Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sex prompts latest victim of Spears family; outrage ensues

Pardon me for even typing these words on the hallowed grounds of this blog, where I'd like to think relevant issues dominate, but: What the hell is wrong with the Spears family? And, as an extension to that query, what the hell is wrong with parents in this country?

If your morbid curiosity prods you to read celebrity news -- as it does me on a daily basis for reasons I blame on intellectual masochism -- you may have heard that Britney Spears' 16-year-old sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, announced she is with child. The father is some poor 19-year-old bastard who is now being threatened with statutory rape charges -- in two states. Dude, really? I hope it was worth it, because you're about to learn the real meaning of "rape" with the crushing reality of prison. (On a side note, see this post for my feelings on statutory rape laws). Jamie Spears is also an alleged "actress" who plays a character on some asinine "show" on Nickelodeon, much to the glee of the younger generation.

In response to the concept of being a teenage mother, Spears had this to say:

"I love babies, and I have my nephews that I love. I have a great mom and she has raised three kids, so if I take lessons from her, I think I'll be great."

Jamie Spears probably loves babies because her knowledge of them extends to holding and playing with them until they cry, and then handing them back to the parents, who do all the dirty work (clean diapers, get up at all hours to feed the child, etc.) I imagine -- and I admittedly can't speak from experience here -- that bringing up a child takes a bit more than "loving babies," like maybe some common fucking sense and somebody older than 16. Also vital to successful motherhood is the ability to see a baby for more than a novelty item to parade before the cameras, like that professional breeding machine Britney Spears. As for those lessons from her mom, I'm sure they'll come in real handy, given how well the first two kids turned out.

Hilariously, outraged parents around America are responding to the baby news by grumbling that Jamie Spears going public about her pregnancy has forced them to explain the whole sex thing to their kids, especially considering that Jamie Spears plays a wholesome, virginal, schoolgirl on TV (From The New York Times):
Parents across the country, on the other hand, commiserated over the Internet about how, thanks to Ms. Spears, they were facing a conversation with their 8-, 9-, and 10-year-olds about sex.

“Nowadays, nothing’s safe, not even cartoons,” Diana Madruga, who has an 11-year-old daughter, said as she wrapped up her shift as the manager of a Dunkin’ Donuts here in the Boston suburbs.

It's almost as if these parents are thinking: "Shit, society is running out of role models. I guess this means we have to do some parenting!" Seriously, if parents actually think plopping their kids in front of the TV so they can glean values from a make-believe, pre-teen character is the best way to raise children, I fear for the future of this society. How about taking some fucking initiative to help shape your children with values that weren't cooked up by a Hollywood screenwriter?

Also, I can't help but wonder whether there's some sort of connection between parents avoiding the "sex talk" with their kids, and their kids having sex and getting pregnant. Seems like there might be some kind of fucking link there, don't you think? Oh, and here's a hint, parents: This isn't the 1950s. YOUR KIDS KNOW ABOUT SEX. They're just looking for a bit of parental guidance on the subject, like whether or not it's a good idea at their age. Kids seem to be partaking at staggering rates, so perhaps it's time for you to weigh in? Just a suggestion.

I would blame this whole shitpile of absurdity on abstinence-only education, but I think Jamie Spears was too busy getting rich off the backs of millions of screaming pre-teen girls to actually get any sort of education. Plus, I think she's probably just an idiot.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Abstinence-only forecast: Heavy teen pregnancy with a chance of stupid

This story is hot off the presses, and by "hot" I mean I read it sometime last week. See, we had a small glitch here at Team Alpaca that involved me getting a Saturday off work and you not getting an update. Funny how that works.

Anyway, in a shocking twist of fate, it turns out that asking hormone-ravaged teenagers to ignore 6,000 years (heh heh) of instinctual mating behavior doesn't actually work (from The Associated Press):

ATLANTA - In a troubling reversal, the nation's teen birth rate rose for the first time in 15 years, surprising government health officials and reviving the bitter debate about abstinence-only sex education.

The birth rate had been dropping since its peak in 1991, although the decline had slowed in recent years. On Wednesday, government statisticians said it rose 3 percent from 2005 to 2006.

