Monday, June 30, 2008

Someone Missed The Point

Last Father's Day, as a gift, my two boys bought me a gift card to the local cineplex. Well, not the local one, but one located on the other side of town. This past weekend, I decided to take them to see WALL-E, to continue our longstanding tradition of seeing Pixar movies in the theater. Wilbur protested at first, because he thought it was a "baby" movie, and he being all of eleven years old now, was too grown up to go see it.
The movie tells the tales of a future where the planet Earth is a vast wasteland covered with garbage bought by humans at the giant "Buy 'n' Large (think Wal-Mart) store, then disposed of, until the planet is uninhabitable by humans. A very good environmental movie, with a message that resonates not only with children, but adults as well. In the end, both my boys enjoyed the movie, and thanked me for taking them. However.....
I took them to an afternoon matinee, and bought them two children tickets, which were appropriate, since, as much as they may protest, they are children. Because of this, they were given two "WALL-E" digital watches, a promotional toy wrapped in plastic, made of plastic, and destined to be worn for a while, then end up in some scrap heap much like the kind WALL-E compresses into cubes at the start of the film.
I'm sure this is not the fault of the film makers, they probably didn't say "Hey! Let's make a cheap giveaway to entice children into the theaters on opening weekend". No, that would be the work of marketers, who, obviously oblivious to the film's central message, thought that there's not enough junk promotional toys rotting in landfills, let's add a couple more.
Both kids gave the watches to me to hang on to, (they've moved on to real watches with hands, digital watches are for "little kids"), and I stuck them in one of Grandpa Jones' old cigar boxes, along with other collected trinkets, where someday, they might actually gain value, while the rest of them rot away in a cube of trash compacted by a Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

To The Honorable Vernon J. Ehlers

Perhaps you don't remember me, but I wrote to you five and a half years ago asking you to vote against the Congressional authorization for the use of force against Iraq. You thanked me for my concern, but went ahead and voted for it anyway. And we now know how that turned out. I was right, and you were wrong.
Now I am writing you again, this time asking you to please vote against House Resolution 362, also known as the Iran war resolution. This piece of legislation is very detrimental to the future of our nation, our military, and our people.
As signees to Non-Proliferation Treaty, the US has the duty to respect another nations seeking of the atom for peaceful use. As our own National Intelligence Estimate has clearly stated, Iran has long abandoned it's nuclear weapons program, and is seeking using the atom for peaceful means. Either we spent too much money on our 16 different intelligence agencies, or we must stand by and respect their findings. If we blockade Iran because of this, it will just add another to the list of treaties that the US has violated under the current administration. Maybe you can have that on your conscience, but could you explain it to your children or grandchildren why we hold other nations up to a higher standard than we hold ourselves to.
A blockade of Iran will send oil prices even higher. Right now, the US economy is struggling under the continually rising oil prices. Many working people, myself included, are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet when we are faced with the critical decision of either feeding our families, or fueling our vehicles so we may go to work and earn an already war-weakened dollar. How will you explain it to future generations that destroying our economy was worth doing for a nuclear weapons program our own intelligence sources say doesn't exist?
Finally, our military is stretched to the breaking point, fighting two separate wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq. It cannot support a war with Iran. An attack against Iran, by either the US or it's ally in the Middle East will only put more of our soldiers in harms way. Too many families have had loved ones returned home in flag draped caskets. How many more of them will see them come home that way because we have an administration that has consistently refused to use diplomacy to bring an end to this situation?
I know that you are a good Christian man, Mr. Ehlers, and so I appeal to your good Christian instincts. Would Jesus support the wholesale slaughter of a people when working towards peace is possible? Trust me, Congressman, I have read everything on this, from the lies and propaganda, to the truth. I have read the words of Ahmadenijad, both the mangled by war propagandists, and the true translation. Iran is a country of peaceful people, like those here in the US, who are being pushed to the brink of destruction by leaders who only want war. Please, again, I ask you vote NO on House Resolution 362. Thank you for the time to read this, I realize how valuable yours is.

