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Friday, March 29, 2013

Pop Quiz! Current Events Apology Edition

First of all, I would like to apologize, personally and sincerely, for last week's quiz. The entire Quiz Department has been sacked and replaced by a new Department of Quizzes. In the spirit of this heartfelt and sincere apology, allow me to present this week's Pop Quiz! It's easier, doesn't require your name and  asks questions about Barack Obama, so yeah, it contains pretty much everything a good Pop Quiz! should.

You're welcome.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Gay Marriage, Part II: I'm Proud To Be A Libertarian Because All Of the Smart People Are On My Side

Libertarianism's Token Girl, Julie Borowski, pretty much puts the lid on the Gay Marriage debate to anyone who thinks with an open mind. Take 2:57 out of your frantic schedule of fretting about something that needn't be fretted about and watch.

Highlights of Ms. Borowski's brilliant take on the debate:
  • Government only got involved in marriage in the mid-1800s to prevent inter-racial couples from getting married
  • Government involvement in marriage amounts to nothing more than a tax on personal relationships


I love how the libertarian viewpoint just keeps winning argument after argument. You can come over, we'll gladly have you as long as you don't start making us think like the sheep in the GOP and Democrat parties. Seriously, we're all very smart, and many of us are extremely nice.

Now if we could just get the Libertarian Party to grow up a little...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Gay Marriage: Everybody's Talking About It, I Wrote About It

As a matter of full disclosure, I am not Gay. Actually I am not gay either. In fact, most of the time I'm hard-pressed to even call myself happy. I know many happy people and several people who are gay, happiness not withstanding, and as long as you're not trying to make me happy when I'd rather be my regular miserable self, I am okay with all of it. 

Sometimes, when I am trying to figure out what my stance on an issue is I will put myself in a situation revolving around said situation and then gauge my reaction. That's what I did with this whole imbroglio about the rights of homosexuals to be in relationships with other homosexuals.

Here's how I couched the situation to myself:
  1. A married hetero-sexual couple with two pit bulls who run a meth lab in their basement moves in next door to me.
  2. A single young mother with seven snarling, rotten, kids and no visible means of support move in on the other side of me.
  3. A gay couple of unspecified gender who like gardening move in across the street.
  4. A married couple of opposing sexes and a fondness for really loud music at 10 PM on Sunday nights move in to the house behind me.
Here's how I found I responded to this situation:
  1. I cursed my luck for living in a neighborhood that was so crappy it had a meth lab in it.
  2. I cursed my luck for living next door to a government-sponsored family with poorly behaved children.
  3. I wished the idiots behind me would be respectful enough to turn their frigging music down.
  4. I felt sorry for the same-sex couple of unspecified gender for having to live in the same crappy neighborhood as me and me opposite-sexed wife.
The point is, it's not who you are, it's what you do. Would I be thrilled with a same-sex couple who dressed up like it was time for the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade to mow the lawn and then did horrible things to each other in front of me, my wife and our dogs? No, but then again I would be equally unthrilled if an opposite-sexed couple did the same thing.

Until you do something that affects my pursuit of happiness you, sirs and madams, are none of business, nor I yours. And certainly, none of this is the government's business. At all. Ever.

A marriage in the church is the church's business, and if your church wants you to marry only people who are differently sexed than you, that's your church's business (including **gasp** if you want to marry several women at one time). In the eyes of the government a marriage is a property contract. The government can only involve itself in property contracts. The day the government involves itself in who you love we are all screwed, and not in the fun way.

Note: I don't want to hear the non-sensical argument that I am therefore allowing pedophiles to engage with children because it's "who they love." Stop it. We're talking about adults. How about doing something to stop the scourge of child abuse that is darkening our land instead of engaging in stupid hypothetical arguments that solve nothing?

Marriage FAQs

Q: I think part of the problem is the same-sex community seems like they will accept nothing less than total capitulation to their demands regardless of the personal beliefs of others.

A: Well that's not really a question, it's more like a statement, but I get your point. Yes, I think there would be less strife regarding the issue if the same-sex community just said, "hey look, we're not asking you to date me, we're just asking you to accept the fact that we don't need your approval to date whomever we choose to date." If people feel they are being painted with a gay rainbow into a corner they are going to bitch about it. How about less corner painting?

Q: I believe the children are the future. What about the little crumb pickers?

A: There are a lot of miserable people out there who shouldn't ever be around children (my first wife being one of them), regardless of choice of gender partnering. If a same-sex couple can raise a child to not install a meth lab in the house next door to me, or to not have seven government-sponsored kids in the house on the other side, then I say go for it. But, let's let the kids choose their futures by not forcing Heather to have two mommies or Cody to have two dads. The different-sexed people already own the mom-dad thing for naming parents, so instead, how about being creative and coming up with new names? Dads drink beer, fart, pick their noses and spill their salsa on their tee-shirts. Who the hell wants two of them anyway?

Q: But shouldn't people who believe in and support 'traditional marriage' be dipped in honey and tied to a stake so the ants can eat them alive?

A: Well, according to the most vehement and narrow-minded people out there, yes, but that's just as idiotic as thinking same-sex people shouldn't be allowed to make their own choices. If a person chooses to support traditional marriage (between a beer-swilling fat dude and a chick with an unfortunate tattoo on her bicep, for example) then isn't that their business? As long as the opposite-sex people don't burn the good-looking same-sex people at the stake of governmental intolerance (or any other stake for that matter) then they should be allowed to believe what they believe.

Q: It seems like this is sometimes more of a struggle to change the way people think than it is to just let people go about their business.

A: Again, that's not a question. Yes, many people are confusing this with the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s when people were trying to change a national mindset that believed certain races of people couldn't do things like eat lunch with other certain races of people. A person can't hide his race, but sometimes same-sex advocates think that applies to sexuality too. It doesn't. Remember that horrible GoDaddy commercial with the fat ugly red-faced kid swapping spit with the model? Seriously, do us all a favor and stop being so overtly sexual. Please. That goes for all of you. It's unseemly and quite frankly unnecessary. Plus, the kids are watching, and regardless of how many mommies they have we don't want our kids growing up to think they extract their personal value solely from their sexuality.

Q: That seems somewhat homophobic there. Is it?

A: No, it's douche-chillophobic. When I see a grown-up person flaunting their sexuality in an attempt to get me to accept their sexuality, I do the opposite and refuse to accept anything about them because I tend to gravitate toward adults and away from people who give me douche-chills. It works like this: Go do your thing and leave me out of it and in return I promise not to legislate you into conforming to my own beliefs.

Q: I heard the single greatest anti-poverty program is marriage. Is this true?

A: Yes and here's why: If you commit to someone because you love them and you want the best for them you will do what is necessary to make that someone happy and secure. If that someone is named Herb or Delores is not germane to the issue. It's about commitment to the love you have for someone. How many young men knock up a girl and then go about their business without committing to the new child and new mother they created? I'd rather have a national dialogue about teaching people to be responsible with their sexuality than waste more time talking it. Immature fools knocking up other immature fools and bringing children into a world of dysfunction is narcissistic and immoral in the extreme, yet the country seems more interested in preventing a guy from visiting his terminally ill partner who also happens to be a guy. We have a skewed set of priorities anymore.

Q: So you're for same-sex marriage then?