The reason for the increase is not clear, and federal health officials said it might be a one-year statistical blip, not the beginning of a new upward trend.

However, some experts said they have been expecting a jump. They blamed it on increased federal funding for abstinence-only health education that doesn't teach teens how to use condoms and other contraception.

Some key sexually transmitted disease rates have been rising, including syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. The rising teen pregnancy rate is part of the same phenomenon, said Dr. Carol Hogue, an Emory University professor of maternal and child health.

Let me say first that in celebration of this news, I'm officially updating the top four things that should never be mixed with religion. Usually lists like this would have five elements, but I just finished Season 1 of "Dexter" and I really want to start Season 2, so I'm on a timetable here, people. Also, five-element lists mean the terrorists win.
Official, Scientific Top 5 Things That Don't Mix With Religion:

1. Politics

2. Civil rights

3. Heavy drinking

4. Sex education (formally, just "sex")

All kidding aside, the real problem with abstinence-only education is that it relies solely on faith. Faith is great for Christians. Faith allows Christians to say "I can't see God, but I know he's there because it's faith." And that's fine with me, because I'm all about spirituality and open-mindedness and all that crap. I'm also cognizant of the fact that crossing my fingers about God could arguably be better than going to hell if it turns out he was here all this time and I refused to cross my fingers. Then again, if I want a sure shot at heaven, I probably can't pretend to believe in God just to hedge my bets. I just have to take the plunge. And that's faith (I think).

But here's the crushing blow of reality: Faith really sucks with domestic policy. Crossing your fingers is generally a bad idea when it comes to real issues, and especially when it comes to teenagers. The good news is the government doesn't have to rely on faith in domestic policy, for two reasons: science and money. Science tells us that condoms, when used properly, are extremely effective in preventing pregnancy and the spread of STDs. Money, when used property, gives us the ability to spread that contraceptive knowledge to every young person in the country. When you put these two together, you have something mind-boggling that is rarely found in this society. The nuts call it heresy; I call it progress.

The argument against informing teenagers about condoms and making them readily available is that they might have sex. For some reason, religious zealots look at the condom like some magical aphrodisiac. Any mention of its existence apparently bombards a teenager's psyche with the overwhelming urge to procreate. Personally, if it's a choice between hoping a teenager won't have sex and hoping a condom will be effective, I'll lay my bets on the condom. Look at it this way: Pretend we're playing a hand of poker. My hand is condoms will prevent pregnancy, and your hand is crossing your fingers that teenagers will refrain from bumping uglies. Then look at the odds:
1. According to to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of 12th-grade U.S. students having sex was 60.5% in 2001.

2. According to the World Health Organization, the chance of pregnancy while using condoms (perfect use) is 3% at 12 months.

3. Conclusion: I should bet against religious zealots more often.

Supporters of abstinence-only education live a fantasy world. They cling to the futile idea that they can influence teenage behaviors through veiled religious teachings and misguided hope. Unfortunately, faith is simply no match for the crushing pressures of a sexualized society, peer pressure and biology.

It's sad, but it's fucking reality, and you can't face reality with ignorance. Sometimes reality has to kick you right in the balls before you see the light. And believe me, here in America we have some really sore balls.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Mitt Romney (p. noun): 1. Idiot

Sometimes a quote really speak for itself:

"It is as if (non-believers are) intent on establishing a new religion in America – the religion of secularism. They're wrong."
-- Mitt Romney

With that in mind, consider:
sec·u·lar·ism /ˈsɛkyələˌrɪzəm/

1. Secular spirit or tendency, esp. a system of political or social philosophy that rejects all forms of religious faith and worship.
2. The view that public education and other matters of civil policy should be conducted without the introduction of a religious element.
3. Religious skepticism or indifference.

So I ask: Can you have a religion that inherently rejects religion? I'm confused, Mitt. Please clarify.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Huckabee: Is he insanely principled or principally insane?

I think the scariest thing about Mike Huckabee is that I don't always develop an impending feeling of doom when I read about him. It's freaking me out because I know I should be panicked by the prospect of him becoming the next president. I know that when I read stories from fawning media outlets exploring his boyish charm, unlikely success and rabid southern religious convictions, I should get that feeling in the pit of my stomach like the whole fucking world is about to collapse. Or maybe I just hate Rudy Giuliani so much that I can't fathom a worse candidate. But guess what: There is one.

