Wednesday, August 31, 2005

George & Haley - A Love Story

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said on the news yesterday that he had spoken with President Vacation several times in the aftermath of Katrina. This is how I imagine the conversations went.

Dubya: Hey Haley's Comet, how's it shakin'?

Haley: Not bad Georgie Porgie. How's the vacation going? Getting your well deserved rest?

Dubya: Oh yea, lots of great photo-ops of brush clearing too. So, I saw the hurricane footage on my TV here at the ranch. Wow. You and the family OK?

Haley: Oh yea, family is all safe. The hotel they're at is out of caviar though, so they've had to rough it a little bit.

Dubya: Bummer.

Haley: Yea.

Dubya: So listen, I just called to congratulate you on your disaster. It's a lucky thing you were governor when this happened instead of a Democrat.

Haley: I know. I'm just glad the day finally came. As you know, it's tough to keep up the approval ratings with out a human tragedy to ride. Now I can breathe easy.

Dubya: You bet. But don't forget us at the top. We need an approval ratings bump too.

Haley: Already covered my friend. I already wrote a little something for my pres conference about how you've offered full help and cooperation from Washington. Any other suggestions?

Dubya: Be sure to mention that I was begging to come down there, but you said no.

Haley: Do you want to come?

Dubya: Fuck no! I'm still on vacation. Just tell them that I wanted to come see the area and comfort all the dumb hicks but you said I should stay away for now while the rescue operations are going on. It's a win-win. I look compassionate and caring and you look like a strong leader.

Haley: Good thinking!

Dubya: Thanks, Karl taught me that.

Haley: Any suggestions for me? I'm going to want to look compassionate at some point too, but I really don't want to have to go out and hug any of these dirty people. I mean, come on, they've been wading around in shit for two days now.

Dubya: No, no. Don't worry. I'll tell you what you do. You're going on a fly-over of the wreckage right?

Haley: Right after I get off the phone.

Dubya: Great. OK, so when you're asked about what you saw, this is what you do. Start talking about the wreckage in terms of nuclear explosions and comparisons to Hiroshima and the tsunami. Then, when talking about the loss of life, start to sob a little. Not a whole lot, just a little. Make it seem like you might lose it, but are just able to contain yourself and remain strong. If you go too far you'll look like a pussy, but if you don't have any sort of watery eyes you'll seem cold-hearted. It's tough, so you should practice before you "go live".

Haley: Boy, I don't know. Crying? I don't know if I'll be able to muster that up.

Dubya: It's easier than you think. You just have to think of something depressing. I learned it from Schwarzenegger. Look at the tapes of my comments on September 12th, 2001 and you can see what I mean. Remember how I was blubbering up when talking about all the deaths at the World Trade Center?

Haley: Of course, it was a moment that brought the country together. Your finest hour. Really showed a lot of compassion and empathy for the victims.

Dubya: Yea, it was a great moment for me. You know what I was thinking about?

Haley: Not the victims?

Dubya: Oh god no. I was thinking about the time I screwed up and traded Sammy Sosa to the White Sox. That still kills me. (sob) Ahem, excuse me, little something in my throat...

Haley: Wow, thanks for the advice. I wasn't sure how I was going to handle that.

Dubya: Oh, before I forget, make sure you don't think of anything too sad.

Haley: Why?

Dubya: Trust me on this. If you think of anything too depressing the waterworks might open up all the way and then you won't be able to stop crying. You'll then say bye-bye to reelection. One time, when I was practicing in the mirror, I decided to think about Daddy losing to Bubba in '92 and I couldn't stop bawling for three hours. Way to gut-wrenching of a thought. I had to wait eight full years before I could snort coke off the mirror in the Lincoln bedroom again. Best damn coke mirror in the world. Mmmmm...coke. I gotta go, I'll call you later.

Haley: All right Mr. President, thanks for the advice.

Dubya: (snort) Oh yeeeaaaa, that's the stuff......(snort)

(Several hours later)

Haley: Hello?

Dubya: Hey! Haley Haley bo baley banana fana foe faley fe fi foe faley Haley!

Haley: Hey! Prez Man! How you doin'? Did you see me on TV?

Dubya: That's why I'm callin'! Great fuckin' job my man! Holy shit, that choking up was just awesome! That was almost as good as my 9/11 performances.

Haley: Oh sir, you're being too kind...

Dubya: No really, I was so jealous. I haven't had a good tragedy to hang my agenda on for too long. So tell me, between us, what were you thinking of when you started to tear up?

Haley: Oh, just an old memory from my school days when the Feds forced Mississippi to integrate the schools.

Dubya: Ooooh, that's a good one. Luckily for me I went to an exclusive east coast prep school so we didn't have to let any coloreds in.

Haley: Yea, it was a dark time in Mississippi. But that memory served me well today.

Dubya: It sure did. I could hear the approval points going up up up!

Haley: Great. Now what should I do?

Dubya: You just stick with me and you'll be great. First thing, just keep right on saying things like your "hearts go out to the victims", and "god bless the people of our state" and all that religious based shit the people think we believe. And be nice to everybody, especially democrats.

Haley: What?! Oh I don't think I can do that Geor...

Dubya: Trust me on this. Who's the one who rode a national tragedy for three full years all the way to reelection?

Haley: You.

Dubya: That's right. So pay attention. Ok, so after it calms down a little, go to one of the shelter areas and do some photo-ops with the refugees.

Haley: Aww shit man, those people haven't showered in days.

Dubya: You have to do it. It's no big deal. Have your staff find a shelter that has their water working and go to that one. Go in the afternoon so your sure everyone's already had a shower.

Haley: Hey, that's good thinking.

Dubya: Another Karl idea. He's worth every bit of Halliburton stock I've given him. Now, you'll have to sit through the most mind-numbing stories about people's houses and pets being gone, lost family heirlooms, and missing grandparents and shit. But stick with it. You'll want to run screaming back to your hotel and order a steak, but you have to sit through every single annoying cry-baby bitching about their lost business. I've found that if you do one or two shots of bourbon before you go, it helps you just kind of phase out and think about other things. And make sure you hug people. That's very important.

Haley: Ah crap. Even the black ones?

Dubya: Especially the black ones. And the Democrats.

