Bless you, noble flag! Without you guiding the way, how would we ever find a post office in the distance?

I consider myself a fairly worldly, urbane sort of guy. I do my best to be open-minded toward other the other cultures that form this crazy genetic gridlock we call humanity, and I'd like to think I even do a halfway decent job of incorporating some of the lessons and ideas of other cultures into my general world view. Not too many of these lessons and ideas, of course, since most other cultures are stupid and full of dangerous minorities, but definitely some. Yes, I'm an open, accepting, global-milieu kind of guy just about all of the time. But when someone makes a disparaging remark about my country, which I love like a sister, I'm a jingoistic, flag-waving, shotgun-toting, red white and blue hillbilly son of a bitch. You know, now that I think about it, maybe I shouldn't have used the phrases "love like a sister" and "hillbilly" in the same sentence. But the point remains - I love this country, and I simply won't stand to have people tearing her down. That's why it breaks my heart to see some of this nation's oldest and most respected families turning their backs on the land that has given them so much. That's right - the Mafia has lost its faith in America.

I wouldn't have believed it if I heard it from a friend, but this is confirmed news: the Mafia feels that America can no longer provide the caliber of killers it needs to do business. I know, this statement seems so unlikely that it's almost hard to understand. You may want to take a moment to grapple with the concept. I know I had to. I can't explain it without getting flustered, so here's the story from an impartial party:

Mafia 'outsourcing' killers

AMERICAN Mafia families are recruiting their killers in Sicily because Americans are seen as unreliable and indiscreet, according to authorities in Rome and Washington.

Mob families in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia needed new blood after being decimated by turncoats and arrests, said Roberto Centaro, the head of the Italian parliament's anti-Mafia commission.

"Soldiers from Sicily are considered less likely to end up collaborating with police."

Dozens of Sicilians aged between 20 and 30 are believed to have been sent from towns in the Palermo area to the US to help shore up the ranks of clans such as the DeCavalcante family in New Jersey and the Bonanno family in New York.

You think America's hitmen aren't discreet enough, just look at Canada's.

I got this disturbing bit of news from an Australian news site. I find that's really the best place to get news the way I like it - full of confusing Australian slang and two weeks after the fact. But this time, the news source just reinforces the problem. American killers have slipped so far that Australians consider it newsworthy. I think that's when we have to stop and ask ourselves, what's happened to this country? Where did we go so far wrong that the Mafia could no longer count on us to handle a simple contract killing? This is a dark time. I never thought I'd live to see the day when American children could not dream of growing up to kill for the Mafia, mostly because I figured I would have been killed by the Mafia by then. But here we are. Sorry, Virginia, there may be a Santa Claus, but he won't be bringing you that .50AE Desert Eagle Mark XIX you wanted. You won't be needing it after all.

Someone needs to do some explaining. America is supposed to be the most violent country in the Western world. Hell, America was founded on violence. It's what we do, and until recently I was under the impression that we did it well. Now I hear that we're unreliable? Come on. If you can't count on an American to kill someone, who can you count on? We excel at making things deader than they were before we got there. It's our way of life. We're a country of killers. When some kid kills another kid in a foreign country supposedly because of something they saw on American television, it's an international incident. When one of our kids kills another one of our kids, it's barely news. Why? Because we all say, "This kid is going to have a great career when he grows up." But now that entire job market is slipping away from us. The Mafia doesn't trust us to do the work, and now wave after wave of Italians are coming over and taking all the good jobs away from decent, hardworking American mass murderers. What a sad state of affairs.

We need to do something to prove that we're reliable. I mean, when people all the way in Australia are making fun of us for not being able to kill properly, something's wrong. The obvious solution, then, is to kill Australians. The obvious solution is not always the best, though. Generally speaking, we like the Australians. We get along with them, diplomatically speaking. Australia tends to have the right ideas about major world issues. We have a good trade relationship with them, too. We have a solid appreciation for their chief exports - outrageously hot women and cool guys who hang around dorms. Even if that Australian bastard Blaine did steal Barbie away from Ken, we can't hold that against the entire country, which on the whole is pretty chill. So we can't kill them, but we'd better kill somebody. This situation is just ridiculous.

This goat is cool. Losing American jobs to overseas consultants is not.

As far as the Mafia's complaint that we're not discreet enough is concerned, I guess that must have some validity to it. I mean, you know American killers must be pretty blatant when the Mafia turns to the most stereotypical contract killers in the world to get the job done. Seriously, there's nothing more predictable than a Sicilian hitman. Let's face it, if you're a person in a position where the Mafia would be interested in the current state of your pulse and some well-dressed guy fresh off the boat from Sicily shows up in your office, chances are you're getting whacked. I don't think there's anyone who wouldn't see that one coming. Sicily basically only exports three things - goats, goat byproducts, and hitmen. So if the Mafia is resorting to filling the vacancies in their Human Resources department with Sicilians of the non-goat variety, you can be pretty sure that the Americans must have screwed up pretty badly. I know we're the country that pioneered the field of serial killing, which is basically the spectator sport of the murder world, but I thought we must have had some subtle killers left. I guess I was wrong.