Part of the problem is many people believe that if Huckabee weren't anti-abortion and anti-gay-marriage, he might be a pretty middle-of-the-road politician. One of those fabled statesmen who makes decisions based on his convictions, logical reasoning and, fuck it, maybe even what's best for the country. You know, the kind of lawmaker who doesn't really exist. Consider some of his political accomplishments:

* In 2005, Huckabee, then the governor of Arkansas, fought to kill state legislation that would have denied public benefits to illegal immigrants. Huckabee cited his Christian values (some nonsense about loving your fellow man), saying "I drink a different kind of Jesus juice."

* Also as governor, Huckabee supported various tax hikes on everything from cigarettes to gasoline. One tax increase generated over $400 million, which was used to build a massive conservation center, upgrade parks, and meet other environmental needs for the state.

* Introduced successful legislation in Arkansas that greatly expanded government health insurance for children. As a result, the percentage of uninsured kids dropped from 22 percent to 9 percent between 1997 and 2004. Similar legislation at the national level has been systematically destroyed by Republicans who can afford health care for their children.

* Raised in a blue-collar family. Fan of rock music.

What a stand-up guy, a real fucking savior of our disillusioned world, the dark horse riding neigh. Oops, but I almost forgot. Huckabee is not just insane, he's ludicrously insane. To wit, I give you a better sample of his political repertoire (from the absolutely essential Web site,
* Opposes tax funding for any organization that supports abortion.

* Anti-abortion (sanctity of life) but pro-death penalty ("It's a necessary part of our criminal justice system for those crimes for which there is no other alternative.")

* Opposes stem cell research.

* Opposes civil unions, gay marriage and adoption rights for gays.

* Has an erection for Wal-mart ("Wal-Mart is a case study in the genius of the American marketplace.")

* Supports the historically flawed "abstinence-only" sex education.

* Supports tax credits for religious-based schools.

* Equates the moral decline of society with banning prayer in schools.

* Believes setting moral standards outside of religion is flawed ("But if integrity and character are divorced from God, they don't make sense. If you try to set your own moral thermostat, chances are that a lot of people will be uncomfortable. Integrity, left to define itself, becomes evil because everyone ends up choosing his own standards.")

* Supports denying student visas to people from nations the U.S. considers to be supporters of terrorism.

* Believes George W. Bush has done "a magnificent job."

* Supports Internet sales tax.

* Supports attacking Iran even without consent of Congress.

Most of Huckabee's appeal stems from his ability to project this sense that all his beliefs are based on core values. He can do this because, until now, he had nothing to lose. Nobody was really expecting him to get very far in the presidential race, and as a result he was able to ignore the political pitfalls that accompany saying insane shit to the public. Conversely, Giuliani must maintain a toned-down rhetoric, mostly because he's got this false image to protect and moderates to woo. He doesn't want to show his true colors.

But Huckabee is living his own reality. He's extremely religious, which is the basis for everything he believes in, and he's not afraid to admit it. It empowers him, and people like that he can be painfully candid. He doesn't change his mind a whole lot, and he's genuine. The voting public clamps onto that ideal like flies to cow dung because voters are mostly incapable of smelling bullshit.

At any rate, he won't be getting my vote. But it's a testament to his abilities at charm when I say that I kind of feel bad saying he's a bit out of his mind.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dying for God and other uplifting developments

It's rare that I come across a story that stumps my strict libertarian moral code so successfully that I'm unable to take a position or, better yet, berate the antagonists mercilessly. But I was introduced to this disconcerting feeling once again today when I stumbled across this story, shortly after scanning what I affectionately call the "Spoiled Whores Wire" (otherwise known as the Features section of the AP feed, where I get my Paris Hilton fix):

At 14, Dennis Lindberg is old enough to know that refusing blood transfusions may amount to a "death sentence," but he has that right, a Skagit County judge ruled today.

A Jehovah's Witness from Mount Vernon, Lindberg has religious objections to receiving blood. Doctors say he needs transfusions to survive treatment for leukemia.

