Friday, February 29, 2008

McCain the alien

Man, does this guy look old or what? His skin looks like paper.


I've heard of only two TV reports handling the question of whether John McCain is a "natural-born citizen" of the US as demanded by the Constitution: once on the Today show (hard-hitting journalism!) and a fleeting mention on CNN today. (Thank GOD someone in the work cafeteria changed it off Faux for a few minutes; but never fear! someone changed it right back)
My guess on this is that it's just much ado about nothing; back in prehistoric time when McGeezer was hatched, the Panama Canal Zone was considered US soil. (By the way, you can read an interesting take on the entire Panama Canal Zone issue in John Perkins' Confessions of an Economic Hitman.)
I googled "McCain natural born" and got a few hits, including this one from the UK's Times. What do you think: Does this story have any chance of taking hold? Does it signal the potential return of Mittens?

A peak into the personal life

Big changes are coming -- in the form of a commitment ceremony performed by State College mayor Bill Welch right on the Penn State campus in downtown State College! Being the politically active and loving couple that we are, The Kat and I volunteered to be one of six same-sex couples who will participate in this ceremony.

We're really excited about it, having talked often about getting married. The Kid is excited beyond belief, as the ceremony will take place during her spring break.

Of course, some people are not as happy about this as we are. For some reason, a bunch of baptists in Altoona (about 40 miles away from State College) are getting a petition together to stop this atrocity. The funniest thing about the protest is that Bill Welch has already refused to change his mind on this issue. The guy knows that his base--the staunch liberals here in State College--will support him on this, and a bunch of people from Altoona have no say in his political future.

The whole thing will take place in the HUB, the student center on campus. The LGBT Graduate Student Coalition came up with this idea and has gotten local businesses to donate flowers, food, and decorations for the event.

Kat's come up with some neat ideas, like having each of us make some sort of statement about why we're participating, what the ceremony means to us personally and politically, etc. which I think will be neat.
Still, these crazy baptists are trying to elicit the support of baptist churches all over the country, so I'm wondering if the national news will pick up on the story. Maybe it'll even be on Fox Nazi Channel!
I haven't decided whether to tell my parents or not; they've already said they wouldn't come to any sort of wedding for us, but at least they've accepted Kat and like her, which is an improvement. I probably won't tell them. However, if you happen to see a story in your newspaper, now you can laugh and say, "Hey--I know someone who's going to be in that ceremony!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Old business on Fox Nazi Channel

Am I the only one who, forced to watch Faux "news" channel at work, noticed their election ads that ended with the tagline, "The most powerful name in politics"? Since when did a "news" network claim they were in politics? Since Fox, obviously. However, before I remembered to mention this crazy ad to you, loyal reader, I noticed yesterday that their latest ad ends with "The most powerful name in news."

I guess if you've decided you're going to lie for a living, you're going to live for lying--all the damned time. They even claim in these ads to be the "Number One news source." Of course, they just said that, with no further qualification or clarification or documentation. Guess maybe they're number one in Brit Hume's book.

Speaking of Brit Hume, didn't he used to be a legitimate reporter for one of the major networks, maybe ABC? Was he always a partisan moron or did he just sell out when Faux came along?

Lol-buns and poetry

By request, here is my attempt at lol-catting William Carlos Williams' "The Red Wheelbarrow" for our Aunt Dahlia:



Teh red weel barrow
I’m in
ur

red weel
barrow

feelin ur
rain

pettin ur
chickz.


This one's for you, CDP!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Prepare to get angry at me

I'm writing this post knowing that some of you might get a little ticked off at me. But please--hear me out.

One of the reasons I can’t stand listening to BushCo and people like Limbaugh, Beck, O’Reilly, Kristol, etc. is that these people willfully ignore the truth, spouting bold-faced lies and ridiculous statements that their supporters accept unquestioningly and then parrot back as “fact.” Logical appeals are wasted on most repugs; they deny the validity of any numbers, studies, or other factual information that proves them wrong, claiming it’s biased or (worse yet) just a fabrication of the “liberal media.” Ethical appeals are equally in vain, for the simple reason that anyone who still supports BushCo or their brand of “conservatism” has pretty much lost any sense of right and wrong, good and bad. Emotional appeals become the fodder for mAnn Coulter-style vituperative attacks on what the repugs call “whiny” “bleeding-heart” “dirty hippie” “hopelessly naïve” progressive philosophies.

So I avoid conservative blogs; I try to ignore the Fox Nazi Channel when it’s on in the cafeteria at work. Why listen to these people’s lies and get my blood pressure up?