A: From a government point of view, yes. From a spiritual point of view, yes (I'm pretty sure God is a deeper thinker than we give Him credit for being). From a biological point of view, well, I have to admit I'm a little perplexed, but then again I'm perplexed about a lot of things. My perplexity should in no way reflect on you and your life.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Weather Channelization of America

Oh. My. God.

It's snowing here in New Jersey this morning. Ten minutes ago it was raining. Wait a sec, just looked out the window and now it's a kind slush/ice/rain mix. South of here it's actually snowing and people are expecting...wait for it...like 4" of snow. Tomorrow it's going to be 50 degrees so I'd tell the wife your back hurts and you can't shovel today.

A Facebook weather advisory just warned me that tree limbs might fall and cause scattered power outages.

NBC's (National Broadcaster of Communism) Mike Seidel made a giant snowball from the 2" of wet snow he was sent to Frederick, Maryland, to cover.

The people are lamenting that it is spring (as of five days ago) and yet it is still snowing.

I'm not hearing much about Global Warming, or even Climate Chance, in spite of the mass hysteria of a desperately clingy winter.

Watch the most scintallating 1:27 of television you will see today:

It snows in "spring" sometimes. In fact, here is the actual seasonal calendar for New Jersey:
  • Spring: From right after you pay your frigging income taxes until the second week of July
  • Summer: Second week of July until the third week of August
  • Autumn: Until right before I start my Christmas shopping
  • Winter: The rest of the year
The problem is, the weather isn't really interested in your schedule or how acute your S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is. If the clouds have snow in them it will snow. If the sun feels like making the jet stream move north so you can wear flip-flops in January, you gotta roll with it. Calling Barack Obama to fix the climate isn't going to do a damned thing. In fact, I think sometimes God His Very Self looks at the weather and thinks to Himself, Heck, that's not what I meant to do.*

Here is a picture I found on my Facebook feed this morning
from a nice lady named Melissa in Vineland, NJ, of the 2.5"
of snow in her backyard. This makes me yearn for the good
old days day when some grown-up would condescendingly
say, "Don't you have anything else to do with your time?" 

Now, having directly lived the nightmare of Hurricane Sandy since October 29, I am still compelled to ask the following the question:

When did we as a country become such wusses?
I thought about this while I drove to work on this typically crappy March morning and here are the possible answers I came up with:
  • Since we started electing a dad to be president and take care of us
  • Since we started relying on Facebook kitty pictures to help us get through another day in our otherwise miserable and unremarkable lives
  • Since we started leaving our televisions on 24 hours a day just in case we miss some breaking news like Mike Seidel making a snowball in Maryland
  • Since we all got digital cameras and started thinking we're all junior Jimmy Olsons
  • Since we started being our kids' BFFL's
  • Since we forgot to grow the @#$% up
Anyway, it's March and the weather is crappy, get over it and have a nice day.

* - However ironic it may be, God would not say 'Hell.' 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pop Quiz! Who Said That? Socialism Edition

Due to the incredible popularity or the RB-L&OS Pop Quiz! Series (well, there's been two Pop Quizzes! in 6 months so that's kind of like a series), I cheaped out and stole an HTML encoder from an online shareware source called ProProfs. The cool thing is you get an e-certificate at the end of the Pop Quiz! so you can delude yourself into thinking you have just not wasted 5 minutes of your life on this damn thing. There is also the possibility that you may find your brain thinking about what it just read. I love when that happens.

When it asks for you name just put something in. No one cares that you took this silly Pop Quiz! and no one is going to collect your data and send it to the Obama Administration or the IRS.

Name: Jack
I would suggest some of you use "Lurch."

After that, click start and see how well you know your Socialist viewpoint on things.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Reality-Based Public Service: People We Should Be Making Fun Of

Note: My editor, whom I trust implicitly, has mentioned that maybe I've been a little, you know, long winded lately, it's not that I'm saying your stuff isn't good, it's just, you know, looooong. So, in the spirit of brevity, which is after all the soul of wit, I have decided to keep this short.

I'm bored with America. You people are too stuffy and self-important. You're practically European for crying out loud. Seriously, lighten up. Having a sense of humor is what's gotten me through this miserable existence to this point and now all of sudden I'm supposed to take every whining adult with a dirty diaper seriously?

No. Not gonna happen.

Here's a list of people I think should be made fun of:
  1. Politicians
  2. Liberals
  3. Democrats
  4. Almost all Republicans
  5. Conservative yahoos
  6. Religious fanatics
  7. Super Moms and Super Dads
  8. People who tell you their problems even if you ask them too
  9. Anyone under 35
  10. Anyone older than me
  11. Toupees
  12. People with opinions who think it's okay to share
  13. People who drive Smartcars, Subarus or those silly little hybrids (especially if they have an Obama sticker)
  14. Everyone in the entertainment industry
  15. People who insist you accept them as they are, as if being public about your sex life, substance intake or issues with your dad is something I actually frigging care about. Maybe if you quieted down a little I'd be able to accept you for the human you present yourself to me as

If you think making fun of people is bad, I will add you to this list. There is a difference between being cruel and making fun of people and if you don't know the difference I will also add you to the list. There are times when it is necessary to make fun of people, the problem is no one actually has the cajones to publicly do it anymore. That's where I come in.

Society has stopped evolving because people are afraid to judge or make fun of the dolts who make up society. I have evolved into the classy, fun-loving and brilliant thinker I am today because people made fun of me when I was younger. This toughened me up and made me work harder to be better than they were. Make fun of me? I'll show you, you rat bastards. There are times in your life you deserved to be made fun of, and if you were unlucky enough to be surrounded only by people who didn't want to hurt your feelings, you are a lesser person for it.

An example of when I didn't deserve to be made fun of:
During an assembly I told someone I liked this girl named Annette. The word quickly spread four rows up to Annette who then summarily turned around and gave me the finger, in front of 300 7th graders.
An example of when I did deserve to be made fun of:
Several months later we were outside at lunch and I split my brand new pants, pretty much from stem to stern.
Seventh grade was a tough year.

If you take yourself too seriously you and no one is there to make fun of you to get you back to normal, you will become this guy:

Don't be like this guy. Lighten the @#$#% up.
If he had been made fun of he might not be under arrest.
Picture: NY Daily News

You see, the problem is, if no one makes fun of you when you're young and everyone just thinks you're awesome, you eventually turn into this guy:

And by "this guy" I don't mean the two guys on either
side of the Butt of Our National Joke.

Whether you like it or not, gender plays a role in who we are. And trust me, if you think girls like you because you're almost exactly like them, you're wrong. You can't be emo all your life and expect not to be made fun of:

And you think the way you dressed in 1985
is embarassing.

Sometimes if you are not taught properly about tradition, and the roles we necessarily take on as adults, you end up looking like this guy:

Don't be this guy. Take a summer job mowing lawns or doing roofing
or something.
There are far too many men in the world who think they are all that when in fact they aren't. It's a national scourge. Luckily, a German automobile manufacturer has stepped up and pointed this out to America:

Do we really want our national children to be constantly exposed to the adults we are raising? I think not.

In case you are confused, here is a list of people you should not make fun of:
  1. People who have no control over their situation
  2. People who have no control over the thing you are about to make fun of them for (except if you're in 7th grade and some smartass kid splits his pants -- that's frigging hysterical)

After that, you're pretty much okay to make fun of whomever you choose. Go forward America! Find your sense of humor again. Lighten up. Don't be cruel, but have at it: There are plenty of people out there who should be made fun of, in fact, they need to be made fun of. Don't think of it as comedy, think of it as a way to help those who refuse to help themselves.