Haley: I think I'm gonna be sick.

Dubya: Leading is hard work.

Haley: Anything else? What about down the road?

Dubya: Well, here's the game plan for the next few weeks and months. First, don't say anything bad about Democrats for a while.

Haley: Awwww...

Dubya: I'm serious. Play nice with them and say that you're working together for the good of blah blah blah and all that shit. It plays great in the sticks. Oh, and let the looting go on for a while.

Haley: What?!

Dubya: Yea. Tell the people that you have to let the authorities do the rescue stuff and you can't stop it now. This will work to your advantage later. And mine.

Haley: How could this possibly...

Dubya: Well, who wants to end affirmative action in his state?

Haley: I do.

Dubya: And what color are the looters?

Haley: Ah ha.

Dubya: See what I mean? So a couple of months down the road, when you are arresting all the people the cops have identified in the videos, and the videos are airing again on TV, you can introduce your affirmative action bill. You won't need to bother saying anything bad about Negroes because the media will be doing it for you. And you'll probably be able to get away with adding looting to the list of death penalty eligible crimes. Nothing says leadership like killing Negroes.

Haley: Brilliant. How will this help you?

Dubya: Ah, that's the beauty of this one, I get to kill two birds with one stone. I'll be able to attack the Democrats as soft on crime, because they wouldn't let us stop the looters. So that will give me some more time distracting everyone from the Iraq dealy thing I got us into. And calling Democrats soft on crime is a proven winner, and they'll want to look tougher so they'll give me more expanded powers in the Patriot Act. Which, in turn, will allow me to put more of them coloreds who don't vote for me in jail. Most of my problems get solved by calling the Democrats pussies.

Haley: That doesn't really make any sense though. How can I blame the Democrats for the looting if I'm...

Dubya: Sense?! What country do you think we're in, Sweden? Does it make any sense when I say that people against me bombing the shit out of the Middle East are giving aid and comfort to the enemy and are helping the terrorist win?

Haley: No, none at all actually.

Dubya: See? And it also helps me because I'm going to be untouchable for the next couple of weeks. I'll be touring with you down in Mississippi and hugging the peasants and comforting them, and I'll also get to go to Louisiana and tour with whatever that Frenchie governors name is. And that bitch will have to be nice to me and not say anything bad about my policy for months or she'll look like a total jerk. Ha ha! Plus, I'm going to get credit for rushing back from my vacation early to deal with it even though it was over anyway. Oh man this hurricane is sweet!

Haley: So, do you think I can ride this all the way to reelection?

Dubya: My brother, I think you can ride this all the way to the White House.

Haley: Really?

Dubya: Heck yea! Stick with me kid. Just remember, every speech you give after this you have to mention Katrina at least six or seven times. Oooh, and when you kick off your campaign you should use that "Walking on Sunshine" song. Yea, that will be sweet. You gotta keep reminding them who was in charge when disaster struck. You can't lose that way. I don't know why, you just can't.

Haley: Thanks a lot George, I'm really going to have some fun with this now. Leave it to you to know how to turn a negative into a positive.

Dubya: That's what I'm good at. Now, I'll be seeing you down there this weekend. I'm going to go look over the speech Karl wrote for me. I'll be talking about how we're not going to wait for the hurricanes to come to us before we act. We're going to fight them on their turf and kill them where they live.

Haley: Nice. That Karl's got a knack.

Dubya: He sure does. Oh, and Haley?

Haley: Yes Georgie?

Dubya: After you move in to the White house, do you think I could still come over and use the mirror in the Lincoln Bedroom?

Haley: Anything for you George.

Dubya: Boo-ya! Party Time! (snort) Ahhhh...that's what I'm talkin' about. All right comet guy, you have fun huggin' the blacks, and I'll see you this weekend. (snort) Yee-Haw! Oh cool, Andy Griffith is on! (snort)

Monday, August 29, 2005

Carry On Wayward Bird

When I moved in with my wife several years ago, I gained another roommate in her pet bird. A cockatiel named Norton. We've always had a relationship that hovers somewhere between strained coexistence to furious hatred. He's made many kamikaze style dive attempts at my head and I expect he'll be successful one day. He's also charged at me running across the floor, beak out and open for the kill, trying to chase me away from his cage area. Which is a funny sight in itself considering I'm almost 6'3" and he's almost 5" on his tiptoes. But he's been hatching other plots to kill me. I can see it in his eyes.

But I think we may have found some common ground recently. There is a new car commercial, I don't remember for what company, that features the old Kansas classic song Dust In The Wind. When the commercial starts and you hear the first opening notes and lyrics, "I clooooose myyyyy eyyyyyyeees, only for a moment, and the moment's gone...." (Betchya' won't be getting that out of your head the rest of the day now.), Norton right away starts squawking really loud and gets really anxious. By the time the song really gets going he starts flapping around like crazy, still squawking like mad, and then flies into the bedroom and screams from in there until the commercial is over. And you can tell he is just screaming over and over in his own language, "MAKE IT STOP, MAKE IT STOP, I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE, KILL ME NOW!". You can tell he's gone into what I call Crappy Music Convulsions, or CMV.

After the commercial is finally done he flies back to his cage, visibly shaken by the experience. It takes him a few minutes to get over the whole thing, and I swear sometimes you can almost see him panting and his little chest beating really fast, he's so wound up. Very traumatic. Poor guy doesn't even have fingers to plug his ears with. I'm sure you can feel his pain. I sure do. I'm sure that's one of the songs used by the CIA when they're torturing terrorist suspects. That's gotta be against the Geneva Convention.

We might not get along that well, Norton and I, but we'll always have our hatred of crappy 70s arena-rock bands that make us want to kill ourselves when they are played. I feel so much closer to him now. Who knew he had good taste in music? Hell, who knew he had any taste in music?

I wonder what would happen if I put on Boston's More Than A Feeling? Probably shouldn't risk that one. Poor guy's liable to have a stroke.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Think Of The Fucking Children?

Well, let's get off the topic of bitching about religion and their leaders today and move to another group that pisses me off from time to time: Parents.