Doctors at Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center in Seattle diagnosed him Nov. 6 and began giving him chemotherapy. Because such treatment destroys the body's ability to make red blood cells, transfusions are necessary, doctors said.

Lindberg's relatives disagree about whether the eighth-grader, who remains hospitalized, should be forced to get the transfusions. His aunt, who is his legal guardian and also a Jehovah's Witness, supports his decision to refuse. But his parents, who live in Idaho, disagree.

First, it should be said that this boy died in the hospital just hours after the judge issued his ruling, so out of respect for the dead I won't go into how stupid I think it is to base a life-altering medical decision on religion. Although that much is clear in my mind, the debate is less about the rationality of religion and more about freedom in this society. Surely in a free society, everybody should retain the basic right to decide the fate of their own lives, and making that decision based on a religion is certainly included in that freedom.

Then again, this is a 14-year-old kid we're talking about. Perhaps a kid who, arguably, couldn't quite grasp the implications of such a decision, and may I be so bold to say may not have been given the opportunity to question the soundness of his own beliefs. I'll put it another way: Maybe his fucking "legal guardian" was an insane religious zealot who convinced him he would burn in the eternal depths of hell fire (or whatever Jehovah's Witnesses believe) if he received a blood transfusion that would ultimately spare his life. If that's the case, then I would say: Congratulations, "guardian," you killed him. You fail.

Given my fanatical distrust of any authority figure telling me what I can and can't do in regard to my life, it's really hard for me to disagree with the judge's ruling. This kid may well have been old enough -- and of sound enough mind -- to make that kind of decision for himself. And I'm not about to suggest people be denied the right to use faith as a factor in such a decision. But it sounds fishy to me. It doesn't sit right. I find it hard to believe that a 14-year-old would take religion seriously enough to end his life over it without some kind of outside authoritative influence. And I'm a bit disgusted that a religion would preach such a belief in the first place. I can't imagine a God that wouldn't understand the basic human urge to survive, and the scientific breakthroughs that have allowed us as a race to extend our time on this world.

So I'm left at square one on this issue. If this kid truly and independently came to the conclusion that a blood transfusion would harm his soul, well I can't really argue with him, and I have to respect that he has the absolute right to believe it. But if he was influenced to deny the treatment even for an instant by some crackpot religious leader, I think somebody is guilty of negligent homicide.

On a side note, I find it interesting that when it comes to refusing medical care that will ultimately result in death, religious leaders insist on absolute immunity, but when it comes to the right to end your own life to stop the suffering of a catastrophic terminal illness, these same religious leaders cry foul. In terms of euthanasia, I really don't see the distinction between refusing life-saving care or pushing a button to pump yourself full of toxic chemicals.

Either way, it's a death sentence.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving break

I've been pretty busy for the holiday, so I haven't had a chance to update. But never fear, the show will return shortly.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Church vows to take over Microsoft; Bill Gates buys planet Neptune

Here at Project Hairy Alpaca, our crack team of analysts sifts through hundreds of articles per minute in a valiant search to find the most hopeless souls currently inhabiting this chunk of rock. And by "crack team," I mean I occasionally take time from drawing stick figures to browse the Internet for a few minutes. It's a highly fluid system, full of intricacies, redundancies and intricacies. What?

Anyway, this story will amaze and inspire you, for it has everything that lies at the heart of the American dream: Capitalism, technology, and a biblical allegory to David and Goliath. The only difference here is that David is an insane fundamentalist, and Goliath is a corporation worth billions of dollars (from The Telegraph):

A black conservative Christian pastor of an evangelical megachurch has vowed to take over Microsoft by packing it with new shareholders who will vote against the company's policy of championing gay rights.

The Reverend Ken Hutcherson, a former Dallas Cowboys linebacker, heads the Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, home of Microsoft.

He told Microsoft executives at a shareholders' meeting last week that he would be their "worst nightmare" if they continued to defy him.

Antioch Bible Church attracts around 3,500 worshippers for its services and Mr Hutcherson is a powerful figure in the Christian conservative movement.

His church, which emphasises racial diversity and a strict moral code, grew from a bible study class for just 15 people in 1984.