Let's once again make it a civic duty to make fun of those who need it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Iraq Ten Years Later: A Look At the Numbers

We have become a nation comfortable with war. Our leaders like war because it gives them something to do. We don't declare war anymore, we just let our president send our young men and women into combat based on poll numbers. The fact that there is no outcry from the street about the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan simply goes to prove my point that as a nation we are comfortable and at some base level, may even enjoy, being in a perpetual state of war. Just to remind all of you liberals out there who still blame Bush for Iraq, we were in Iraq five years and ten months under Bush and four years three months under Obama. We may have been told that the fighting in Iraq is over but it is not.

I for one and ashamed of my country's lack of interest in peace, and I refuse to buy into the non-sense of the neo-cons who claim that peace is a result of the strength derived from an endless state of war.

We never should have gone into Iraq and we should have been out of Afghanistan in a year.

I'll let the statistics make my case for me:
  • 4,487 US troops killed
  • 32,223 US troops wounded or maimed
  • Percentage of US troops wounded with serious brain or spinal injuries: 20% (6,444) 
  • Percentage of US troops who served in Iraq and developed serious mental health issues within 4 months of returning home: 30%
  • Total amount of money approved by tax payers to fund through 2011: $1 trillion
  • $9 billion lost or unaccounted for during the course of the war 
  • $6.6 billion earmarked to rebuild Iraq
  • $12 billion spent monthly in 2008
Statistics from StatisticsBrain.com 

Democrats are fooling themselves if they think President Obama is serious about drawing our blood and treasure away from Iraq and Afghanistan and Republicans delude themselves if they think either war was absolutely necessary to domestic safety in the first place.

The soul of our nation is in deep trouble. We no longer value peace and the preciousness of the lives of the sons and daughters we send to foreign lands to fight unnecessary wars.

It's time for the citizenry to take the country back from the oligarchs.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Ant and the Orange: A Fable Of the Death Of A Party, Or, Maybe the GOP Needs to Give Us Libertarians A Call

I don't care about evolution. I don't care about "intelligent design." I'm far too stupid to be able to understand why we're here, much less how we got here. So are you. Even you smarty pants academics and theologians have no idea what you're talking about when you talk about those things. It's fun to think about, just like it's fun to look up at the sky at night and wonder what the hell all those little lights up there really are, but don't be so self-centered as to think you actually know the answer. And another thing, getting all incensed and insulted about someone who arrived at a different conclusion than you about all that Big Stuff is kind of a waste of time too. So, seriously, think twice the next time you're going to kill someone in the name of God.

Anyway, That's Really Not My Point

Many years ago I was a technical assistant to a guy that made Sheldon Cooper look socially normal and moderately intelligent by comparison. He would show up for work wearing a shirt that had a dime-sized chunk of chocolate frosted doughnut on it. The same chunk of chocolate frosted doughnut for about six months. He was by far the smartest person I ever met, but he was a royal pain in the ass to work for. He was also a little nuts. I asked him once if he could explain the boundaries of the universe to me (this was back when I was still dumb enough to think I could become smart enough to understand whatever I wanted to understand). He explained the universe and eternity to me thusly:
"Think of yourself like the tiniest ant you can imagine walking on the skin of the largest orange you can imagine. That's what the universe is."
I told him I did not understand this. To which he replied:
"I doubted you'd be able to grasp the concept."
Well, @#$%  you, you chocolate frosted doughnut wearing freak. I'll figure out the universe myself then, I thought to myself as I set out on my intellectual quest for philosophical knowledge. Over the next thirty years I came to the conclusion that trying to answer the unanswerable is the dumbest, most narcissistic thing a human being can do.

This Brings Me to the Republican Party

It's no secret the Republican Party is a horrible entity. The GOP is like the Washington Generals, except Barack Obama and the Democrats aren't the Harlem Globetrotters, they're a 7th grade CYO team captained by a kid who never played basketball before but whose dad owns the insurance company that paid for the uniforms. Barack Obama is a silly, simplistic, hack politician from our most embarrassing city and the Republicans could not beat him. That's how horrible they are.

"How'd that happen?" you ask. Good question, and while I may not be able to help you explain to your five-year-old where her goldfish goes when you flush it down the toilet (just tell her you're setting it free to go find Nemo), I can tell you exactly why the Republican Party has become the party of losers: the Evangelicals, also known as the Christian Right. They're very nice people, and I'm sure they mean well, but I think they just may be a little too narrow-minded when it comes to matters political.

Around twenty years ago the evangelical wing of the GOP began to take hold of the GOP, and the GOP thought this was okay because they had been losing voters since strapping their howdah to the Bush clan a few years earlier. Basically, the GOP threw out the welcome mat to the same people who would then hold the party hostage to its extremely narrow political views for the next generation.

I left the Republican Party in 1993 (after having joined as a sparkly, bright, charming and fashionably thin 23 year-old during Reagan's re-election campaign) as a result of a series of dismaying discussions with people in my party who said things like these actual quotes:
  • I will never vote for a Republican who is pro-choice, I'd rather see a Democrat win
  • I will only vote for pro-life candidates, regardless of who may win
  • If a candidate is pro-choice, he is not my candidate and I will not vote for him
  • I vote Christian first and everything else second
  • I will not vote for a candidate who is not of the same faith as me
Okay, got it. That's wonderful. I admire people with principles and a firm grasp of their own personal doctrines. Now let's take a look at who that informed way of political thinking got us:

Visual aid stolen from PatDollard.com. How Ironic is that?

People who throw the baby out with the bathwater are at the very least stupid.

Now, twenty years later we're in a world where people actually think its the government's job to tell people who they should marry and who they shouldn't. You know, like in the 20th Century when the government thought it had the right to tell people what race could drink out of what fountain. Who cares if someone views their personal sexuality different than you view their personal sexuality? Please don't tell me you're going to jeopardize your children's future freedom and opportunity on that. As long as no one forces me to marry the guy in the next cube (he reeks of cologne, cigarettes and some un-Godly smell I only ever smelled at the veterinarian before), then I'm okay with who someone else chooses to spend their lives with.

The socialist agenda of the Democrat Party has been allowed to gain an amazingly firm (yet fundamentally flawed) foothold in this country, especially among those who don't pay too much attention to the thoughts in their heads. Meanwhile the myopic Right has steadfastly held on to a social agenda that shouldn't ever be a political policy in the first place. Remember that German government a few years ago that tried to blame its way out of the mess it was in on the backs of the Jews?

Over the past twenty years, we have watched  the Socialist Democrats (you just call them "Democrats") successfully distance the national psyche from its intended core of fiscal responsibility and commitment to individual liberty and civic-mindedness. At the same time, the Republican Party has become an entity of social engineers without a firm grasp on the pulse of the nation. The majority of people in the GOP expect that because they're good people they should win elections while they force their moral-agenda down the throats of people who would rather just be left alone.

The GOP's social outlook has become about as unrealistic as expecting to get away with explaining eternity to an impressionable young college graduate using an ant and an orange.

The evangelical wing of the GOP, and no one else, is responsible for this shift.