Yes, that's right. I said parents. Specifically, parents that want everyone else in the world to worry about the well-being of their children, which seems to be most of them. I'm talking about those parents that do nothing but constantly bitch and moan about sex, drugs, violence and fucking profanity on TV or movies or the internet. It is just a constant barrage of "children shouldn't be exposed to...", "I was shocked to see what my child was watching.", "That stuff shouldn't be shown to children.", and they are always asking us to "think of the children". Well, I happen to agree with George Carlin when he said "fuck the children!" I am so sick of having to think about the children. They say children are the future, and I've got no issue with that. But this is the present and it belongs to the adults, not to the goddamn children, and what kids are or aren't exposed to is not my fucking problem. And I'm sick of these parents making it the problem of those of us adults who've decided not to breed. There are adults out there who want to see sex, violence and drugs on TV, and who the fuck are these parents to tell us we can't? And we're not even talking about porn or anything here. They bitch about just about everything, from the brilliant Sopranos to the stupid O.C. By the way, if I were a parent, I would be less concerned about the images of sex and drugs at the O.C. and more worried about what the show is doing to my child's IQ. But that's beside the point.

I'm thinking about this because my wife and I were flipping through the channels the other night and there it was again, on Dateline or something. They were talking to a group of parents and to their children, but separately. The kids, who seemed to be in the 11-13 age range, were talking about their favorite shows (O.C. and Smallville) and then they would cut to showing the parents racy scenes from the shows. I remember a scene from O.C. of a teenage drug and alcohol party and a Smallville sweaty sex scene (who knew Superman got so jiggy in high school?). The parents were just shocked and appalled at the kinds of things their children were watching. And parents love to make proclamations that "things like that" shouldn't be on TV. Well fuck them. First, there is no law that says you have to own a TV. No one makes you buy a TV, or a Sega, or a computer, or a stereo. And it wasn't my idea for them to have televisions act as babysitters for their kids.

Your kids? Your responsibility.

No matter what tools we give these people it is never fucking enough. They have the V-Chip, which federal law says every TV has to have. These parent groups demanded it like crazy in the 90s, not just to have it available but to be mandatory in every TV in America, which made the price of TVs go up about $50. About 3% of them get used. And cable companies give them boxes that can block out anything they want. And that's still not good enough for these damn parent groups. They want "ala carte" offerings from cable providers, so the signal from objectionable programs don't even enter the wires leading to their homes. Even though they can already block the stations they want and ala carte would make cable bills, for everyone, higher. What they want is the entire world to be G-rated, regardless of what the rest of us want, for the "protection" of their child. And I call bullshit on that. We adults have made enough concessions to fucking breeders. If the tools you have been given already aren't enough for you, well tough titties! Movies have ratings. Video games have ratings. Music has warning stickers thanks to that bitch Tipper Gore. TVs can be set up so only PBS and the Disney Channel can be watched. No More! Raising your children is your responsibility. You can always get rid of your TV you know. Cancel the cable, buy the kids some books, take them to museums, and stop making it our problem.

And it will always boggle my mind why there is anything wrong with swearing, as any of you that read me regularly have already been able to figure out. There is no such thing as a bad word. How is cunt any worse of a word than apartheid or Nazi?

Besides, grown-ups like grown-up things. Just because you had kids and can't watch whatever you want, whenever you want, don't take it away from me. You're just jealous.

This blog has been rated PG-13

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Shut-Up Pat!

Well, he's at it again. Pat Robertson opens his mouth and more vile shit comes cascading forth. This time he's calling for the American government to assassinate Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela. Here is some of what the asshole said:

We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability.


We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.

And just in case you didn't fully understand what he was saying, he clarified for you:

You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.

Wow. Where the hell to begin? How about with "strong-armed dictator"? Well, let's think about that for a minute. Patty-boy, you certainly have no problem with strong-armed politicians, being a huge supporter of the Texas Idiot who started a war against the wishes of the majority of his citizens. So that can't really be your problem with Mr. Chavez. Let's look at the dictator part then. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the definition of dictator is:


a. An absolute ruler.
b. A tyrant; a despot.

2. An ancient Roman magistrate appointed temporarily to deal with an immediate crisis or emergency.

3. One who dictates: "These initials are those of the dictator of the letter."

OK Pat, I'm going to guess that you weren't accusing Chavez of being an ancient Roman or a guy who makes his secretary transcribe his letters for him, so we'll go ahead and assume you mean the first definition. So let's look at that. First, there is "absolute ruler". Well the last time I checked Venezuela still had a democratically elected legislature called the National Assembly, which is elected much like the British Parliament except that the president is elected separately instead of appointed by the majority party. Not only did Chavez win his first term in 1998 by the largest margin in four decades (over 56% of the vote) and even increase that margin in his reelection in 2000 (59%), but he also won a California-style "recall" election in 2004 in which 58% of Venezuelans voted "no" to removing him from office. And the recall vote was monitored by not one, but two independent international observers, who both declared that there was no evidence of fraud. Oh, and there was the coup attempt in 2002 by members of the Venezuelan military backed by U.S. oil companies and supported by the Bush administration. Chavez was returned to power after massive demonstrations of supporters way outnumbered those who marched in support of the coup attempt. Strong leader? Sure. Absolute power? Not even close. All of his power comes from the fact he keeps winning elections and has pretty broad support

What about "tyrant" or "despot"? Well, one would assume that a country ruled by a tyrant would have no independent press, and journalists who spoke against the tyrant would be thrown in jail, or worse. This is not the case in Venezuela. In fact, all of the five privately owned TV networks are his biggest opponents. He hasn't shut them down or put any of them in prison, and no reporters have mysteriously disappeared. Well, he did shut them down temporarily during the coup attempt. Not defensible necessarily, but a little understandable. While they showed all of the anti-Chavez rallies, they refused to air coverage of the larger pro-Chavez rallies and generally tried to whip up support for a violent coup d'etat of a democratically elected government. But if that's the most tyrannical he's been there is not much of a case for him being a despot.

So what else do tyrants and despots do? As we've seen from examples all over the Middle East and Africa, they seem to like to build themselves lots of mansions and castles and hoard millions, even billions, of dollars for themselves while the poor people in their country starve. Can't really say that El Presidente has done that, as he has not built himself any huge new homes or put state money into his personal accounts. But here are some things he has done: He started a nationwide literacy program that focuses on not just learning to read, but also on understanding the country's constitution and their rights under that document. Oh the horror, right Pat?