Personally, I blame the Bush administration. We've got a leader who makes killing a public thing. He's taken all of the dignity out of it. First he gained notoriety for being a big proponent of the death penalty as governor in Texas. During the debates with Gore, he was eerily chipper about killing convicts. The campaign slogan "Let's put the 'elect' back in 'electric chair'" didn't help matters any. But he managed to get the presidency anyway, because apparently there were enough people out there who felt that a guy who gets a stiffy over electrocuting people and has absolutely no knowledge of foreign policy was exactly the sort of person they wanted representing our nation to the international community. Then he bombed the shit out of just about everybody in Afghanistan on an individual basis. Not that they didn't have it coming, of course, but still, it was a little overly celebrated. He then went on to bomb the shit out of Iraq, which was not quite so celebrated, but very public. I mean, you want to talk about being indiscreet, they had announcements on national television that actually said the specific time of day that bombing was supposed to commence. So we've got a leader who encourages being open and frank about your killings. That could certainly account for the problem. But I think the entire American culture, not just the murdering bit, is getting too darn chatty.

Is there anything this guy can't screw up for the rest of us?

Back in the Eighties, America's business was business. Well, business and nose candy. The point is, people had a totally professional attitude about their jobs. Whether they were organizing corporate takeovers, fixing leaky faucets, or showing some guy who stole from the Don the benefits of cement footwear, people did their jobs and did them right. It wasn't personal, it was business. We understood that. American hitmen did their job with the best of them, not because it was something they loved to do (whether it was or not), but because it was their job. Then came the Nineties and the Whatever The Fuck Decade We're In Nowies. Suddenly, there was this surge toward putting your feelings before your obligations. A big trend emerged promoting that devil of a concept known as "communication." People started talking more. If they were happy, they had to tell you why. If they were upset, they had to tell you why. Political correctness made sensitivity training a real thing and forced everyone to admit every little thing that was going on in their lives so that everyone else would know their rationalizations and not get offender by any of their actions. All the while, society was becoming more interconnected. The rise of the internet and the explosion in popularity of cell phones meant people were able to get in touch with one another in more ways and more of the time. America's general attitude shifted from "can-do" to "can-talk-about." It's no wonder that the American people have lost touch with the fine art of keeping one's damn mouth shut.

So I think we've stumbled on the real root of the problem here. It's not that American killers aren't discreet about the actual killing. We've come up with far too many clever and creative ways of ending each other to be unable to pull off a single quiet hit. It's that after we've done the deed, we feel compelled to go out and blab about it. That's why so many American mob killers have turned stool pigeon or gotten themselves arrested. They go out and kill someone, and then can't restrain themselves from telling someone. Whether it's guilt-ridden killers confessing their crime to some random person or a killer who's pleased with himself sharing the cause for his good mood, American killers just have to tell someone. Italians love to talk, but they set up restrictions. For instance, no business at the dinner table. Americans love to talk business at the dinner table. This is because talking about business only requires remembering what you did earlier that day, so it's basically a few minutes of avoiding awkward silence free of charge. We need that. Without it, we'd have to come up with actual conversation, and that's just not going to happen. We suck at thinking up intelligent things to talk about. We're too busy planning our next killing.

So all of you American killers who have managed to hold on to your cushy jobs with the Mafia, the responsibility falls to you. You need to make things right again. America is the world's largest superpower because we want to be the best at absolutely everything we do. Let's be the best at this. Do your jobs, and do them well. But once you've done them, don't go looking for glory. Everyone wants to be recognized for a job well done, but that's a luxury we need you to forego. Please, take that hit (no pun intended) for the team. Keep your business to yourself, and be content in the knowledge that you're helping your countrymen. Save whatever reputation American Mafia killers have left, for the sake of our children and our children's children. Imagine a world where an entire generation of would-be mob assassins grows up unable to find jobs where they can kill for profit, a world where they have to live on the streets killing for fun, living a pale illusion of their shattered dreams. If you don't do your part now, that world will become a reality. Please, I'm begging you. I don't want to live in that world. So do your part to ensure that Americans can continue to murder professionally for years to come. Otherwise, how am I supposed to get a summer internship?

The Weekend Web: Fuck The FCC

Hello internet friends, Zachary "Spokker Jones" Gutierrez here. Before we begin today I'd like to tell you about something that is very near and dear to my heart. As you may or may not know The House recently passed a bill that would increase indeceny fines to $500,000 per incident and enable the FCC to fine individual performers as well. The problem with this bill is that the FCC has yet to define what is specifically indecent. Worse than that is when a company or performer wants to go to court over the fine the FCC will make it hard for that company or performer to do business by blocking license renewals or station purchases. That is exactly what they did to Infinity Radio when they were fined for 1.7 million dollars in 1995. This bill gives enormous power to an organization that answers to no one, whose chairman is not elected but appointed by the President of the United States. The bill passed with a vote of 391 to 22. Don't let 391 men and women tell millions of people what they can and can't listen to. This is a representative democracy and the millions of people who love this so-called "indcent programming" are not being represented. Tell congress how you feel about this by writing to your senator or congressman. If you don't the programs you love may be fined out of existance. You probably won't and that's a shame. But when they start coming for your favorite shows don't say nobody warned you.

Anyway we've got some prime cut images for you today.

Hot stuff comin' through! And for the love of Christ tell your senator to vote no on bill S. 2056.

– Ben "Greasnin" Platt

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