(write your representative here)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Death Of Comedy

I was informed of the death of comedian George Carlin the other day while at work. I was listening to the Free Beer and Hot Wings Show while they discussed whether or not Carlin was a genius (which he certainly was). While playing his famous monologue Baseball Vs. Football, the jack-off with the sound effects board kept hitting the "not funny" sound bite mixed with the Homer Simpson "Be more funny" sound bite. That's talent, that's intelligent, that's genius, that's groundbreaking, that's....lame. For the show exemplifies what "comedy" has become these days: insults of celebrities in the news mixed with insults of people who do stupid things topped off with abuse of willing idiots who'll do anything for money, attention, or both.
George Carlin was a genius, but he never throw it in your face, or seemed to demand special acknowledgment or treatment because of it. He used language, sometimes scatological, sometimes intelligent to remind us all that we are all a bunch of morons who deserve to die and that's why we do. He tried to make you think, rather than try to bludgeon you with rapid fire jokes. He always questioned everything, rather than accept what he was told at face value.
I was first exposed to Carlin in the seventies, back when I was "experimenting" with pot, and the fact that he did some stoner humor was appealing to me. Plus, he swore, which you would never hear on my father's Bill Cosby records, but mostly he was poking holes in the establishment, while never fully embracing the alternative, either.
I have a couple of his books, which I picked up, like most things I own, second hand, and I keep them on a nightstand along with my collection of vintage Mad books. Sometimes you need to laugh. I also picked up a couple of his records last summer, and showed them to, and played them for my kids, who only know him as Rufus in the Bill and Ted movies. Most of the stuff was over their heads, while the rest was inappropriate (which I didn't play for them). Someday, when they're older, they may dig them out and discover what comedy really is.
What it isn't is Last Comic Standing a "reality" show where comedians compete against each other in order to win the chance to, I don't know, make a bad movie or have their own lame sitcom. In this show, you can see the differences between good comedy and the current crap. While some comedians are absurd, Carlin used his talent to point out the everyday absurdities we all go through on a daily basis. None of them have the command of the language that Carlin does, and while he exhibited wit, most comedians on this show revel in their own witlessness.
Some comedians make you laugh, very few of them make you think, for Carlin to be able to do both is a measure of his true genius.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Phantom Of The Neocons

Here's a threat if I ever heard one-Bill Kristol has stated that Bush might bomb Iran if Obama is going to win (which he is most certainly going to do, despite "liberal" media attempts to support poor Ol' John McCain). So, if we don't vote for John McCain, we'll have war with Iran, and if we do elect McCain, we'll have war with Iran as well.
I wonder what they'd do if Nader won?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Support Offshore Oil Drilling? You Might Be An Idiot!

Bush wants to lift the ban on offshore oil drilling, as do most idiots, but the high oil prices aren't being caused by oil shortages. The Saudis promise to increase production only caused oil to fall $4.75 a barrel, still over $131.00 a barrel.No, at the risk of sounding like a freaking broken record, the three main causes of rising oil prices are:
1. Speculators driving up the price of oil. Sell that Hummer and invest whatever meager price you get for it and invest it in investment banks, hedge funds, institutional investors and others.
2.The weak dollar is also behind the rise in oil prices. Since the dollar is worth less (almost worthless), it takes more of them to buy the same amount of oil as it used to.
3. Oil jumped over $10 on Friday to over $139 a barrel, partly on US dollar weakness and rising tension between Israel and Iran. Just for insight, Israel is planning to attack Iran, while Iran has made no such threat.
Like Iraq was for the benefit of Big Oil, this new Bush plan will only benefit the Big Oil companies. Because if you think that oil companies will sell the oil they drill offshore at anything less than market price, than you don't know free markets and how big corporations worship at the altar of them. This won't help out the average American motorist at all, only, once again, major contributors to the Bush legacy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

When Gas Hits $8.00 A Gallon, Be Sure To Thank Your Congress Critter

Because even though 67% of Americans favor using diplomacy when dealing with America's enemies, and 59% support talks with Iran, Congress is fast tracking a resolution forcing a blockade against Iran. They can't sign it fast enough. Forgetting that our own NIE from last year has stated that Iran gave up it's nuclear ambitions five years ago, I guess Congress thinks they know better. And remember, these are the same people who voted for war with Iraq, despite there being evidence that the Bush administration was lying.
And therein is the problem. Once you get mired in a place like Iraq, it's hard to pull out. Right now, despite Scott McClellan's new book stating the Bush administration used propaganda to turn public opinion in their favor, no one has suggested that maybe since there are no obtainable goals, maybe we should get the fuck out of Iraq. John McCain thinks that Iraq isn't important, but then why does he think we should stay there a hundred years?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Waiting For The Smackdown, Pudstain!