President Chavez has also started a program to provide free health care to Venezuela's poorest people, in a program praised by the World Health Organization. He has also built clinics, started manufacturing cooperatives to create jobs, opened subsidized grocery stores in impoverished areas, and implemented a land reform program that would give more people the chance to own a piece of property and lessen his country's dependence on food imports. And he took tighter control over the state oil company to make sure more profits from Venezuela's vast oil supply go to benefit the people of Venezuela instead of rich oil executives.

Oh, and democratic reforms too. Remember that little bit about the recall election his opponents used to try to oust him? He created that law, along with the one that created the parliamentary style assembly, when he created the new constitution. He actually made a way for his country to remove the president if they are unhappy with the person in that office.

So that's your definition of a dictator, Pat?

Now to the whole assassination thing. Ummm, so Pat, isn't that against your so-called religion? I believe it's even in your most important list of rules. If you need a refresher see my blog from Friday. I know it's the Catholic version of the Commandments, but "thou shalt not kill" was the same in all three versions I found. Not once did I see a "...unless it's someone Pat Robertson doesn't like". Maybe that part is written on the copy at the CBN compound, but somehow I doubt it.

And rather than dictatorial, isn't helping poor people the (ahem) "Christian" thing to do? The bible says a hell of a lot more about helping poor people than it does about homosexuality being bad. And it's a lot less vague about it too. I'll bet your god would be a lot more pleased with a guy that's done the things Senor Chavez has done to help those in need than with the guy who uses money from the poor and desperate to buy himself expensive suits and a TV station (yes, I mean you dumbass). Ask these guys which way is time better spent.

Look, I'm not saying the man is perfect. There are things he's done that aren't so good, most notably the firing of over 12,000 employees of the state oil company for going on a general strike to protest his presidency. But compare the human rights record of his country against a lot of others, like America's allies Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Colombia, or Turkey and you find a lot more leaders you should be condemning instead.

So why Chavez then? My guess is that, like most nationalistic fascist Republicans like yourself, you are worried that Chavez doesn't have the best interest of the U.S. in mind when it comes to his country's oil. I've got a news flash for you Patty, he wasn't elected by the U.S. He was elected by Venezuelans, three times now. That's two more presidential elections than your boy Dubya has won here in the States. Put that in your collection plate and spend it.

So I've got a different proposition Pat. Instead of murdering Hugo Chavez, I've got a better idea. I say we tie you up in the middle of Times Square and invite everyone in America to come up and kick you in the nuts as hard as they can.

I've got dibs on first in line.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Bible Notes

Well, lets just continue with the religious bashing today, since it's so much fun.

Let's jump right in on the touchiest issue going right now. I'm sure you've all seen the video and pictures of the Israeli army evacuating people from the Jewish settlements in Gaza. Some pretty sensational stuff, people being dragged out of a synagogue, troops having to deal with having things thrown at them (some acid substance being one of them), and weeping settlers as they are forced to leave their home. I would admit it is a tough situation for these people, but it isn't nearly as bad as when they do the same thing to Palestinians they want to make move. The army is helping settlers move their furniture and belongings, which will eventually go to their new homes in Israel that the government is paying for. No bullets have been fired at them, and no bulldozers are ripping through their homes with people still inside.

But I digress. That's not my point today. I don't really want to wade into the lose/lose argument about Israel/Palestine on my blog. I'm not that crazy. Yet.

No, what really gets me is this settler family I saw on the news the other day. They were among the ones who didn't want to leave and they did a little story about them. First of all, guess where they moved to Gaza from? The United States. OK, so the U.S. might have it's fair share of idiot anti-semites, but I don't think that any argument could be made that anyone who migrates to Israel from the U.S. is escaping some sort of religious or ethnic oppression, nor was this family claiming that. No, they said the land rightfully belongs to them. And what is the basis of this claim? Some sort of old deed that shows it was once in their family? A genealogy line that shows their ancestors lived on this piece of sea-front property generations ago? No, their bible. Yep, the bible. According to this family, the bible says this is where David, or Abraham or some other prophet lived, like 5000 years ago. Ah yes, the old "bible says so" answer that religious people love to bring up. I think people need to be reminded of other things the bible, old testament and new, says.

Some guy named Moses, using some sort of magic stick, parted the waters of the Red Sea for his people to be able to walk across.

At some point, in Egypt, frogs rained from the sky.

God killed the first born of every non-Jewish household in Egypt.

Some guy named Noah, in a boat god told him to build, gathered up two of every single species on the planet and set sail for forty days and nights when that same god flooded the entire planet.

People turned to salt.

Some guy named Jesus, who was the son of god and born to a virgin mother, was killed and came back to life three days later.

That's just from the top of my head, I haven't read that boring book in a long time. Now, if you're someone who believes any of those stories are actually true you should stop reading now because I'm going to make fun of you.

Could we please stop the insanity with the stupid people who believe in ancient fairy-tales running the world? This goes for all of them, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, whatever. Every religion has their damn myths, we should stop creating public policy around them. I think someone saying they deserve a piece of land because the bible says so is just as stupid as the idiots who think suicide bombers are getting 40 virgins in heaven, as crazy as those people who committed mass suicide because that comet was going to take them away, and as fucked-up as people who believe the same shit Tom Cruise believes.

I can accept a lot of arguments why the Jews should be there, and there are legitimate arguments both for and against what is happening. But "the bible says so" is not one of them.

Every day people use the bible (or other holy book) as their reason for their bullshit. At it's best it makes people believe that killing is wrong (although why you need a book to tell you that is beyond me). At it's worst, which is a lot more often, it is used as a justification to treat women as second class citizens (or even property), persecute homosexuals, and kill 6 million Jews (the so-called "Christ killers"). And I just won't buy into that nonsense.