Lately, however, I’ve noticed an equally frustrating trend as this battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton continues. I’ve been pretty open about the fact that I've never really liked Obama, as his “change we can believe in” platitudes, lack of specifics, and what I perceive as his genuine INsincerity struck me from the first time I saw him speak and read his book. That said, now there’s this flap over his alleged plagiarism of several people’s speeches, talking points, and even strategic plans. People on both sides of the issue are claiming they’re right, and it’s starting to get ugly.

NOTE: I’m not mentioning any names or linking to any blogs, because I don’t want to piss anyone off or spotlight anyone in particular. So even if you start to think I might be talking about you in the rest of this post, please just read on with an open mind.

What surprises—and scares—me is how the level of rhetoric between the people who support Obama and the people who believe Obama is indeed “borrowing” ideas and words from others is fast becoming bitter and angry, and not a little unlike the wingnuts' defense of their Prezdint-Decider-Guy. Just yesterday, I read a comments exchange on one of my favorite blogs between two people who normally get along very well. One of them was attacking Hillary Clinton, while the other was asking, “but what do you have to say about these examples of Obama’s plagiarism?” It went on and on, increasing in fury, and I felt really weird – like I was reading an exchange between a repug and a dem, not two dems who just support different dem candidates.

On another of my favorite blogs, an Obama supporter basically claimed that anyone who doesn't support Obama is an old racist fogey. WTF?

It’s gotten to the point where people--even people I consider to be open-minded, progressives who truly live in reality--are fervently denying or ignoring the reality of the many instances where it does indeed look like Obama has been taking the words and ideas of others and passing them off as his own, which is how I used to define “plagiarism” to my students when I taught college English. Many people whose opinions I value and whose judgment I respect are still squarely behind Obama, defending him with a fury not unlike that of some repug friends of mine defending their Chimp-in-Chief. Again, I ask--WTF?

Now maybe I’m just wrong about all this. Maybe I’m just reading Obama wrong, and he really is a true man of the people, a populist who will change the direction this country is going with a bold new vision that he just hasn't yet outlined the specifics of yet. After all, the guy’s a noted expert on constitutional law, right? Who better to restore the rights we’ve had stripped away from us by BushCo?

And maybe this whole “plagiarism” thing is really just a figment of Hillary’s imagination, and John Edwards’ imagination, and indeed the MSM’s imagination.

And maybe when Obama supporters rigorously defend their man, they’re just fighting for the truth and their ardor should be admired, not questioned by the likes of me—and it certainly shouldn’t even be thought of in the same league as the reich-wingers’ defense of their repug candidates and president.

Maybe I’m just being completely unfair and delusional about this whole issue.

And yet…

And yet I still can’t get behind Obama. I still feel like he isn’t offering any specifics for how he’ll change things, like he’s a marvelous and dynamic speaker who has inspired many but may deliver nothing if elected, whether due to his inexperience, his naivete, his own ties to some of the same corporate coffers as he accuses Hillary of having, or his nice-guy personality.

And I still can’t help but feel like people who support him are ignoring the lack of substance behind the “dream” and the “hope” rhetoric Obama espouses so eloquently.

I’m not pointing any fingers, and I’m not trying to call anyone an “Obama-nut” or anything. I’m just trying to understand how we all got so bitter so fast.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The book meme


That Divine Democrat, the Flying Nunly, tagged me (fortunately not on the noggin) to do a book meme in which I:

1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more.

2. Find page 123.

3. Find the first 5 sentences and read them.

4. Post the next 3 sentences. (I'll add here that I'm going to post the next 4 sentences because I'm a cheater.)

The book I'm reading right now is One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, so it's right by my bed. You know, I just remembered this second that I was supposed to read this book for a world literature survey course a million years ago in grad school. I didn't... but then I didn't read a lot of stuff I was supposed to read. More True Confessions of an English major.

Anyway--I'm reading this book now, and then I'll read the others we have by this author on the shelf (thanks to Kat's minor in Russian) after having re-read some favorite sections of his masterpiece, Gulag Archipelago, to write my "Warning Shots" post a little farther down this page. And so... to page 123. Hmm... ah yes, someone's just been told to come to the front of the prisoner formation by the guards at the work camp:
The Moldavian did so. He was ordered to stand there, his arms behind his back.

That meant that they were going to charge him with attempting to escape. They'd put him in the cells."

Earlier in the book, we're told by the guards that "A step to right or left is considered an attempt to escape and the escort has orders to shoot without warning." I'm only on page 72, so I don't know if the Moldavian stepped out of the column to the left or the right, only that he is about to be put into "the cells," like "the hole" in American prison movies, a tiny confinement cell in which you're given even less food than normal.

