis & Allies to satiate their hunger for conquest.

Back-to-School Special: The Fading Buzz

27 Aug

Top reasons the planet’s bees are dying. 

 Julian has the truth

We’re celebrating back-to-school week here at Maximum Know-How by spinning some fresh perspective out of the depressing headlines of recent weeks. In yesterday’s post, we avoided discussing how mental illness has nothing to do with cross-gender identification (unless making that link reduces your prison sentence), and today we move on to a global environmental crisis that you can do nothing about.

Seven Possible Reasons the Bees Are Dying

  1. It’s a CIA plot to instigate war with Iran.  
  2. I keep running over them with my lawn mower.
  3. They don’t have a decent PR rep, social media platform, or even celebrity backers.
  4. Bob Woodward turned stolen internal records into a scandalous tell-all called The Private Hive. Now the bees with any sense of dignity are too ashamed to leave the apiary.
  5. Since the 2008 recession, the board of directors for Global Bee, Inc., has been dramatically cutting staff to raise the market value of services, thereby increasing stock return.
  6. Bee populations have declined in direct proportion to the widening prevalence of paint-by-number teen-pop music. If you catch our drift.
  7. We are witnessing the throes of a vicious union labor dispute, wherein wasps are moving in on major pollen-gathering operations. The true details of the “missing” bees is actually pretty unpleasant. 

20 Random Things to Have an Opinion About

12 Mar

20 questions, volume 1

Are you a conversational pushover? Do loud, obnoxious people give you grief about not being able to hold your own in a serious discussion? Are you looking for obscure issues to have concrete opinions about, so you can trick people into thinking you have intellectual depth?

Maximum Know-How is here for you, with this premier edition of 20 issues—some of them even currently relevant—that you can think about now so that you’re ready with a snappy observation should the topic ever arise in a social setting.

  1. Most dangerous: Iran or- North Korea?
  2. Least trustworthy: China –or- Russia?
  3. Lance Armstrong: Devious jerk –or- moral leper?
  4. Whose Line is back: Are you “ecstatic” –or- “euphoric”?
  5. Pepper Pots –or- Natasha Romanoff?
  6. Obamacare: President’s sincere attempt to improve our healthcare system –or- pushing wholesale socialism with his eyes wide shut?
  7. Bee Gees –or- Beach Boys?
  8. Rotten Tomatoes –or- IMDB?
  9. Loss of Olympic wrestling: IOC corruption –or- cultural shift?
  10. Doctor Whoor- Downton Abbey?
  11. Joe Flacco’s $120.6 million contract: Totally worth it –or- Totally ludicrous?
  12. Sequester: Typical political grandstanding –or- Brilliant, under-the-counter way for both sides to cut the budget drastically while getting to blame the other party?
  13. A-Rod’s fading career: End of an era –or- It’s about time?
  14. Adele’s “Skyfall” wins Oscar: Best Bond tune ever –or- Academy’s 50th b-day gift to the franchise?
  15. Arnold Schwarzenegger: Hang ‘em up –or- keep on shooting?
  16. Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster: A bold statement for civil rights –or- “I thought his name was Ron Paul”?
  17. Pixar: Death throes –or- just in a rut?
  18. More Bourne –or- more Mission: Impossible?
  19. New pope: Heavenly selection –or- political appointment?
  20. Daily Show’s Stewart going on hiatus: The man needs a vacation from fake news –or- What do you mean it’s not real?

How to Fix the Healthcare Crisis

26 Feb

12 tactics for reining in an out-of-control industry: 

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After reading Steven Brill’s engaging/appalling Time magazine article, “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us,” about the rampant price gouging by the American healthcare industry (targeting people fearing for their health—or their very lives), I realized that the Maximum Know-How team needed to take on the issue to put things right.

The author’s path to uncovering moral corruption is commonly trod: Follow the money. But I disagree with his explanation that the problem is “lopsided pricing and outsize profits in a market that doesn’t work.” Really, it’s just plain selfishness and greed. A hospital charging $77 per gauze pad or $3 for one-time use of a reusable marking pen honestly can’t be considered anything else.

So how do we fix it? Brill’s realistic suggestions include things like tightening antitrust laws, outlawing the “chargemaster”—a hospitals’ price sheet of colossally exorbitant charges they affix to services and supplies—or taxing hospital profits at 75% (based on the belief that healthcare problems would subside if the government had more money to spend, or just because the government would put sick people’s money to better use than they could themselves). But we came up with some better ideas.

How to conquer the selfishness and greed of the healthcare industry:  

(These first two come from Brill himself)

  1. “Limit administrator salaries at hospitals to five or six times what the lowest-paid licensed physician gets for caring for patients there.”
  2. “Require drug companies to include a prominent, plain-English notice of the gross profit margin on the packaging of each drug, as well as the salary of the parent company’s CEO.”
  3. All hospital administrators must pay—out of their own salary—for every office supply they or their secretary uses. They are charged at their own hospital’s chargemaster rates: e.g., $3 for every single use of a ballpoint pen, $8 for each Post-It® note ($5 if generic brand), $65 for each phone call (local numbers only), $315 for each unsealed box of 300-count facial tissue (includes $15 recycling fee), $5,000 daily to sit in a room with a desk, chair, functional computer, and lighting.
  4. On an annual basis, call hospital executives before the senate committee in charge of “sentencing medical executives to prison for corruption” and have them explain each item in a randomly chosen patient’s bill.
  5. Drug companies who barter with people’s lives to ensure obscene profits must pay suppliers with a markup that matches their own. For example, just add a zero to the end. Or two.
  6. Put President Obama and his congressional backers on live television to explain what percentage of the healthcare reform bill they’ve actually read and what realistic good it will do. They must also defend the “unforeseen” repercussions that the entire country can see coming miles away. (Okay, this might not fix anything but it would sure feel good to watch them squirm.)
  7. Require any hospital manager exceeding a given annual salary (say, $150,000), to spend one day each week hand-delivering hospital bills to patients and then explaining and defending each cost.
  8. Considering that the healthcare industry spends about $360 million annually to lobby politicians, require that a thin slice of that amount fund signs in hospitals that accurately state your congressional rep’s payoff (“Hi, I’m Pinkerton Rumblebottom, your senator in Washington. As you stew impatiently in this emergency room, shackled by pain and paperwork, it’s important that you know I’ve taken $280,000 from healthcare companies to make sure your services here—and the meds you’ll need tomorrow—remain as expensive as possible! I did not approve this message.”)
  9. Permit patients to resupply the hospital with any materials used and receive a refund equal to that hospital’s chargemaster rates. For example, a patient can purchase a 500-count bottle of acetaminophen tablets for $10.00 or a 25-pack of sterile gauze pads for $5.00 and receive refunds of $750 or $1,925, respectively (minus a $5 restocking fee).
  10. As is done with cigarette packaging, require medical manufacturers and suppliers to include the average retail price and manufacturing cost of a comparable product so hospitals, doctors, and insurance companies can make educated purchasing decisions. For example, “Surgical tubing, 10-foot roll—Your price: $280 (available for $9.95 on Amazon.com; true manufacturing cost is 85¢).”
  11. Limit executive incomes for “non-profit” medical institutions to what the president of Doctors Without Borders pulls in.
  12. Require insurance company executives to navigate their own incomprehensible maze of red tape and doubletalk every time they want to receive a paycheck or get an expense reimbursed.

Now let me hear your ideas for correcting this wayward industry!