In other religious wacko news, last week the religious right held Justice Sunday II: The Wrath Of Khan. No wait, that was Star Trek II. I believe the undertitle of Justice Sunday II was The Wrath of the Racist Homophobic Evildoers. Thank god Tom Delay at least didn't bare his chest like Ricardo Montalban, that would've just been nasty. So anyway, they did their usual railing against "activist (liberal) judges" and how they, as Christians, are going to take over the country and blah blah blah....
My favorite was a guy that I only saw The Daily Show play a clip of, and I can't find reference to him anywhere else to find out what his name is. But one of the things he said was something like this: India is the most religious nation in the world, and Sweden is the most irreligious. So what we have in America is a nation of Indians ruled by a government of Swedes. Gotta love how this guy frames his analogies. I really wanted to be able to ask this guy a question. So religion if religion is supposed to make a society so much better, is he saying that if he was forced to pick another country to live in he would rather choose India over Sweden? I mean, I've never been to either country, but I'm willing to bet that, except for the cold weather, Sweden would be a much better place to live than India. I'd love to hear that guy's argument how India, as a deeply religious country, is better off than the secular Sweden.

Of course my favorite part of these idiots' ranting is how they always claim our Constitution and other laws come directly from the Ten Commandments. So let's have a little look and see how right they are about that. First, you have to get a copy of the Ten Commandments. But which one? After a little searching, you will discover that the commandments are different depending on which religion it comes from. Which is funny, considering they're supposed to come from the same bible. I decided to go with the Catholic version because it seems to have less words. The protestant and Hebrew versions seem to get very long winded. I found it weird that the religion known for hours-long Easter Masses would have the shortest, straight to the point version of Moses' list. So here we go:

1. I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.
OK, this one is a non-starter. Not only is this not in the Constitution, the exact opposite is. You are free to worship any god you want, even L. Ron Hubbard.

2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Well, I know it's not in the Constitution and I know of no place where you'll get arrested for saying goddammit, and it's even in movies all the time.

3. Remember thou keep the Sabbath Day.
Three letter: NFL

4. Honor thy Father and thy Mother.
Not ever really been sure what this means, so I don't think you could write any sort of comprehensible law for it.

5. Thou shalt not kill.
Well finally. Murder is, in fact, against the law in every state in the Union. I would take away partial credit though for the existence of the death penalty. There's no "except in cases of..." in any version of the Commandments.

6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Pretty scummy thing to do, unless your spouse says it's OK, but not illegal. Although it does help raise the price of the a divorce settlement.

7. Thou shalt not steal.
Another one in common with our laws. We're up to two.

8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
I'll assume this means you can't lie under oath in court, so I'll give them this one. But really it could just mean you can't lie to your neighbor, which people do all the time and don't get arrested for it.

9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife.
If this were a law there would be a lot of middle-aged suburban men in jail. What I love about this one is that it leaves open the women coveting their neighbors' husbands.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's goods.
Those same middle-aged guys would love to have their neighbors' cars and speed-boats as much as, if not more than, they lust after their neighbors' wives. And no one is in jail for it.

So how many is that? Three out of ten. So the document they claim is the biggest influence on the creation of our laws has only three items in common with our laws. And do you really think that if the Ten Commandments didn't exist murder and stealing would be legal? At best they've got the oath thing, and that's a shaky one to begin with. So as usual, they are just talking out of their asses over there at Focus on the Family. Despite all of their arguments to the contrary, The Ten Commandments had absolutely no bearing on the creation of the Constitution.

And that's the way it should be. Bad things happen when a religion runs a country. Just ask the women in Afghanistan.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Religious Wrong

No matter how many times I hear the stupid shit that comes out of the mouths of Falwell, Robertson, Dobson, Perkins, and others from the wacko religious right, I'm still amazed by just how dumb they really are. And that the media covers them, which gives them the image of much more credibility than they actually have. The latest thing, courtesy of our friends at Media Matters (because I can't stomach actually watching The 700 Club myself), is this little tidbit from one of the biggest ass-holes in the world, Pat Robertson. On his idiotic show airing on his idiotic network (Christian Broadcasting Network), Robertson went on another of his hate filled tirades blaming gay people for everything wrong with the world:

I had interviewed a lady who was a sociologist who says "I am a lesbian," but she described homosexuality in this term, she said, "They are self-absorbed narcissists." I want you to put that down -- self-absorbed narcissists who are willing to destroy any institution so long as they can have affirmation of their lifestyle. You go back to the various laws that took away the difficulty of getting a divorce, and the people leading the charge were homosexuals, way back in the '70s. So we have no-fault divorce. Who are leading the charge for abortions? So often, you'll find people who are lesbians leading the fight for the destruction of human life. Now they want to destroy marriage.

What the fuck is this dumbass talking about?! OK, so let me get this straight. Homos are the reason we have no-fault divorce and abortion? Ohhhh-kaaaaay. I'd really like him to explain why homosexuals would want no-fault divorce so much since they aren't allowed to get married anyway. You see, Pat, the queers have had no-fault divorce for years. It's called breaking up. No judge, no lawyers, no fights over alimony. They just have to decide whose records belong to who and which one keeps the apartment or the couch they bought together at IKEA. I'm pretty sure none of them care whether or not your wife has to prove your an ass-hole when she decides to leave you. Once they are allowed to get married (and it will happen Pat, you will lose in the end), then they'll probably care what the divorce laws are. And guess who signed the first ever no-fault divorce law in the U.S., in 1969? Drum roll please......Conservative icon, then Governor of California Ronald Reagan, a divorced man himself. But somehow it's the fags fault? I'd say more likely it was the idea of 50-something white male politicians who wanted to dump their 50-something wives to marry their 20-something secretaries. Besides, do we really want to force people who don't want to be married anymore to stay married unless they give a good enough reason to a judge?

Oh, and Pat. Guess what? It's been over a year now in Massachusetts and all the lesbo/fag weddings (well over 6,000 now) haven't destroyed breeder marriage yet.

And lesbians are responsible for abortion? Does this guy even listen to himself? I really can't imagine there are so many lesbians out there accidentally getting pregnant that they would be on the forefront of the abortion rights movement. They've kind of got other problems to deal with right now. Although I imagine in that tiny little brain of his, Pat really believes lesbians all over the country are going and getting artificially inseminated just so they can go to a clinic and kill a fetus. 'Cause, you know, those lesbians just hate babies and would kill them all if they could.