Driving home from work every afternoon, I spin around the dial looking for music to listen to on my journey. On one radio station, mixed in with the corporate "alternative" music, Pudstain spouts off his very limited worldview on issues, blaming "liberals" for every problem with the US. Lately, he has been attacking Barack Obama, never forgetting to remind listeners that his middle name is Hussein, while never even mentioning John McCain, or his faults, foibles, or follies. Well I will listen no more.
My ex turned me on to a great radio station that actually plays real alternative music. I've heard Ludo's Love Me Dead several times, but even better, real alternative dinosaurs like the Ramones, or REM doing songs from Reckoning. So now, as I try to rrelax after a long day at work, I don't have to get annoyed listening to some barely literate record spinner postulate propaganda for the corporate media, I just hear music, which is all I really need. So I posted this little screed at his blog:
Hey Pudstain!
Guess what? I found a new radio station that actually plays alternative music, and doesn't try to pass off old tired and mainstream music like Guns'N'Roses or AC/DC as "alternative". Also, their deejays are unobtrusive and don't spout their right wing echo chamber talking points over the air while simultaneously claiming there is such a thing as a "liberal" media.
I'm glad, because now I don't have to listen to your crap attacking Sen. Obama. Why aren't you praising John "Can't-tell-a-Shi'ite-from-a-Sunni" McCain? If he's so much better, why don't we hear about Grandpappy McFlip-Flop is so much better? Let's see-increased deficits due to his continued support of Bush tax cuts, which haven't strengthened the economy, but rather, weakened the dollar. That's why gas is so expensive. It's not that the "liberals" won't let us drill for oil, or build more refineries, it's because the economic policies of the GOP have destroyed the dollar, thereby driving the price of everything, not just oil. Couple that with speculators betting on oil futures and you have a recipe for high oil prices. Oh yeah, and I forgot, Bush and McCain's insane idea of attacking Iran because they fear (with no real evidence) that Iran is enriching uranium for defense purposes is also driving up oil prices as well. If we want four more years of even higher oil prices, than hey, McCain is the perfect candidate. If you want four more years of pissing money down the sinkhole that is Iraq, increasing our debt even more, then hey! McCain's your guy.
I realize it doesn't matter to you to lose one listener, especially one who's intelligent. I'm sure you'd rather have one who spouts such mindless verbiage as "America F**K YEA and thinks that you speak not for the corporate media but for the "average American".

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Backyard Lefty Terrorist Challenge

Okay, I don't have a backyard. I live in an apartment complex, and the grassy area between buildings are referred to as the "commons". Directly across from my balcony, which is as backyard-y as it gets here, is a building housing the loudest seven year old terrorist alive.
Every night, about this time, she'll come out, and start calling to the two-year-old girl who lives in the apartment below me.
Naya will hear her call through the screen slider and run out on the porch
"Yilyi!"(Or Lilly)
Then Lilly will ask if Naya can come out to play, and when she does, she will torture that poor little girl until she runs home crying to her mother, screeching in the same pitch as fingernails on a chalkboard. Lilly will chase after her, apologetic, afraid that Naya's moms won't let her play with her no more.
Sometimes Lilly will be playing with Shauna, a girl roughly the same age whose voice is set in a perpetual whine, and always seems on the verge of throwing a tantrum because no one will let he have her way. Shauna lives with her dad, and if she has a mother, she never shows her face. Lilly doesn't have a mom either, but she does have a Tammy, who sits on the patio late at night, obviously intoxicated, talking to somebody on her cell phone about whomever she has decided she doesn't like (usually Shauna)
But if you ignore the drama, and look beyond the garbage that never makes it into one of the ten dumpsters on site and over the trees, the view is splendid.

This is what I consider my backyard-Huff Park. About a mile down the road, it's where I take my boys for walks when they come visit me. The park, located within the city limits, is brimming with wildlife. If you go right before sundown, you can see some of the herd of deer that live there. And if you're extra lucky, you might see the fox and her two kits that live there as well.
(Posted in response to Fred's backyard terrorist challenge)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The United States Of Hysterica