I don't know whether he is ever mentioned again; I skimmed down the rest of page 123 and 124 and didn't see another word about him. But then, maybe that's the point. He goes to the cells and that's it; he's never heard from again. Not on that day, or any other day, in the life of Ivan Denisovich Shukhov.

Friday, February 08, 2008

A look inside our government


Hey there, fellow Amurkins! I guess ya'll done caught me: Ah'm on mah way to make shore the Senate doesn't fuck me over on that domestic spyin' bill! Don't they know that the turrists are gonna come over here unless Ah kin read every dang e-mail and hear every phone call ya'll make? It's like they want the turrists to win! By the way, Hank Greene in Peoria, ya better stop talkin' to yer maw that way on the phone, ya asshole.


Let's go in here and talk some sense into these bloated wasteful spenders!













Lookie here, it's mah buddy Harry Reid! Hey, Hairy Reedpecker, how's it hangin'!? Heh heh--they love it when Ah talk all bi-partisan with 'em! Heh heh, right, Hairy?














And hey, that Nancy Pelloony or whatever her name is, is here too! Hey there! I luv how she always helps me out with mah legislatin'. Sometimes, Ah think she kinda "likes" me, you know whut Ah mean?



See here?



She once told me she had a secret that only Ah could hear, and she tried to git me to look at her pearls, if ya know what Ah mean!


Ah told her Ah'z married and all, and she better get back to her seat before Ah had to pray fer her!






Ah mean, lookit what Ah got waitin' fer me back at the Oval Office:





Whoa, okay--she looks kinda scary there...





















Anyway, Ah got somethin' to say to ya'll do-nothin' congresspeople!








Here's how it's gonna be: Ah'm the decider, and I decide what goes 'round here. The sooner ya'll get that, the sooner we'll get to be bi together! Bi-partisan, that is! heh heh heh!




















Now we're gonna pray! Oh heavenly father... not my stupid asshole father on earth who thought he was soooo smart and I was soooo dumb, and he thought Jeb is the smart one, Jeb is the purty one, Jeb is the one who's gonna be prezdint! Well, Ah showed you, you damned half-wit!
Amen!


















Now if you assholes don't do what Ah say, I'll grab holt of yer little danglins like this, with the tips of mah fingers, and then Ah'll squeeze the shit out of 'em! Ya'll comprende? That there's Spainish, that Ah learnt from mah mexican maid Cha-cha.


Now, shut up and gimme another $75 million.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Warning shots

Recently, I watched the excellent film Why We Fight, which focused on Eisenhower's last speech the day before he left office -- you know the one, where he warned us about the military-industrial complex. Prophetic words, words of warning--uttered by someone who knew what he was talking about:

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together....

As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

But did people listen? Nope. They were too busy having babies and getting rich and trashing the environment. Meanwhile, the Lockheeds and the Grummans and the Boeings built their empires quietly, rejoicing when like-minded greedy assholes like Reagan and Bush (both of them) took over and raped our country's treasury for their military-industrial friends. Congressional dems may bitch and moan about not giving any more blank checks for the war, yet when it comes time to stand up or shut up, they've given Bush every penny he's asked for and more. John Murtha may be against the war, but he's the first one in line to vote for more military spending so his constituents will stay happy, keep their military-related jobs, and elect him to another term.

Going a little farther back and to another country's history, Alexandr Solzhenitzyn gave us some words of warning too, and I fear they may prove prophetic as well. I want to quote a little bit of his Gulag Archipelago (Part I, Chapter 1, "Arrested"), in which he speaks about the docility of the Russian masses during Stalin's purges: (note: all italics are his)

The majority sit quietly and dare to hope. Since you aren't guilty, then how can they arrest you? It's a mistake! They are already dragging you along by the collar, and you still keep on exclaiming to yourself: "It's a mistake! They'll set things straight and let me out!" Others are being arrested en masse, and that's a bothersome fact, but in those other cases there is always a dark area: "Maybe he was guilty...!" But as for you, you are obviously innocent! You still believe the Organs are humanly logical institutions: they will set things straight and let you out.

Why, then, should you run away?...

And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?...

If... if... We didn't love freedom enough. And even more, we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.

Is that us, minus the Cheka (so far) to arrest us all en masse? If it came down to it, do we love our freedom enough to pick up whatever tool is at hand and fight for it, even in the face of the seemingly overwhelming crush of this wannabe fascist state? Or do we deserve to have our precious constitutional rights taken away, as Chimpy's signing statements and illegal wars and criminal eavesdropping continue? What will happen if the government names you or me or you neighbor an "enemy combatant" (based on an illegally wiretapped phone call or intercepted email), and the arrests begin?