If everyone went to church, served God, and lived their lives in the faith of a higher power we'd probably all be better off (except if that higher power told us to blow up Jews and infidels or something), but its not the government's business to tell us to live moral God-fearing lives. It's the government's job to make it possible for us to live moral God-fearing lives if we so choose. It's also the government's business to keep people from blowing us up, stealing from us, and supporting commerce. Beyond that the government is nothing more than a boil on the ass of progress. Feeling like you need the government to help you become successful without actually putting any effort in? Unless you're Barack Obama, that's not going to happen.

So here are some hard truths I have learned along the way:
  1. A tiny ant on a giant orange is not only implausible it's a lame way to prove how smart you are
  2. After twenty years of exclusively voting pro-life,the pro-lifers have handed the Democrat Party carte blanche to rule as it sees fit
  3. After twenty years of trying to form the Republican Party in the image of God, the Republican Party has become nothing more than the social engineering wing of the Democrats Party
  4. Most grown-ups aren't interested in telling other grown-ups how to live their lives, but given the choice between a bunch of fiscally irresponsible children who believe in unicorns and lollipops for all, and the Republicans, the uni-cornists have won
  5. The only way the GOP will gain a foothold again is if it dusts off the Rolodex and calls up all of us libertarians who deserted the party because it became the scary narrow-minded place it now is
If the GOP asks us nicely to come back and bring our common sense and political understanding with us we can probably show them the right way to go about this government stuff.

Friday, March 15, 2013

God the Libertarian.

I watched the first episode of The Bible on the History Channel the other night. My own history with the church–and the Church–is odd, and even though I know most of the stories in the Old Testament, I have to admit watching Abraham interact with his son Isaac on Mount Sinai kind of left me with the impression that Isaac had some serious baggage to carry around later in life. My dad only took me fishing once, but at least he never tied me to a bundle of sticks and threatened to cut my throat because God asked him to.

I was also struck this week by the fact that Pope Francis has predecessors who negotiated with Genghis Khan and who brought the Roman Empire to its knees. That’s some serious history.

Here’s something else I was struck with: a Facebook status that sarcastically read “Welcome to the new leader of the "pro-choice" Church.”

I found this to be a peculiar thing to say.

I’m not Catholic, but I am catholic. What you think, how you pray, and what your faith is, is none of my business. The fun thing about God is that He* gave us the ability to discern for ourselves what we like and think.

To have a problem with an institution that you choose to belong and to expect that institution to change to solve your problem strikes me as exceedingly narcissistic and childish. Of course the Catholic Church is pro-life and anti-abortion, and if you disagree, so what? Go to another church, or better yet, start your own church. What could possibly make someone think that their beliefs about the morality of procreation and sexual relations carry more weight than the beliefs of a 2,000 year old institution?

After the love affair with Pope Francis subsides a little, we’re going to be treated (by the corporate media) to the following complaints about him:
  • He is against gay marriage
  • He is against birth control
  • He is against abortion
  • He is against women
Right. He's the Pope. His positions shouldn't be so hard to understand. I disagree with him on those points, simply because it's none of my business: I am not in the business of judging other people. I do however, admire him for who he is. If you don't, that's fine, but who the hell are you to insist that he see things your way? Kind of narrow-minded of you, wouldn't you say?

If I was a member of an organization that I disagreed with on these issues to the point that it made me angry, I would just leave the organization. If I'm confident what I think is right, who cares what anyone else thinks? Unless of course I'm not so confident in my beliefs so forcing the Pope to agree with me gives me the validation I so desperately crave. Go believe what you believe and don’t pull my fingernails out (literally or figuratively) if I happen to have a different opinion.

God gives life to Adam. DaVinci placed God inside of a brainstem.
Mind. Blown.
(Painting courtesy of Leonardo DaVinci)

“Well, that means I would have to leave my Church,” you might whine at me in response, to which I would reply, “no it doesn’t, you’ve already left your Church, your Church did not leave you.”

Are there problems with the Catholic Church? Of course there are because it is unfortunately filled with human beings. Human beings suck. They foul up everything. That’s why I don’t trust them to do anything for me. I don’t understand why we’re here or who or what God is, but I’m pretty sure God is not happy with people who have hurt others in His name. However, to broad stroke an entire religion because of the deeds of a few is simply intellectually dishonest.

Is it my sacred duty to force the Catholic Church to change to fit my agenda? No, and when you look at it that way, anyone who would say ‘yes’ is kind of a jackass.

We’re going to hear a lot of code words about “re-energizing” and “changing” and “modernizing” the Catholic Church in the next few weeks (until the media gets bored with the discussion), but all those words really mean is that the intellectually selfish and narrow-minded among us want a 2,000 year old institution to bend to their earthly needs and desires. Isn’t that kind of why the Church was founded in the first place, to foster discipline amongst its faithful to follow a higher calling?

I see no reason to get all mad at something you disagree with that you don’t have to be a part of in the first place. As for me, I’ll continue my own intellectually tortured path of faith, but I’m fairly confident my relationship with God is far more pure and ethical than that of someone who rants against something because it doesn’t fit his or her modern view of morality.

* I’ll use ‘He” because ‘It’ sounds so disrespectful, but I have to agree with something a very smart person once told me, “trying to describe God is like a computer trying to describe the engineers who designed it.” I don’t think God is either a He or a She, so knock it off.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hey, What's the Big Deal? It's Voluntary Blood and Treasure We're Wasting. Relax. Watch American Idol.

BREAKING: Nikki Minaj wore a hoodie ans was late last night.
Nikki Minaj apparently arrived 13 minutes late for last night's live American Idol telecast. I'll have to take the corporate media's word for it, which is easy to do because Minaj's tardiness is big news today.

Since you all were busy, let me get you up to date with what happened in Afghanistan yesterday:
  • Two U.S. special operations forces were gunned down in an insider attack by an Afghan policeman in eastern Afghanistan.
  • A helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan killed five American service members. (Back before the American people blindly accepted the Washington Establishment's word, we would have said the helicopter was "shot down," but that's, you know, icky, so instead it's referred to as a "crash" (it's much easier to blame the five deaths on something we did instead of something the enemy did). In fairness the UN did say there was no "enemy activity in the area." You believe them at your own peril. I don't.)
  • At the same time the crash was being reported, Afghan President Hamid Karzai was berating the Taliban for giving the U.S. a reason to stay in the country by staging the deadly weekend attacks that killed at least 19 Afghans, including eight children. "Do you think you really show America you are strong? No. This is not showing power, this just serves the Americans."
Yesterday's "crash" was the deadliest since a helicopter "crashed" killing seven during a firefight with insurgents in August. The total number of Americans killed in Afghanistan so far this year is 12, with 297 killed in 2012. The physical and emotional maiming of our sons and daughters continues daily.

...war has to be a last resort, as it threatens to make the American President a virtual dictator, diminishes the constitutional powers of Congress, contracts civil liberties, injures the habitual self-reliance and self-government of the American people, distorts the economy, sinks the federal government in debt, [and erodes] public morality.
- Russell Kirk in praise of Senator Robert A. Taft (R-OH) 1967.

Because there is no draft, Americans have learned how to shrug their shoulders and change the channel whenever they are confronted with the maiming and killing or our sons and daughters. After all, they did volunteer, didn't they? This is usually on the same breath that most people angrily acknowledge that joining the military is a way out of poverty for a vast number of military personnel who are faced with diminished prospects at home.

NOT BREAKING NEWS: Our soldiers are heroes and deserve peace.

America has grown comfortable with war in the age of the Bush-Obama government mission-creep, and that is disgusting.