I guess I'll start with a few small technical inquiries into Mr. Hutcherson's moral crusade. I'm just wondering how he and his "3,500 worshippers" plan to raise the approximately $182,000,000,000 it would take to purchase a controlling stake in Microsoft, which by the way is worth about $364.76 billion. According to Forbes, Bill Gates owns just 8 percent of the company, and even that comes out to nearly 1 billion shares. Want to know how much it costs to own just 8 percent of Microsoft? About $29 billion. Basically, if each of his worshippers spent $52 million buying shares, they'd be on their way to being in a position where Microsoft would give a fuck about what they have to say. (I apologize if my math is a bit off here, but you get the picture. It's like 3 a.m. for Christ's sake. Source here).

But that's OK. When you're on a mission from God, these contingencies will just work themselves out, right? And in America, no less! Nothing is more American than taking over a company by force, and gay bashing. Except maybe running into the wilderness to kill some shit:
Mr Hutcherson's office is decorated with the heads of deer, elk and a buffalo – "when I run into animals, I kill them and bring them home and eat them" – as well as invitations to the White House and signed pictures of himself with President George W. Bush.

Wow. Perhaps the buffalo roam in fields of money.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A comedy of terrors

It's fun to poke fun at Rudy Giuliani. I mean, the man is basically a walking punchline. For one, he's a Republican cross dresser, which I personally find insanely funny in a parallel universe sort of way. He's also been divorced like a thousand times, yet he opposes gay marriage on principal, which is funny in a confusing sort of way. You laugh, and then you think: "Wait. What?"

And don't even get me started on his face. He looks like something out of a Brothers Grimm nightmare. Every time I see him on TV I think gophers have finally engineered the perfect killing machine, and oh fuck it's running for president, and oh shit it's a front-runner. The gophers may seem cute and cuddly now, but they're really bent on world domination!:

But hey, want to know something about Rudy that's not so funny? Him being president.

I say this with full knowledge that he's the only seemingly electable Republican who is pro-choice and, one might assume, the most socially liberal of the bunch. But this is all bullshit, like his fake tears over Sept. 11, most of which he sheds at sanctimonious speeches he gives shortly after taking a swim in the millions of dollars he's stockpiled on the backs of those 3,000 dead Americans. Before reading on, do me a favor and take the idea that Rudy gives a fuck about your liberties and flush it down the toilet with the rest of yesterday's business. Because if he's elected, Rudy will destroy this country, and we won't have the fortune of him being incredibly incompetent like George W. Bush. He's smart, cunning, manipulative -- and worst of all, completely misunderstood.

Here's how I know Rudy is full of shit with his whole middle-the-road schtick: He was just endorsed by America's most insane evangelical zealot, Pat Robertson. Think about that for a second. Think about Rudy Giuliani, who has not been timid about his pro-choice views, who has been divorced several times and estranged from his own children, and who has vehemently defended gay rights. Then consider some of the things Pat Robertson has said:
"(T)he feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

"Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians. It's no different. It is the same thing. It is happening all over again. It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-based media and the homosexuals who want to destroy the Christians."

"Many of those people involved with Adolf Hitler were Satanists, many of them were homosexuals--the two things seem to go together." (Interestingly, like Hitler, Rudy is a Catholic).
So the question is, why would a man like Robertson endorse a man like Rudy? Some have argued that Robertson was just being practical: He couldn't back Romney, because he's a Mormon, which many evangelicals consider a cult. And he couldn't back McCain, because he can't possibly win. So the only natural choice was Giuliani, despite his pro-choice, pro-gay, New York sensibilities.

But think about this: Do you really think Pat Robertson, who agreed with Jerry Falwell that Sept. 11 was God's revenge for the ACLU, and who essentially influences the votes of millions of religious people with his daily dose of propaganda, would endorse a candidate unless he was confident such an endorsement would pay off? Rudy isn't pro-choice. Rudy is pro-whatever the fuck gets me elected. And if he gets elected, he'll be pro-whatever keeps me in office. So my guess is Rudy told Pat Robertson something powerful enough, convincing enough, that he was (theoretically) able to win a significant segment of the Christian vote. A guy like Pat Robertson does not dole out that kind of political gold unless he knows something we don't.