Are there enough of us who care enough to fight?

Many times on this blog and on other blogs I read, we've wondered aloud whether Bush/Cheney will cede their little thrones in January 2009--or whether they'll even allow us to choose their successors this November.

Further, I've seen some pretty convincing evidence that the republican's Hillary-Hatred is so intense that were she the democratic nominee, the repubs would rather see Gomer Pyle (read: Fuckabee) take office than this woman. And don't even get me started on the "we're not ready for a black president" contingent.

Yesterday morning, PoP served up this little Morning Martini, asking what we'd do if we woke up to find that Geezer Walnuts McCain were our president. That's a bitter enough drink to swallow, but let me add a little shot of piss to the mix: what if he chose Dick Cheney or Condi Rice to be his VP?

I don't think the country can survive another republican presidency, or--more to the point--another presidency committed to whatever makes the corporate world and the military-industrial complex even richer, and just fuck the rest of us.

The warning shots have been fired, and they're still whizzing over our heads. Can you hear them?

UPDATE: Bush is now shooting off every gun in his arsenal.

Tennessee Tornadoes, and how to help

If you'd like to help out our friends to the South, please follow the links. UPDATE: You can also donate to your local Red Cross and earmark the funds for the tornado-torn areas.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I'm so confused!

Ever since I got hit in the head on Sunday night*, I just can’t wrap my brain around a few things:

1. The stinkin’ Giants won the Super Bowl? Are you fucking kidding me?

2. There are tornadoes in February? Isn't it too cold?

3. Bushco has been saying “we don’t do torture” all this time, but now in his final (we hope) and most "Ah kin do whatever the fuck Ah want!" year, he says they waterboard with his approval?

4. Mittens has spent over $36 million of his own money (not to mention whatever his campaign has generated), and he’s only winning in places like Alaska and Montana, but he’s still vowing to continue his campaign? The guy is getting beaten by Huckabee, for pete’s sake. Bow out NOW, Mittens, before you have to go on welfare and you find out how much it truly sucks to be poor—especially under BushCo.

5. Speaking of which, Huckabee’s still in the race? What kind of idiots would vote for this idiot?

6. How pathetic is it that McCain is at the top of the shitpile of repug candidates? Can a shitpile really have a top? Can’t we just have a system where they ALL lose? I mean, when Fuckabee can win ANY state, I think you just need to shut the whole fucking repug party down.

7. Hillary’s pro-death penalty? WTF?

8. Obama AND Clinton both support that ridiculous border wall idea?

9. I have to vote for one of these people in April? Oh John, John, come back, John!

*Yes, I hit my head with my drill the other night. I was using a large spade bit (for a project in the kitchen), and it was sticking a little, so I was really bearing down on the drill. Then the bit really stuck in the wood and the base of the drill (with the gigantic battery) swung around and hit me right above my eye. I didn’t pass out, but it hurt like a mo-fo. I was pretty much out of commission until late yesterday, as I was very sensitive to noise and light.

Friday, February 01, 2008

"at once brilliant and repugnant"

Distributorcap turned me on to a pretty funny Book Quiz, which has the distinction of being blurbed by none other than my old hometown paper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "One of the most sophisticated quizzes out there." AND somebody named Jennifer Weiner, whom the Book Quiz describes as "author of In Her Shoes" (never heard of it) made this hilarious overstatement:

"It's like it looked into my soul."

Indeed! How could I NOT take this quiz? Especially when Dcap was Crichton's Jurassic Park, a book that a teaching colleague of mine (back in the day) and I used as source material for an entire freshman composition course.

So, hoping that I too could be the embodiment of Ian Malcolm, Ellie Sattler, and a velociraptor, I took the quiz:


You're Ulysses!
by James Joyce
Most people are convinced that you don't make any sense, but compared to what else you could say, what you're saying now makes tons of sense. What people do understand about you is your vulgarity, which has convinced people that you are at once brilliant and repugnant. Meanwhile you are content to wander around aimlessly, taking in the sights and sounds of the city. What you see is vast, almost limitless, and brings you additional fame. When no one is looking, you dream of being a Greek folk hero.


Of all the crazy-ass books in the world, I get to be that monument to ponderous and boring literature???? Oh, the irony of it all....



... although I gotta admit -- the description actually sounds pretty fucking dead-on, almost creepily so. Holy shit, it IS like it looked into my soul! Maybe I ought to read In Her Shoes! And Ullyses, while I'm at it.