Here is a list of the length of our major wars:
  1. Vietnam - 19 years 5 months
  2. Afghanistan - 11 years 5 months
  3. Iraq - 8 years 7 months
  4. American Revolution - 8 years 4 months
  5. American Civil War -  4 years
  6. World War II - 3 years 8 months
  7. Korea - 3 years 1 month
  8. War of 1812 - 2 years 6 months
  9. Mexican-American War - 1 year 10 months
  10. Word War I - 1 year 7 months
  11. Spanish-American War - 8 months
  12. Persian Gulf War - 6 weeks
Here's a video of Senator John McCain (R-AZ) singing "bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran" in 2008, five years before he lambasted Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) for riling up "impressionable libertarian kids in their dorm rooms" with his ostensibly pro-liberty and anti-war filibuster:

Presumably, those same "impressionable libertarian kids in their dorm rooms" are also potential military volunteers who may find themselves missing limbs or eyes after encountering a roadside IED in Afghanistan.

The Left thinks Paul is a lunatic and the Right thinks he is crazy. What's that say about what the Left and Right Establishment thinks of you and me?

If you're okay with this, you're the problem.

If you're not disgusted by what your government is doing in the world and here at home, you're the problem. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Post About Governmental Fiscal Irresponsibilty Cleverly Disguised With A Story About the Color of the Smoke at the Vatican Designed to Get You To Pay Attention to the Looming Death of the American Economy At the Hands Of the Fools You Have Elected

I woke up this morning to breaking news that nothing had as of yet happened regarding the selection of the new pope. NBC news had a news reporting professional stationed in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral who actually said, "there is a man entering the church on his way to Morning Mass." Professional wannabe newsman Lester Holt even went as far as to say he had "a lump in his throat" when he at first thought the smoke he saw was white. Wow. In fact, wowee zowee!

Not to be outdone, Fox 5 interviewed people on the street about when they thought the new pope would be elected. None of them knew. Wow. Scintillating.

I can only imagine what's going to happen when a new pope actually gets elected. I find this all annoyingly ironic because the corporate media in this country, especially in the New York area, are always quick to go negative about the Catholic Church and here they are breathlessly awaiting word of a new leader for the church.

Now, I'm not saying the election of a new pope is not important. What I am saying is that the lack of election of a new pope is not important. (It should be noted that whilst I was slaving away writing this brilliant piece of political commentary the new pope was elected.)

* * *

All of this hullabaloo kind of reminds of the sequester, only different. With the sequester you had nincompoops who don't know what they are doing trying to make something out of nothing in order to make other nincompoops worry about something that did in fact turn out to be nothing. In the case of the new pope you have professional worriers of wart worrying about a nothing that will eventually turn into something but not something that is really going to have a drastic effect on everything else. Confused? Good, that's jsut how they want you to be.

Now that I've done an obligatory piece about the color of the Vatican smoke, let's take a look at how your president (you voted for him, not me, and by the way thanks dingbat) is handling the aftermath of the sequester that he told us was going to be something but in reality only turned out to be something that he manipulated into being something because it was really nothing.

So I oversold the sequester. Sue me.
By the way, hats off to ABC News for pulling the link to their original story headlined "Obama Shifts Blame for White House Tour Cancellations." Spineless creepy fools with no spines.

Here's what George Stephanopouls (D-ABC) asked the President:
You’ve been taking a lot of heat for this cancellation of the White House tours. They get– the Secret Service says it costs about $74,000 a week. Was canceling them really necessary?
This is what the President said:
You know, I have to say this was not– a decision that went up to the White House. But what the Secret Service explained to us was that they’re going to have to furlough some folks. What furloughs mean is– is that people lose a day of work and a day of pay.
Reality-Based Examination: Besides the fact that this is a bald-faced lie based on what Jay Carney said last week, don't you just love how the guy who has never held a job a day in his life is going to condescendingly explain to us working schlubs what "furlough" means?

What Jay Carney (D-Psychological Liar) Said Last Week:
In order to allow the Secret Service to best fulfill its core mission, the White House made the decision that we would, unfortunately, have to temporarily suspend these tours.
Reality-Based Examination:  If you people don't wake up soon and start ridding your lives of the fools you have put in charge of your life, they're just going to keep on lying to you and using you to enrich their own lives at the expense of all of you mindless sheep.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Tale of Three Charities: Robin Hood Foundation, American Red Cross, Mary Pat Christie's Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund

Note: I publish a non-political blog (Inlets and Outlets) dedicated to the recovery work being down at my beloved Jersey Shore. This story ran today:
The Asbury Park Press published a story this week about the lack of fund disbursement from New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat Christie's Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund. Rightfully so, the newspaper is unhappy about the fact that the charity has so far not disbursed a single dollar of the $32,000,000 it has raised. In light of a recent story about another, similarly named charity that was proven to be basically a scam, the optics on this report are bad.

Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and former Senator Bill Bradley are all members of the board – political cronies of Christies they are not. While the surface story indeed looks bad, there is more to the story and in spite of political hack stories from the likes of the Huffington Post, charities of this size are actually acting responsibly when they deliberate carefully before releasing funds.

In a press release today, The Robin Hood Foundation announced the release of another $5.2 million dollars in donated funds (see details below) to help residents affected by Sandy get back into their homes. "Robin Hood's Relief Committee is working with all deliberate speed to get every dollar we've raised into the affected communities," said David Saltzman, Robin Hood's executive director.  "The Relief Committee has already met 15 times since the storm struck in late October and continues to meet regularly to review and approve grants." Robin Hood expects to grant 95% of the money raised for Sandy Relief – more than $67.5 million – by the end of March.

The Robin Hood Foundation already had an infrastructure in place to handle grant requests whereas the charity founded by Christie was a ground-up operation that was only started in the days after the storm. There is some amount of tolerance that has to be made for getting a proper infrastructure in place, but Mrs. Christie needs to understand that the patience of those of us working to recover from the storm are thin at best.

In contrast to the Robin Hood Foundation’s veritable speed in releasing funds, the Red Cross had raised $249 million but as of the end of December had only released $110 million. The American Red Cross is in the business of immediate disaster relief, where the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund was formed to aid in long-term recovery efforts.

I’m not thrilled with the lack of urgency on the charity’s behalf, but I think we all need to keep an eye on perspective and to be careful not let politics enter into our feelings about what has so far proven to be a worthy charity.
A summary of the latest Robin Hood Foundation approved grants (New Jersey only):

United Methodist Church
New Jersey
This grant will provide building supplies, construction supervision, and case management services for hundreds of individuals and families throughout New Jersey in coordination with the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Brick Township
Ocean County
, NJ
Funding will provide approximately 500 households with an average of $1,000 in assistance to go toward the rebuilding of homes damaged by Sandy.

Seaside Heights
Ocean County, NJ
This grant will go toward assisting needy and distressed renters and homeowners in this community by providing them with gift cards or direct bill payments to help them repair their homes and replace lost items.

Stafford Township
Ocean County, NJ
Encompassing the towns of Beach Haven West, Cedar Bonnet Island, and Bayside, nearly 5,000 homes in Stafford Township were devastated by Hurricane Sandy.  Funds will go toward making needed repairs on approximately 250 homes belonging to needy year-round residents and to providing rental assistance and security deposits for displaced residents.