I love how he quotes some mysterious "lesbian sociologist" who says all gays are "self-absorbed narcissists", which would be a really strange thing for a lesbian to say. And I doubt an educated sociologist would use that phrase anyway because she would know that it is redundant to call a narcissist "self-absorbed". If you won't shut-up Pat would you at least buy a goddamn dictionary? Yea, that's right, I said goddamn, you goddamn moron. I suppose now you'll blame me for causing the hurricane season because I used your lord's name in vain.

What a dick.

And the problem with Democrat politicians is they try to win over the dumb hillbillies who listen to this jerk-off. Like Kerry's stupid "I don't believe in gay marriage either" and "I'm not really a liberal" blah blah blah. Stupid way to go about it. I say fuck 'em. These people aren't going to vote for them anyway, they are too far beyond reason so they should stop pandering to these brain dead zealots who actually believe the stupid shit that Falwell says about the World Trade Center attacks being the fault of the queers, abortionists, feminists, and the ACLU. The motto shouldn't be "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em", it should be "if you can't beat 'em, you're not using a big enough stick."


So I found out I've been linked to something called Leftyblog, which is some sort of left-leaning blog link site that divides them by state. Kind of cool I guess. A link is a link (Hell, I wouldn't care if it was a link from NAMBLA if it meant more readers for my unfocused ranting), and at least one person has found me through them. The wonderful things you find out by adding a site meter to your blog.

It got me to thinking about the thing that happened several years back when the two political parties started trying to link each other to some extremist or other weird groups because they could get to them by clicking from the other party's website. You know, it was something like the Republicans saying that in just a few clicks on a link to a link to a link to a link that got you from the Dems site to gay porn. And then the Dems showed how you could do the same and get to something like the KKK's site or some other racist and/or wacko group. Which was all completely stupid of course. It means absolutely nothing as we all know. You could probably start from any site on the internet and get to some fucked up thing like child porn or a Nazi propaganda site in less steps than it takes to get from Charlie Chaplin to Kevin Bacon.

Just the random thought I had when I saw that someone I didn't know linked me to their site.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

God Save The Queen - The Fascist Regime

Thanks to the Sex Pistols for today's title.

So they've done it again. Another catastrophe by British police. First, they said the guy they shot in the head - seven times - was involved with the July 21st attempted bombing of the Tube. Then, they had to admit he wasn't. But when doing so, they had this whole big good reason the mistake happened. This poor man had apparently ran through the station, jumped the barricade, and refused to follow police commands while wearing a big heavy winter coat (you know, to hide the bomb). So he appeared to be a threat and they had to shoot him so he couldn't set off his strapped-on bomb.

Turns out that most of this isn't true. A British TV station got a hold of a leaked video and documents that show him walking casually into the station, using a ticket to get through the turnstiles, stopping to grab a newspaper, and then getting on the train. He was wearing a thin denim jacket, and also had no backpack to conceal a bomb. He was then grabbed and pinned by a one of the British cops that was following him and then shot in the head. Seven times. Plus one in the shoulder and three misses.

Have these idiots learned nothing over the years? Have they never heard of the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four, the Maguire Seven, or Bloody Sunday and all the other innocent people that have been jailed or killed over the years by the British government? Come on, all they have to do is watch the movies In The Name Of The Father and Bloody Sunday. If they haven't, I'm sure Amazon could get them to London in a couple days. Probably qualify for a discount if you buy both movies together. It would be well worth the cost. You know, show them to new recruits and say "Don't do this".

My favorite part of this is the reason why they didn't know they had the wrong guy. Apparently it was because the guy whose job it was to confirm the identity with a video monitor had gone to take a leak. And these fucking people are asking for more police powers, like being able to hold people for three months without charge. Yea, because that's worked out so well in the past.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Paper Or Plastic? How About No?

Time now for another episode of Deni's Pet Peeves.

What is it with this damn country and our overuse of all things bad for the environment? This was even more highlighted by my recent trip to Ireland, but has always bugged me even without the most recent comparison to another country. I speak of grocery bags. Mostly the plastic ones, as they seem to be the most used now. I assume it's because they are cheaper. But holy shit, they hand the things out now like candy at Halloween.

This is completely the opposite of my experience in Ireland last month. Whenever we went to the store there, no matter how many things we bought, we were never offered a bag. I can't be sure, but I don't think they even had bags for customers at the stores, because I never saw one. When people there go to the store they are expected to either bring their own bag or be able to carry it all in their arms. This doesn't seem to cause any trouble at all. As an American tourist, you are not prepared for it at first ("OK, I'll put the cookies in this pocket and the cheese in this one and carry the bread and milk...."), but it really isn't a problem at all once you know about it. Buying a lot of stuff? Bring your own bag. Since stores supplying bags never became the norm, no one expects or demands it.

Contrast this with America. In the course of a day, one can buy three or four items and end up at home with 6-8 plastic fucking bags (double bagging is insanely common) that fill up the space underneath the kitchen sink until they are overflowing and then get thrown out with the recycling (hopefully) or garbage (shame on you). And for what? Seriously, ask yourself how many times you've walked home with one or two items in a plastic bag that would have been easy to carry without the bag or throw in your backpack/briefcase/purse. I'll bet it's a lot, right? Most of the time I'll remember to wave off the bag, but so often when I'm buying something I won't be paying attention and forget or not realize until it's too late. Like the other day. I go to the CVS to get toilet paper and a birthday card. While I was paying through the little debit/credit machine I failed to stop the checkout woman from bagging my TWO items. And this is what she did. First, she double-bagged the toilet paper. Now, if you feel the need to double bag a four-pack of TP, you really need to consider the strength of the plastic bags you're buying for you store. And then, this is still mind blowing to me, she put the card in another separate, smaller bag before putting it in with the toilet paper. Because, I guess, you wouldn't want the wife's birthday card to be contaminated by touching the TP packaging. That would just be gross. So after my walk home that takes about a minute and a half, I had two more full size plastic grocery bags and one small "knick-knack" size plastic bag. For one pack of toilet paper and a birthday card. For about a hundred yard walk up the hill to my apartment. Now, of course I should have remembered to stop her before she did it. But, since I was buying so few items, can't she ask me if I need a bag before throwing everything into one? Or three? What the hell was that about? Did she think there was a chance of the toilet paper ripping through the bottom of the bag if she didn't double it? What was it about the TP that made her feel the need to protect the card from it? I mean, I didn't buy pre-owned TP for cryin' out loud. And I know what you might be thinking, that I could have told her I didn't need the bags and given them back to her. I have done that before, but not always a good idea. For one thing, the attitude you get from the clerk is amazing. Most of them will act like you just pissed on their shoes and told them to clean it up. Also, when I've done this in the past, they will take the bags and throw them in the garbage can. So you can't even count on them being used again. Clerks just want the damn things out of the way, they don't give a shit if they get used again. It seems that once the thing has been touched it's considered "used". At least if I take them home I can make sure they get used again or recycled.