What really scares me is that Rudy Giuliani is just crazy enough to be endorsed by somebody like Pat Robertson. I figure Robertson, who has a fetish for bombing non-believers, probably read the same New York Times article I did:
Rudolph W. Giuliani’s approach to foreign policy shares with other Republican presidential candidates an aggressive posture toward terrorism, a commitment to strengthening the military and disdain for the United Nations.

But in developing his views, Mr. Giuliani is consulting with, among others, a particularly hawkish group of advisers and neoconservative thinkers.

Their positions have been criticized by Democrats as irresponsible and applauded by some conservatives as appropriately tough, while raising questions about how closely aligned Mr. Giuliani’s thinking is with theirs.

Mr. Giuliani’s team includes Norman Podhoretz, a prominent neoconservative who advocates bombing Iran “as soon as it is logistically possible”; Daniel Pipes, the director of the Middle East Forum, who has called for profiling Muslims at airports and scrutinizing American Muslims in law enforcement, the military and the diplomatic corps; and Michael Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who has written in favor of revoking the United States’ ban on assassination.

Now when I read about Rudy Giuliani, I don't laugh much anymore.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Looks can kill

From the Teachers Packing Heat desk comes the conclusion of a story that I could honestly care less about, but nonetheless feel I must bring up for reasons that soon will be revealed in striking contrast.

Some background on the case: A teacher in Medford with a concealed weapons license wanted to carry her semiautomatic handgun to school with her. Her reasoning for needing the firearm was to protect herself against her ex-husband, who she accused of threatening her. Why she would need to defend herself at school is beyond me in that it seems unlikely this guy would opt to show up in a public workplace rather than her home if he had any intension to harm her. Regardless, a district police prohibited her from bringing the gun, and a lawsuit ensued, and all the gun nuts and peaceniks came out for a wild romp, and fun times were had by all.

Until Friday, when a judge ruled that the school had a right to set the anti-gun policy. He said this in a context of a bunch of legal crap that nobody cares about, but what he was REALLY thinking was this:


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Apparently, real life is still happening

You may find this unbelievable, even stunning, but today I really have no opinion on anything. Even though I watched CNN for a half-hour yesterday at the gym, and therein witnessed once again the shocking lack of journalistic principles on broadcast news, I still find it unpleasant to explore that in any meaningful manner right now.

So in a rare divergence from the stated purpose of this blog, and at the risk of divulging my true identity to the readers who don't know it, I'm going to talk about my personal life.

* First, I'd like to congratulate the Hairy Alpaca reader who stumbled upon my rants and raves by typing the following into Google: "hairy women tube" and "she like it hairy tube." You, good sir or madam, are the official weirdo of the blog. Let's give him him/her a hand! (An explanation for the less technologically inclined: I can track the keywords that people use when my blog comes up after a Google search).

* Guitar Hero, you evil temptress, I kneel in submission to your supernatural powers that force me to drool in front of the PS2 for 14 hours at a time. I vowed I would never become a slave to console gaming, but your sweet calls and false sense that I'm a real musician keep drawing me back to your faithful caress like Rudy Giuliani to his wives. After Guitar Hero I, Guitar Hero II, and Guitar Hero III (all in the course of about four days), I ask: Please God, take this devil machine away from me before I get sucked into the TV.

* I'm trying to write a screenplay. I haven't started yet, and don't even know where to start. I just know that I can do this. I feel like I have a greater purpose than being an editor. Sometimes I wonder what the fuck I'm doing correcting other people's shitty writing when I could be creating my own vision.

* I'm growing up. I've come to terms with it, and during the past month I've felt a monumental shift in my consciousness. I realize what I need, what I want, and the foolishness in not trying to get it. I want people to see me as confident and not like I just woke up a half-hour ago. The feeling has faded in the past week, but I think I learned some things while I was on top of the world. And although I'm not waking up as much with that awesome feeling that everything is going the right way, the lessons from that period have stuck with me. It's still a bumpy road -- there are things about myself that I want to change, ways of thinking about things and treating things that don't fit the new model. But I've got a head start, and even if my path doesn't change in the near future, my outlook surely has.