Bergen County Long Term Recovery Committee
Bergen County, NJ
This grant will fund the Unmet Needs Roundtable of the Bergen County Long Term Recovery Committee, helping low-income and working class residents with financial assistance to help them return to stable housing.

Coastal Habitat for Humanity
Monmouth County, NJ
This grant will help cover the costs to repair 50 homes belonging to low-income and elderly individuals, including funds to purchase insulation, sheetrock, flooring, basic appliances/fixtures, and labor.

Church of the Visitation
Ocean County, NJ
Located in Brick, NJ, the Church of the Visitation has been at the heart of the community's relief efforts, providing food, clothing, and cleaning supplies to more than 400 families since the storm struck.  Funds will go toward renovating space to accommodate volunteers who are helping the community rebuild, a delivery truck to continue the flow of building and food supplies, and staff support for intake and volunteer coordination.

Hometown Heroes
Ocean County, NJ
This grant will help defray the administrative costs associated with case management for Robin Hood's original grant of $300,000 to provide financial assistance to residents of Ocean Gate.

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton
Trenton, NJ
Funding will support five trained disaster case managers for one year to help individuals with a range of services, including financial counseling, housing, and mental and physical health assistance.  The grant will also fund a mental health counselor trained to work with disaster survivors to help them cope.

FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties
Monmouth & Ocean Counties, NJ
This grant will fund staffing and support to enable the FoodBank to provide benefits assistance to at least 2,000 Sandy-affected families.  Services include tax preparation, housing assistance, mental health referrals, and financial counseling.

Parker Family Health Center
Monmouth County
, NJ
The Parker Family Health Center is a volunteer clinic providing comprehensive primary health care to the uninsured of Monmouth County, NJ.   Funding will cover costs to expand social work services by an additional 24 hours/week.  The immediate objective will be to help patients still displaced by the storm, counseling and interventions for stress and anxiety, and other needed services.  These expanded services will be continued until the end of the year to address the longer-term needs of vulnerable patients.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Pop Quiz! Post-Apocalyptic Sequestration Edition

Okay students of democracy and freedom! This has been a very busy week and I'm not sure everyone has been paying attention so we're going to have a little Friday morning pop quiz!

Score 10 points for each correct answer, zero points for each incorrect answer. There are no trick questions, there are no sketchy deals.

Multiple Choice (Pick the answer or answer that best suit the question)

1. On Monday, Janet Napolitano (D-Obama) tried to make sure people were properly upset about the horrible 1.2% sequestration of federal growth sending federal spending levels all the way back to the horribly austere days of 2011 by saying "We are already seeing the effects at some of the ports of entry - at the big airports, for example. Some of them had very long lines this weekend." She named three airports that had suffered delays for the first time in history due to the sequester: Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Secretary Napolitano's words are an example of:
  1. An ignorant political hack with too much power
  2. Utter bullshit
  3. A calculated attempt to blame everything on anyone other than Barack Obama
  4. An honest attempt to inform the American populace of what she truly believed is happening
  5. Premeditated governmental propaganda meant to keep the American populace cowed with fear
2. Pick the statement that was not made on March 5, the first full weekday after the sequester ended America as we know it. 
  1. “We haven’t had any slowdowns at all, [and I've] “received no reports of unusual security delays.” - Marshall Lowe, spokesperson at LAX
  2. “There have been no abnormally long lines at the security checkpoint nor unusual aircraft delays at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as a result of sequestration.” - DeAllous Smith, spokesperson at Hartfield-Jackson
  3. "I can't believe this! Everything left on time today, for like the first time in history!" - Pomegranate Jones, spokesperson at Liberty International Airport of Liberty Newark New Jersey
  4. “We’re not seeing any impact at the moment. Our biggest problem this week is going to be weather rather than the sequester.” - Jean Medina, spokesperson at Airlines for America
3.  On Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) took to the floor of the Senate to filibuster the vote for John Brennan for CIA chief. Paul spoke for twelve hours. On Thursday the Senate approved Brennan's nomination, and Attorney General Eric Holder sent Paul a terse letter finally answering the simple question Paul wanted answered before he voted on Brennan. A filibuster is our constitutional republic's way of:
  1. Giving the minority faction on a given vote one last chance to gum up the works of the well-oiled machine we call "Congress"
  2. Allowing John McCain and Lindsey Graham to prove once and for all that they are actually Democrats, and jack-asses to boot
  3. An old-school way Democrats historically tried to prevent the Federal government from passing bills ensuring civil rights for blacks
  4. A cheap way for a presumptive presidential candidate to get on television
  5. An agreed upon way for the minority faction to voice its displeasure with a bill that is going to pass anyway
4. On Friday morning Chuck Todd (D-NBC) actually aired a report on NBC about the Obama super-PAC OFA selling quarterly access to the president for $500,000. This is an example of:
  1. A false report by a news organization hell-bent on bringing down the president
  2. A news reporter with a bad goatee and a low-functioning political IQ trying to make a name for himself
  3. The inevitable end of the love affair the corporate media has had with a president who is more interested in using them for his political gain than he is in being a leader
  4. The fact that even the hard-Left lunatics in this country are waking up and realizing something is rotten at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
  5. The end of Chuck Todd's career
5. For a week, we here on the East Coast were warned about a horrible winter storm that was going to dump upwards of eleven feet of snow, with 100 MPH winds, flooding, locusts, death, mayhem, famine, pestilence and fender-benders all across the land. Which if the following actually took place?
  1. Snowmageddon
  2. Locusts (in Egypt, but hey, it's still locusts!)
  3. Snowpocalypse
  4. Massive layoffs and delays which killed the robust Obama Recovery because of the diaboloical sequester that was Obama's idea but is the Republican's fault
  5. Jim Cantore felt frustrated because nothing got destroyed

Match the Picture

  1. A failed maverick presidential candidate who is attempting a Jedi mind-meld on you to get you to believe he is actually a Conservative and not a Democrat flunky, toady or lacky
  2. Chicken Little after realizing the sky does not fall just because he wants it to so he can ensure more people will buy into the lies he sells in order to maintain his tenuous grasp on power
  3. The reason music sucks anymore
  4. A nice kosher delicacy imported to Israel from Egypt just in time for Passover
  5. Worst nightmare of the following: Democrats, Republicans, Obama, the corporate media, Acme Drone Company
  6. Hoof Hearted
Exodus-style: Locusts leave Egypt for Israel
Justion Beiber in London yesterday
John McCain (R D-AZ)
And Hoof Hearted by nose!

Barack Obama, Democrat
Rand Paul, American

Answer Key

Multiple Choice:

Question 1 = 2 (however 1,3, or 5 are also acceptable for full credit)
Question 2 = 3
Question 3 = 5 (however 1,2, or 3 are also acceptable for full credit)
Question 4 = 4
Question 5 = 2

Match the Picture:


Your Score (110 possible total points)

110 points: You are a good American with a properly functioning intellect. Thanks for stopping by.
0 - 109 points: Dude, really?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Rand Paul Forces Attorney General Eric Holder To Answer His Question, Makes John McCain and Lindsey Graham Look Foolish At the Same Time

After Rand Paul's filibuster of the Senate yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder sent Paul a letter with the simple answer to the question we have all been waiting for.

This is a victory for Rand Paul, the United States Constitution, the loyal opposition and Americans who value freedom. Granted, Holder's letter is snotty and beneath the office of the Attorney General in its tone and petulance, but the point is, Paul made him answer the question that Obama, Brennan, Carney and Holder all played games with and refused to answer.

