Its Funny Because it Could Actually Be True

The Duffel Blog, a site the provides satirical takes on the US military, has posted a life could imitate satirical art post entitled: “Troops Sour on Mattis Nomination After He Releases 6,000-Book Reading List“.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A large number of active-duty troops once enthusiastic about the choice of James Mattis for Defense Secretary have since soured on the pick after the retired general released a 6000-book reading list he plans to implement for the entire DoD after he is confirmed, Duffel Blog has learned.

Referred to by some as the “Warrior Monk,” the 66-year-old sent his reading list to the military’s entire email distribution list over the weekend. Most service members who received the 200-page email reported they were still in the process of reading it well into Monday morning.

Almost every senior commander issues a reading list. Its sort of become the in thing to do and Foreign Policy writer Tom Ricks (full disclosure: I know Tom and have written guest posts for him) collects and publishes them or links to them at his Best Defense blog. Gen. Mattis’s preferred nickname, or, at least, the one he doesn’t seem to dislike  – he does not like being referred to as Mad Dog – is The Warrior Monk. The sobriquet is derived from a couple of the realities of Gen. Mattis’s life and career. The first is he is considered by many to be an outstanding warfighter. The second, that like many military senior leaders, he aspired to become what the Army refers to as a Soldier-Scholar. This means that as a Soldier’s career progresses they try to move beyond just being warfighters, increase the breadth and scope of their understanding of operational and then strategic matters through both Professional Military Education and civilian higher education, and become thoughtful, reflective, and (hopefully) strategic thinkers. The third basis for the nickname is because Gen. Mattis, unlike most career US military personnel, is not married. As in never married, hence the other root cause for the Monk.

The Duffel Blog also did a good job accurately capturing just how a lot of personnel would respond to receiving such a reading list – long or short:

Marines, however, were only assigned four coloring books.

“Four? Good Lord, that’s unfair,” said Lance Cpl. Anderson Malcolm, a Marine infantryman who proudly displays his “good enough degree” on his barracks room wall.

A number of troops expressed reservations about the nomination of Mattis to the Pentagon’s highest post after they read the email. While some expected a reading list of some sort, most did not realize just how many books they would be required to get through.

“How are we going to go out and kill the enemy if we have to sit around reading all this shit?” asked Sgt. James Fritter, an Army squad leader.

Its funny, because it could be true!!!!

PS: Last week the Duffel Blog lampooned the US Army’s insistence on having personnel forward deployed on its bases wear reflective safety belts at night (so they don’t get run over when going for chow in the dark, no I am not making this part up, yes I did have to follow this as a member of my BCT’s special staff in Iraq in 2008, and yes, I still have the thing – mine’s the orange one). They did this by picking on a former student of mine, who is the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve Spokesman and colonel in the US Air Force. John was an excellent student, is a sharp strategic thinker, and an excellent public affairs officer. And the satire is funny, because it could be true!

Some Light Humor for the Mid-Afternoon

OK. I Laughed

The Reddit MeIRL crowd produces some of my son’s favorite internet snark — and provides a bridge between 16 y.o. consummate savvy and [mumble mumble mumble] technological cluelessness.

Here’s what he shared with me today:


May your day be one in which all your sneks are garters.

(And no, not that way. This is a family blog.)

Open. The Thread. It Is.

Too Late Now Open Thread: GOP Attempts to Flee Its Hand-Built Monster’s Embrace

You just keep telling yourself that, Sen. Cassidy — it’s not the message, it’s the messenger! If only Deadbeat Donald could be a little more… restrained about your party’s appeal to all the worst elements of racism, xenophobia, and misogyny in American politics…

But Cassidy’s from Louisiana, he needs emergency reconstruction funds for his state right now, not when Mitch McConnell gets tired of stonewalling in hopes that Hillary (or better yet, Donald) will be struck by lightning before November. “Principles” are all very well when your gang of Freedom Caucus Liberty Patriots are riding high, but when the guy at the top of the ticket looks to be bent on self-immolation…

For the special delectation of Balloon Juice readers: The NYTimes reports that “Tensions Deepen Between Donald Trump and R.N.C.”:

The Republican National Committee had high hopes that Donald J. Trump would deliver a compassionate and measured speech about immigration on Wednesday, and prepared to lavish praise on the candidate on the party’s Twitter account.

So when Mr. Trump instead offered a fiery denunciation of migrant criminals and suggested deporting Hillary Clinton, Reince Priebus, the party chairman, signaled that aides should scrap the plan, and the committee made no statement at all.

The evening tore a painful new wound in Mr. Trump’s relationship with the Republican National Committee, imperiling his most important remaining political alliance.

Mr. Priebus and his organization have been steadfastly supportive of Mr. Trump, defending him in public and spending millions of dollars to aid him. But the collaboration between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Mr. Priebus’s committee has grown strained over the last month, according to six senior Republicans with detailed knowledge of both groups, some of whom asked to speak anonymously for fear of exacerbating tensions….