Today, at work, all our tomatoes were removed from consumption. Even though our vendor assured us the tomatoes were safe, and came from neither Florida or Mexico, because other places had set a precedent, we had to follow suit. Tomorrow, they will be cooked into a sauce that will sit in the cooler moldering because no one has the foresight to actually know what to with them.
If the US practiced more sustainable food distribution, the outbreak would not be as severe. But, Americans, gluttonous as they may be, want to have fruits and vegetables even when they're not in season, and so they are shipped in from sunnier climes where they can be grown year round, even without the ever watchful eye of the FDA to make sure sanitary conditions are met.
So far, 167 people in 16 states have been stricken ill by the tomatoes, with health officials being alerted to a problem on May 22. That was two weeks ago, when the attention of the news media was distracted by the will-she-or-won't-she drop out of the Clinton campaign. Now the media, with it's intention of selling fear, have trotted out this story to push the American television watcher into a hysterical panic. Are deadly tomatoes at your grocery store? We'll tell you, right after this commercial.
What we are seeing now is something similar to the hysteria created over Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. Remember how the average television watcher was whipped into a frenzy over something that didn't exist? Remember the hysteria of "payback" for 9/11, which Iraq had nothing to do with? Meanwhile, alqaeda slips into Pakistan (which has nuclear weapons, and I'm not sure our recent attack ther which killed 11 soldiers has helped us win over the Musharraf regime)
Now we have the beginnings of Iran hysteria, with George W Bush not ruling out a military strike in Iran. You'll know it's coming when the average American television watcher is hysterical about Iran like they were about Iraq. So far, we're only at seven percent, but that could change in time for the November elections.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Why Impeachment Is Off The Table

Dennis Kucinich has introduced 35 articles of impeachment against George W. Bush. Article 1? Creating a secret propaganda campaign to manufacture a false case for war against Iraq.
This path leads to Larry Franklin and the Office of Special Plans, inevitably to the Aipac spy scandal and prostitutes linked to Aipac and hired by Jack Abramoff in a sex-spy ring which leads to the murder of Gus Boulis and a visit to his SunCruz casino boats by devout Muslim Mohammed Atta and other alleged 9/11 hijackers.It's a mighty big can of worms, no wonder Nancy Pelosi doesn't want to open it up, by the time they got to the bottom of it, Dick Cheney would be on his fifth heart and Chelsea Clinton would be running for president.
Meanwhile, Congress can't give Israel more money fast enough...........

Monday, June 09, 2008

In The Seventies

The thing about John McCain is not only is he in his 70's, he's also helplessly mired in the 70's decade. First, he likens Barack Obama to Jimmy Carter, now, even worse, we find out McCain is also a big Abba fan. I don't expect him to be a fan of hip-hop, or My Chemical Romance, but if you're going to get all retro, why choose the campest, kitschiest band of the seventies? The fact that he is using this as a way to woo disaffected Clinton supporters says a lot about how out of it they are.
McCain, on his way to wrapping up the GOP nomination, started playing ABBA's Take A Chance On Me at his rallies, and that's what we'd be doing, taking a chance that he won't continue the detrimental failed policies of the Bush administration. Except he will, because he has said he will.
Let's hope that in November, McCain meets his Waterloo

Friday, June 06, 2008

Pissing Over The Airwaves

The right wing noise machine is desperate. They thought they cruise into the White House this November on the strength of "national security" and "fighting the war on terror" with "war hero" John "Depends" McCain. But with the publication of Scott McClellan's book and the recent Senate committee report affirming what those in the progressive blogosphere have known for six years, that intelligence was manipulated and the media exploited to sell the war in Iraq, McCain can no longer run on that issue, because support for the war will continue to dwindle until the only ones backing it will be the Bush cronies making billions from it. And Barack Obama, who has opposed the war from the start, will appear more desirable as chief executive, as he seeks a way out of the war.
Forget saving face, America was embarrassed by the invasion in the first place. Nothing this side of New Orleans made this country look weak and worthless than our inability to manage a war against a country run by a dictator hampered by years of economic sanctions. All the finest weaponry in the world can not impose the neocon's will against people who do not wish to bow to it.
Forget about victory, it is impossible because it can never be clearly defined. Every reason given as justification (WMD, 9/11, alQaeda) has turned out to false, and the ones who allegedly attacked us are still holed up in the mountains of Pakistan. With the exception of Osama Bin laden, who has been dead for years, new audiotape notwithstanding.
And forget about running on a strong economy, the GOP's anti-regulatory nightmare has weakened the dollar, driven up oil prices, and sent the housing market into a tailspin.
So all they have now are these nonsensical attacks by "balanced" Fox News that accuse Obama of plagiarism because he and Mario Cuomo both gave speeches that were written in the English language. Which leads to the question, who's stupider, the writers at Fox News who hought they could pull a fast one, or the millions of mouth breathing television watchers who buy into the whole lie?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

You Can't Have It Both Ways

John McCain claims to be an agent of change. He also claims to be anti-lobbyist. So where was John McCain yesterday? At the Aipac conference, arguably the most powerful lobby in Washington, calling for more of the same Bush-style "diplomacy" against Iran
McCain is so full of shit the only change that can be associated with him is when he fills his Depends, and they need to be changed.