It is a major defeat for foolish Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who lambasted Paul's efforts. John McCain's condescending remark that Paul was only out to "fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms," should not ever be forgotten by those of us who take our liberty and our libertarian principles seriously.

Make no mistake. This is a victory for our side. Paul has brought the Administration's disregard for the American people to light. The corporate media has not been able to ignore this, but they were helped in their efforts to belittle it by McCain and Graham. All that has done is remind us how little we count in America anymore when we don't donate to the GOP or the Democrats.

Read the press release from Senator Paul's office.

Filibusters: They're Not Just For Democrats Opposing Civil Rights Anymore, Or, I Bet Japanese-Americans Are Happy FDR Didn't Have Drones After the Attack On Pearl Harbor

At Least One Senator Has The Cajones To Say Something On Our Behalf

Rand Paul (R-KY) filibustered against the president and CIA
not being completely open about their plans for drone strikes
against US citizens on US soil.
Rand Paul (R-KY) took to the Senate floor yesterday for twelve hours to bring attention to CIA-nominee John Brennan's inability to articulate the Obama Administration's refusal to use drones against American citizens on American soil.

Some people who don't want the government being omnipotent and omniscient (like me) think the President of the United States and the people who work directly for him should be able to unequivocally state that drones will not be used against American citizens on American soil at the behest of the Commander-In-Chief. If you think this is no big deal, please go educate yourself, because you are a dummy.

Here's what US Attorney General Eric Holder had to say about drone strikes in a letter to Paul:
"As members of this administration have previously indicated, the US government has not carried out drone strikes in the United States and has no intention of doing so. As a policy matter moreover, we reject the use of military force where well-established law enforcement authorities in this country provide the best means for incapacitating a terrorist threat."
That sounds reasonable.

This doesn't.
"It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States. For example, the president could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances like a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001."

You know why it isn't reasonable? The words "the president could conceivably have no choice" is a purely subjective statement. The President of the United States is limited by the Constitution of the United States from having the power of life or death over anyone without the consent of the Congress.
I bet Japanese-Americans living in California in 1941 sure are glad FDR (D-America) didn't have drones right after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
For you Democrats and Millenials out there who really don't know much about the government, Holder is the top Federal police officer in the United States. I bet Japanese-Americans living in California in 1941 sure are glad FDR (D-America) didn't have drones right after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Anyway, enough about the government being able to flip a switch and kill people it deems as threats. Let's talk about other famous Senate filibusters.

What Exactly Is A Filibuster, Where Did They Come From And Why Are They Here?

Robert Byrd (D-WV) filibustered
against racial equality in 1964.
 The word filibuster comes from the Dutch word "vrijbuiter" which means pirate or literally "freebooter." The term came in to use in the late 16th Century in the West Indies. The Spanish variation is "filibustero" and the French is "flibustier."

In parliamentary terms, filibusters are used to delay votes the person doing the filibuster knows he will lose. They have been said to be "more infuriating than inspirational."

Famous Senate Filibusters Specifically Included Here To Make Democrats and Progressives Angry
  • 1841: The Whig majority in the Senate wanted to replace the official Senate printers. The week-long Democrat-led filibuster lasted for a week and became so filled with enmity that Democrat William King of Alabama challenged Whig leader Henry Clay to a duel. A judge told them both to knock it off.
  • 1846: Southern senators filibustered against a bill to approving purchase of land from Mexico because of an amendment that prohibited slavery in the purchased territory. After a month-long filibuster, Democrats prevailed and the appropriation passed without the antislavery provision.
  • 1922: Southern Democrat senators filibustered to defeat anti-lynching bills
  • 1935: See 1922.
  • 1938: See 1935.
  • 1948: See 1938.
  • 1949: See 1948.
  • 1957: Senator Strom Thurmond (D-SC*) staged the longest ever filibuster against a limp Civil Rights Bill put forward by Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson (D-TX). Johnson, who had presidential aspirations crafted a showpiece bill without much in the way of change for oppressed blacks under the agreement that Senate Democrats would go along with him. Thurmond broke the agreement and held the Senate floor for 25 hours and 18 minutes.
    Strom Thurmond (D-SC) filibustered against
    racial equality in 1975.
  • 1964: Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) took the Senate floor for 14 hours to filibuster against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The Senate took a record 57 days of filibusters and debate to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which in spite of their opposition, Democrats have used against Republicans for almost 50 years.

Other Famous Senate Filibusters
  • 1986: Alphonse D'Amato (R-NY) filibustered for 23 hours 30 minutes against a bill to cut off funding for a jet trainer built in his homestate. 
  • 1953: Wayne Morse (R-OR) filibustered for 22 hours and 26 minutes against the Tidelands Oil Act.
  • 1908: Robert La Follette (R-WI) filibustered 18 hours and 23 minutes against a bill that would allow the Federal government to lend money to faltering private banks.
  • 1981: William Proxmire (D-WI) filibustered for 16 hours and 12 minutes against a bill to raise the debt ceiling.
It's all politics kids, but it does matter. Especially once you understand what is actually going on.

* - Thurmond served as a Democrat from 1954 to 1964 and then became a Republican in 1964. He remained with the Republican party until 2003.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Are We Maybe All Connected Just A Little Too Much?

The Lede

Sometimes when I’m driving I turn off the radio and listen to my inner monologue. Unless some jackass is driving 18 miles an hour below the posted speed limit, my inner monologue is far more interesting than anything else I subject myself to. Plus, it’s always a good idea to check in with my brain to see what the hell is going on up there.

We’re All Going to Die (If I Have Anything to Say About It)

It's a dark and lugubrious day here on the western reaches of the Jersey Shore. A good old fashioned March nor'easter is bearing down on us and even though there will likely be problems for some people on the immediate shore because of the diminished sand and dune protection after Hurricane Sandy – harsh winds and rain/snow happen here this time of year. The only unusual thing this year is the vulnerability of people on the immediate coast.

And the PTSD.

Back in January we had a coastal storm (that’s what happens on the coast, you get coastal storms), and people got on edge very quickly. The edginess was also prodded along by the social media news reporters who are in a desperate race to be the first person to break a disaster, whether they're right or not. On the evening of the storm, the Facebook status of a fire company on the barrier island breathlessly reported:
The ocean has breached in Ortley Beach.
While the ocean did in fact breach, anyone with any functional memory would know that cuts in the dune line are a normal part of life on the Shore. Of course, the 979 people who “Like” this fire company assumed the worse, especially since it came from an “official” government agency. At its best, reporting this the way it was done was irresponsible without some perspective. At its worst, this kind of social media fear-mongering and reporting plays right into the fears and pain of people who are still trying to get their heads around what happened here last October.

As we brace for another blow this morning, the social media outlets of fear and hopelessness are once again giving the main stream corporate media a run for their money in the doom department. Weather experts are positing the destruction to come while their followers ask exactly how much snow will fall on their block and whether they should pick Dakota up early from after-care or just let her spend the night at school.

Now I Talk About Myself In High School

I had three friends in high school. I knew about a thousand people, but 997 of them were either indifferent or engaged in full-blown loathing of me. I hated high school – every minute of it – and I wasn’t too fond of college either. In fact most of my twenties sucked and my thirties were hardly a treat. Since you asked, my forties were not much better and now that I am closing in on my mid-fifties I’m wistfully looking back on the good old days. Yet, in spite of how miserable I am to be around, I am more popular now than ever.