But I do my best. I always wave off the bag if I know I can carry it without. Most people, it seems, don't. They just take it as given without even thinking about it. That's why I think asking people if they need it would at least make them think about it. How many times have you seen someone walk out of a store and take their item(s) out of the bag and chuck the sack in the garbage can right outside the store? I've seen that a lot. And in Boston you're just as likely to see them chuck it to the ground. But that's another episode of Deni's Pet Peeves. Well, as you've all probably figured out by now, Boston is about five seasons worth of episodes.

But I can do better. And so can everyone. You know you can. Just say no to the bags, even if they don't ask you first. Even when you're buying several items at once, think about a few things. Will they all fit in your purse or backpack? If you are just running out of your apartment down to the corner, don't you have a bag you could take with you? And those of you that live in the suburbs and use your cars to get everywhere (also another episode, don't get me started), how easy would it be to throw a few reusable, sturdy cloth bags in your car to use when you go to the store. You would never have to get a bag from the grocery store again. You're using more then your fair share of petroleum already with your car, how about using a little less in plastic. Yes, for those of you that don't know, plastic comes from petroleum. Do I even need to point out any of the million reasons why it would be a good idea to use less oil these days? Or all days?

And for christsakes, don't be that woman in front of me at the White Hen asking for a bag for her single can of Mountain Dew or that guy at the liquor store asking for a bag for his six pack of beer. Yes, I've seen people ask for a bag for something that has it's own fucking handle built in. What do they think that's there for, so they can hang the six pack on the wall when they get home? It's times like those I wish I could make lasers shoot out of my eyes and blow up people's heads.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Yet Again

What the fuck do we elect these people for anyway? Just to cut our taxes(some people's anyway, not mine), screw up the economy and start unprovoked wars? At some point don't we expect them to do some good even if they are someone with a different political bent than ourselves? Aren't there moral truths? Especially from leaders that tout their religious convictions no matter what side of the aisle they're on?

These are the questions I have when I think about what is going on in Niger and Sudan. In Niger we have a horrible famine and in Sudan we have, by my own government's admission, genocide. And what is Bush doing about it? A whole lot of nothin'. You see, it is important for him to get his rest and cut logs on his five week vacation. It's hard work starting wars and giving taxpayer money to millionaires & oil companies, so he needs his rest. The "War On Tear-err" has him plum tuckered out you know.

I'm sure you all have seen, as I have, the horrible images coming out of Niger on the news. Relief agencies are scrambling and struggling to get food to these people and save their lives, and because of the coverage many more people are volunteering to do what they can to help. These people are heroes to me, as I'm sure just about every other person sees them as well. And I can't even fathom the logistics of trying to get enough food to an African desert to save an estimated 2.5 million people. But you know what could really help them? A really big army with a bunch of really big cargo planes. Hmmmmm, now who has one of those? Oh, that's right, WE DO! And not only that, but this could have been headed off before it even got to emergency status. You know damn well that if you and I are hearing about this now, then our government knew about this a long time ago and chose to do nothing. I guess it is punishment for Niger's attempting to sell to Saddam the materials to make nuclear weapons. Oh wait, that was a lie. Well, maybe it's because our military is too busy spreading "freedom" and "democracy" in the Middle East.

And then there is Sudan. It has been two years now that genocide has been going on in Darfur. The current administration has called it that themselves, so there is no denying what we are dealing with there. And much like the Niger famine, they have done nothing. Not only is doing nothing immoral, but in this case it is also illegal. You see, my country - along with several others - is a signee of a little thing called the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This international treaty was ratified in 1948 in the wake of some little ass-hole who thought it was OK to kill off 11 million Jews, gays, disabled people and other "undesirables" just because he could. And after the smoke cleared the world said "Never Again". So they signed off on the Genocide Convention, which says that it is the duty of every country to prevent genocide when it is identified as happening. But we never have. The Kurds in Iraq and Turkey, Muslims in Bosnia and Serbia, East Timor, Rwanda..........

How many times will we say "never again" before we actually never let it happen again? It's all well and good to have trials for Saddam and Milosevec and the like after it is over, but when will we actually do the "prevent" part of the convention? The crimes committed against the Kurds and Shiites by Saddam are touted a lot as reasons to start the current war, but what were we doing when those things were actually happening? Oh that's right, we were giving him weapons. Back when Iraq was still one of our client states, when these things happened, we just turned our heads and let him do what he wanted. And Rummy, Cheney, and Dubya's daddy were all a part of that. Only when he did something against our economic/oil interests did they decide that Saddam was bad. If they had stopped - instead of helped - him back then, we wouldn't be in this mess today.

And the dumbfuck in the White House now is not the only guilty one. Congress does nothing, and past presidents have their sins as well. Clinton's greatest shame is not a blow job in the oval office, but Rwanda. And I don't give a fuck how many houses Jimmy Carter builds for poor hillbillies in America, how many elections he monitors, or how much he criticizes Bush (though I do love that). It will never be enough to redeem himself for selling weapons to Indonesia, which he knew damn well were for use against the people of East Timor. Something the Nobel committee should have been reminded of before they gave him the Peace Prize. Makes me sick.

I don't think helping to stop genocide and famine is too much to ask of my government. UNICEF can only do so much in Niger, and only an army can stop what is happening in Sudan. My country wants all of the power but none of the responsibility that comes with it. We can't have it both ways.

Bush has taken two breaks from his vacation in Texas (who the hell goes home for a vacation anyway?). Once to sign an energy bill full of tax breaks for oil companies, and the other to sign a transportation bill full of pork projects like a bridge to nowhere in Alaska. No rushing back to Washington to deal with the situations in Niger or Darfur. I guess he had more important things to do. Because, you know, there was a tree on the ranch that needed cutting.