Ya think? [surreptitious sounds of blame being shifted; reporters pretend not to recognize figures behind the curtain]

There is no prospect of a full public breach between the Trump campaign and the R.N.C. because both sides rely on a joint fund-raising arrangement crucial to their election efforts.

But tensions have grown to such a point that they threaten to diminish the party’s ability to work smoothly with Mr. Trump during the most critical post-Labor Day phase of the race, when the committee traditionally helps supervise an extensive voter turnout effort.

Mr. Trump, who has struggled to raise money, is dependent on his party’s national committee to perform many of the basic functions of a presidential campaign. Should the partnership continue to deteriorate, it could hinder Mr. Trump’s bid for a late comeback in the race…

Read more

Standing Up By Sitting Down To Eat: Salsa Justice Warriors Unite!

In response to Marco Gutierrez’s remarks expressing concerns about an invasion of Taco Trucks I decided to strike a blow for Salsa (Verde, also Roja and Crema and guacamole) Justice and went for Mexican food tonight. Never has standing in solidarity, by sitting and eating, tasted so good. Also, the corners of my neighborhood are still clear of taco trucks, so I’m going to keep Balloon Juice set at TacoCon 5 for the time being. So grab your forks my Salsa Justice Warriors and head for the comments – open thread!


(Guacamole Mexicano)


(Beef Tacos)


(El Paso Burrito with Salsa Roja, Crema, and Verde)

Late Evening Open Thread: Duct Tape Roll Cage Testing Kangaroos!

Remember to wear your seat belts!

I didn’t realize the previously posted video was an advertisement (hadn’t watched it all the way through). Mea Culpa! Mea Culpa! So instead, here’s some kangaroos!!!!



When Trump Was a Lad


Commenter SiubhanDuinne shares this with us:

Most of you know I love Gilbert & Sullivan.

Most of you know I do NOT love Donald Trump.

Most of you know I enjoy writing doggerel parodies.

So here you go.


When I was a lad I got the key
To my father’s real estate company
I knocked on doors and collected rent
And now I am the nominee for president!
(And now he is the nominee for president!)
I hassled tenants fearlessly,
And now I am the darling of the G.O.P.
(He hassled tenants fearlessly,
And now he is the darling of the G.O.P.)

I said, “I’ll strike out on my own
If my daddy will give me a tiny loan.”
A million here, a million there,
Before you know it, I’m a billionaire!
(Before you know it, he’s a billionaire!)
I took that money my daddy lent,
And now I am the nominee for president!
(He took that money his daddy lent
And now he is the nominee for president!)

I wed three gorgeous foreign chicks —
(Well, Marla came from the Georgia sticks) —
“Will you marry me?” They all said “Yup,”
So I made ’em sign an airtight ironclad pre-nup
(They had to sign an airtight ironclad pre-nup.)
They signed so fast it was evident
That one day soon I’d run for U.S. president!
(They signed so fast it was evident
That one day soon he’d run for U.S. president!)

I am the very best, you know,
At managing a business like a casino,
This next part might just make you sob,
But I had a little run-in with the Jersey Mob
(He had a little run-in with the Jersey Mob).
I lost my casino in bankruptcy,
And now I am a presidential nominee!
(He lost it all in bankruptcy,
And now he is a presidential nominee!)

Casinos, towers, Miss Universe,
T.V. and golf, it could’ve been much worse.
“TRUMP” blazoned everywhere in shining gilt,
I’m classier than any puny Vanderbilt
(He’s classier than any puny Vanderbilt).
Forbes, Vanderbilt, or Carnegie,
And now I am a presidential nominee!
(Forbes, Vanderbilt, or Carnegie,
And now he is a presidential nominee!)

Trump Steaks and Wine, they’re here for you,
Trump Magazine, and oh, Trump Water too,
Ask anyone in my family,
And don’t forget about Trump University
(And don’t forget about Trump University).
That wetback judge has so much gall,
He’s prejudiced because I’m going to build a wall
(That Mexican judge has so much gall,
He hates that Trump has said he’s going to build a wall!)

The media love my every move
And I don’t have a goddam thing to prove.
A documentary by Ken Burns,
But I hope he doesn’t ask about my tax returns
(No, we hope he doesn’t ask about the tax returns!)
The rest of my life’s an open book,
And, like Nixon, I will tell you, “I am not a crook.”
(His life is like an open book,
And he swears that, just like Nixon, he is not a crook!)

You surely know how much I’m worth
And I wish you’d look at President Obama’s birth.
I searched for the long-form document,
And now I am a candidate for President!
(And now he is a candidate for president!)
My hands are huge, my fingers long,
And I hope you will appreciate this humble song
(His hands are huge, his fingers long,
And we hope you are delighting in this humble song.)

So all you folks — you straight white men —
Let’s make America great again!
When women really knew their place,
And Jim Crow was the answer to the Negro race
(Yes, Jim Crow was the answer to the Negro race).
When “cheerfulness” is what “gay” meant,
That’s where I’ll take you when I am your president!
(When “cheerfulness” is what “gay” meant,
That is where he’ll take us when he is our president!)

This made my day.

(Trumpbaby image shamelessly stolen from our favorite Wonkanatrix.)