Let’s look at the Venn Diagram of the average adult on social media:

What the Hell Does Your Miserable High School Experience Have To Do With the Weather in New Jersey?

Well, I checked my Facebook account this morning. Here’s what I saw:

  • Weather alerts about our impending doom – 21
  • A band or somebody hawking something – 10
  • Political post I agreed with – 6
  • A personal status I had no idea the meaning of – 5
  • Sarcasm – 4
  • Memes designed to make me cry – 3
  • Legitimate bulletin from a legitimate news service – 3
  • A personal status I didn’t connect to – 3
  • A personal status I connected to – 3
  • Memes designed to make me care about something I don’t care about – 3
  • A meme designed to make me feel all warm and fuzzy – 2
  • A meme with no meaning at all – 2
  • Miscellaneous – 2
  • Birthday of someone I don’t know – 2
  • Food / interesting dining-related experience – 2
  • A political post I disagreed with – 2
  • Puppies – 1
  • A complaint about something disguised as a witty comment – 1
  • Kitties – 1
  • A HIGH SCORE! – 1
  • A status in a foreign language – 1
  • Vacation photos that just made me feel bad because they’re not mine – 1
  • Status I empathized / sympathized with – 1
I suspect your Facebook timeline is similarly populated. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy social media socializing, and I am certainly guilty of every type of post up there (except puppies and kitties). But, between the corporate media telling me that the sequester is going to cancel all of my plans, unless the Global Warming does it first, and the connection I have to everyone’s personal business, I’m beginning to miss the good old days when a friend of mine refused to give me his cell phone number to prevent me from calling him and running his bill up.

My point

Maybe we're all just a little too connected to disaster, cancer, catastrophe, puppies, politics, what I ate for dinner at P.F. Chang’s last night and how rude my server was, the obligation of wishing me a virtual birthday lest I think you’re really not my friend, and all of the other assorted stuff we spend our time on nowadays.

With the constant bombardment of bad news social media subjects us to, plus the fact that I can easily look at my horrible ex-wife’s ten year old profile picture whenever I want, maybe it’s too much connection. In my daily life of suckiness, things are ultimately not that bad, but good gosh-o-rama at the end of the day I can’t help but feel dragged down by everybody else’s misery.

To those of you about to unfriend me because you are taking this column personally: Wait! Stop! I enjoy the connections I've made (and the stuff I don’t enjoy I block anyway). It's better than walking the halls of my high school wondering why every girl I meet thinks I'm okay, but you know, ewwww, not okay in that way. I am interested in what people are doing, but sometimes I fear I may be too interested in the lives of others at the expense of my own reality.

I don’t know about you, but my low-functioning intellect only has so much room for stuff, and the stuff I'm putting in there isn’t helping me much.

Friday, March 1, 2013

What Do Get When You Cross the President With A Potato?

The Lede

Barack Obama said today that he is "not a dictator." This is excellent news because I was really becoming afraid that he was in fact, a dictator.

Around twenty-five years ago, when I was in my early twenties but still operating at a 7th grade level humor-wise, a friend told me this joke:
"What do you get when you cross a [male body part that I can't say here because, while I may enjoy juvenile humor, female relatives of mine read this blog] and a potato?"
"A dictator."
Someone should tell him it's a Vulcan Mind Meld.
There is no such fictional thing as a Jedi Mind Meld.

As we enter the dark nights of the Sequester Weekend, which is not to be confused with the Fiscal Cliff Christmas Holiday, or Socialist Armageddon (we call it Election Day here in America), the Internets will be fully engulfed in chatter that Obama has come out and denied he thinks we'd all be better off if we would just let him be dictator. Americans will have two responses to this silly statement of his:
  1. Obamanauts, Obamabots, Democrats, silly people and low-information voters will say, "SEE! We told you he wasn't a dictator and now he has permanently cleared that up for you, you racist, war-mongering, women-hating people who disagree with us!"
  2. Everybody else will say, "Hmmmm, sounds like the Prez doth protesteth too much."
But to avoid confusion, let's take an in-depth and serious look at the president's speech today.

In-Depth Look At the President's Speech

What he said:
I am not a dictator, I'm the president. Ultimately, if Mitch McConnell or John Boehner say we need to go to catch a plane, I can't have Secret Service block the doorway."
What he meant:

"If I say I'm not a dictator, the people of America might think to themselves, 'you know what, he's not a dictator but maybe he should be so John Boehner will stop ruining the country."

By not making any mention of Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid also having to catch a plane he is implicitly stating that everything is the Republicans fault. This stupid statement will cause the people of America to shake their heads and spit out their kashi onto their Birkenstocks as they mumble something ignorant about people who disagree with the president.

What he said:
"I know that this has been some of the conventional wisdom that's been floating around Washington, and that somehow–even though most people agree that I'm being reasonable, that most people agree I'm presenting a fair deal–the fact that they don't take it means that somehow I should do a Jedi mind-meld with these folks and convince them to do what's right."
What he meant:

Only an arrogant jack-ass would say he should "somehow do a Jedi mind-meld" on people with an opposing view from his. Only a childish, narcissistic fool would use this as an example of the powers he wished he had. Only a complete and utter moron would agree with him on either count.

By the way, Obama's "fair deal" that everybody (but me, because I am not stupid) agrees is "reasonable" and wonderful is to raise your taxes even more. Now I know that it's racist and greedy for me to not want to pay any more taxes, but I don't. Neither should you.

What he said:
"But ultimately it's a choice they make, and this idea that somehow there's a secret formula or secret sauce to get speaker Boehner or Mitch McConnell to say 'You know what Mr. President, you're right'...I think if there was a secret way to do that, I would have tried it. I would have done it." 

What he meant:

First of all, aren't you Obamanauts getting tired of worshipping a man who is so impotent that everything that happens is not his fault and is not under his control or purview to do anything about? This 'Mr. President' (as he calls himself) has really got a case of the "I'm-all-that's." My ex-wife got a job once and she strutted into my personal space and said "I have arrived." It's like my ex-wife is now the president: They both think spending other people's money is the only way to go. Every American now has an ex-spouse with his or her hands in their pockets. Wonderful. Congratulations.

Let's Look At Some Fun Quotations About Dictators

"I'm not a dictator, I'm the president." - Barack Obama

"It is a paradox that every dictator has climbed to power on the ladder of free speech. Immediately on attaining power each dictator has suppressed all free speech except his own." - Herbert Hoover

"Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." - Noam Chomsky

"You can't become a dictator through checks and balances." - Tommy Chong

“Dictators are rulers who always look good until the last ten minutes” - Jan Masaryk

“Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry.” - Winston Churchill

“Dictatorship is a constant lecture instructing you that your feelings, your thoughts and desires are of no account, that you are a nobody and must live as you are told by other people who desire and think for you” - Stephen Vizinczey

I hope you all make it through the cuts in increases of spending that will take us back to 2011-level spending, but let's just call it "sequestration" so people who don't think a lot will get their bloomers all twisted up.

Have a nice weekend.

Note at the Bottom: Before you weinies get all uptight that I told a joke inferring the president was some sort of potato - male genitalia biological experiment gone horribly wrong, I didn't. You did. I just told the only dictator joke I know, and anyway I said "a president" so you should maybe examine your own thoughts about our current White House inhabitant.