Friday, August 05, 2005

'Roid Rage

As everyone has heard by now, Rafael Palmeiro tested positive for steroids and the baseball writers and sportscasters are having a field day with the whole thing. Going on and on about whether or not he deserves to go to the Hall Of Fame now that he's been tainted, with a lot of them calling for more and tougher steroid testing for players. If you've ever watched Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti on ESPN you've seen that he is absolutely foaming at the mouth over this topic. And now Congress is going to investigate ol' Raffy for perjury. If you remember, back in March several current and former Major League players were called before a committee to testify about steroid use in their profession. So OK, we have a crappy economy and a war we started in the Middle East that's going really poorly, but hey why don't we use our time to investigate a few dumb jocks using steroids? We got nothin' better to do! And of course all the players denied they ever took steroids or HGH, except for Jose Canseco who admitted it all in his book (and implicated Palmeiro and Mark McGwire among others) and was the main reason the hearing was called. And also McGwire, who didn't admit or deny anything and whimpered like a little girl who just lost her first beauty contest. He kept saying things like "look forward and not back" like a question-avoiding pro. So of course he looked the worst at the time. Palmeiro was the best though. Not only did he deny it vehemently, he waved his finger, in a clumsy unnatural way, at Congress as he did it. And I mean really clumsy. I swear it looked like you could see him read the note on his paper ("wave finger during this line", oh right.) before he did it. Then he prattled on about escaping the tyranny of Cuba to become a success by hard work and blah blah fucking blah.

And now he has tested positive for 'roids, as I understand the kids call them. But he says they got into his body by accident, maybe through a supplement or a food. And guess who believes him? His old friend and former boss, The Texas Idiot himself, Dubya. He said this:

Rafael Palmeiro is a friend. He testified in public and I believe him. He's the kind of person that's going to stand up in front of the Klieg lights and say he didn't use steroids, and I believe him.

Goody, Bushy believes him so it's all good. Never mind.

What bullshit. These fucking people on the right (and more than a few on the left) are the ones pushing mandatory drug testing at all levels of life, from high-schoolers to job applicants. And they argue it is a reasonable and effective way to keep our kids drug free and our society safer. But the minute someone El Presidente likes gets busted, he says he believes the excuse. Or that the test was faulty. So what they are admitting is that these tests aren't reliable. Which means there could be kids out there who have been kicked out of school or off teams that said the same thing ("I didn't do it") that could also really be innocent. I guess Big Brother doesn't apply to the rich and powerful.

Whew, that was way too long of a set up to bring me to the point. Does anyone really give a shit? I mean come on, we're talking about guys who run around bases for a living, not people in charge of national security or piloting an airplane that I'm on. If these idiots want to take something that will shrink their dicks and give them a back full of zits, why should I care? Raffy's inability to get an erection has no bearing on my life, except that it is something to use to make fun of him at a game. I guess we now know why Palmeiro, at such a young age, was doing those Viagra commercials. So he's been taking two performance enhancing drugs. Ba-da-bump. Thank you, I'm here all week.

What this all comes down to is that drug testing is fucked up and going down a slippery slope. Personally I could give a shit about these overpaid millionaires and what their employer is doing to them. But the more we legitimize this form of invasion of privacy the more it becomes legitimate to do to everybody. I can't support doing it to millionaire jocks if I don't support doing it to video store clerks or Wal-Mart stockboys. Hell, if your lot in life is schlepping away for Wal-Mart, you better be on drugs. What other excuse could you possibly have? Only heavy drugs could make working there seem more desirable than sleeping under a freeway overpass and eating out of trash cans.
"Well, I had a half eaten Egg Mcmuffin from the garbage for lunch and haven't had a shower in a month, but at least I'm not greeting people at Wal-Mart, so I'm doing OK" - This is a sane person's thoughts.
"Well, the rent is due so I guess I'll take that job at Wal-Mart" - Get this poor guy to rehab!

So where does it end?
"All right then, your home mortgage application is all set, we just need you to pee in this cup for us."
"OK, as soon as that blood test comes back you'll be getting your Discover card in 7-10 days."
"So we'll get this swab over to the lab and get your video-rental membership going after the DNA is approved"
"All right then Mr. Mayer, your sperm count seems to be in order, so here is your first book of checks and your deposit slips. Thanks for choosing Bank Of America."

Give a foot and they take a mile, people. Just say no to filling the cup.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Runaway Juror

I'm back from an amazing trip to Ireland, where I drank much Guinness and drove on the left side of the road. Not at the same time of course. And Guinness really does taste better in grand old Eire. More on that later. Guess what has happened to me?

I've got jury duty! Not just called either, I just returned from the courthouse where I was actually seated on a jury. My first time even being called, so very exciting. Obviously I can't write anything about it yet beyond these facts that the judge said we could tell people:

1. I have jury duty in Suffolk County Court.
2. I have been impanelled for a civil case.

And though it seems like a boring case, you never know what can happen. Maybe I'll have some fun things to write about next week. But maybe not. This should be interesting.

On the first day of being called I felt like I was taking an airplane trip. Waited around a long time with impatient people waiting to hear announcements, and then had to watch a video about the jury system that came across much like those pre-flight safety and info videos all the airlines show now instead of doing flight attendant demonstrations. Cheap video camera work and non-actors smiling into the camera trying to sound exciting while saying some of the most mundane shit in the world. I can't imagine how they got the chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to be in it. Maybe it's in her contract, like movie stars having to do press tours.

I was sitting in the jury pool room today thinking how great it is that I live somewhere that a "jury of your peers" gets to decide the fate of court cases instead of some Grand Ayatollah or some fucked up military style tribunal or some tribal court that orders your sister to be gang raped because you stole a loaf of bread or some shit. But then my second thought was "is it any better to let a schmuck like me do it?" I mean come on, nobody even asked the jurors any questions like "are you a crack-whore?" I certainly wouldn't want a crack-whore deciding my case, so how do they know they don't have one in our midst? Well, I'm not supposed to talk about the case with my fellow jurors until deliberations, so maybe I'll just bring up the whole crack-whore thing in casual conversation during breaks. That's sure to be an ice breaker.