* I'm probably the only person left on the planet who can say this, but I just UPGRADED to Windows XP. So Windows 2000, who I knew and loved for the better part of about seven years, it's been a great ride, but sometimes things have to change. I'll always remember the times we had: 20-hour marathons of Counter Strike, Plug and Play by osmosis, and the time when I installed Service Pack 1 and you wouldn't start anymore because you wanted me to change the jumper in the back of my hard drive. Meeeeeeeeeeeeemories....

Friday, November 2, 2007

What's that, Westboro church? I'm sorry, I couldn't quite hear you through all the sounds of you getting royally fucked

A quick post tonight because I've just worked eight days in a row and my cognitive capabilities are at about Bush level. So before I start a war and inadvertently kill thousands of people with my stupidity, I'm just gonna say this: Here in the USA, the right to sue is like the right to steal billions of dollars through insider trading and flee to a tropical paradise without extradition laws: It's just so damn American it hurts. We covet the civil lawsuit like it's the last line of defense before the foreigners get us.

So it was with passing amusement that I found out the Westboro Baptist Church (see post from a few days ago) lost in a lawsuit accusing it of inflicting emotional distress and generally being worthless pieces of shit (now there's a crime I can support). And not only did they lose, they basically got bankrupted by a jury to the tune of $10 million. As Samuel L. Jackson would say: "Damn, motherfucker!"

From The Los Angeles Times:

Jurors unanimously agreed that the Snyders' privacy had been breached by the Westboro Baptist Church, a family-based conservative religious group that assembled on public property near the funeral motorcade. As mourners for Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder drove by March 10, 2006, members of the fundamentalist Christian church based in Topeka, Kan., held up signs reading such things as "Thank God for dead soldiers."

Well I'm starting to quote Samuel L. Jackson, or as I call him when we chill down in Inglewood, "Sammy," and that usually means I'm starting to pass out. So to recap: Westboro Baptist Church, you're a bunch of fucktards, and I'm laughing my ass off that you just got your zealot asses handed to you, but it probably won't hold up on appeal, and I'm not sure I'd want it to anyway. Whenever courts start screwing with free speech, I get that feeling like the whole country is about to bend over.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Georgia's new crime: Sex while black

Genarlow Wilson was just 17 years old when they ripped him away from his life and family and hauled him off to a Georgia prison.

In a society where blacks often face bitter racism and inequality, Wilson excelled -- he was a top student at his high school and an aspiring football player who was garnering talk of recruitment into the college level. His future was bright.

That is, until the forces of conservatism and sexual repression in this country got their sinister clutches on him. While at a high school party one night, Wilson received consensual oral sex from a girl two years younger than him. And as murderers, rapists and white-collar CEOs were running around killing people, raping people and stealing billions of dollars, Wilson was arrested for messing around with another teenager. Apparently, in Georgia, fellatio is a felony. Who knew?

Wilson was charged as an adult with aggravated child molestation, despite the trivial fact that he wasn't an adult and he didn't molest any children, and was offered an olive branch by the open-minded and forward-thinking DA: Become a registered sex offender and be ostracized by society for the rest of your life for getting a hummer, or rot in prison like a criminal. I see a Robert Frost parallel here, but I don't think I'll go there.

Wilson rejected the deal, not because he thought it was a miscarriage of justice, but because he was concerned he wouldn't be able to see his 9-year-old sister anymore, or even have his own kids someday, because sex offender status would require him to stay away from children. So in an effort to keep his family together and preserve his future, Wilson went to a jury, which obviously found him guilty, given he is black and this is the South we're talking about.

Ten years in prison they gave him. And in an instant, the American justice system became a complete fraud. Luckily, the Georgia Supreme Court was able to glean some reason from the ashes, and it overturned the sentence, calling the sentence "cruel and unusual punishment."

Justice Leah Ward Sears wrote for the majority:
Although society has a significant interest in protecting children from premature sexual activity, we must acknowledge that Wilson's crime does not rise to the level of culpability of adults who prey on children … For the law to punish Wilson as it would an adult, with the extraordinary harsh punishment of 10 years in prison without the possibility of probation or parole, appears to be grossly disproportionate to his crime.

But Wilson still spent two years behind bars. I can only imagine the personal transformation after two years in a Georgia prison. I think it's safe to say he didn't come out the same person.

I don't think I even have to make any arguments about the fundamental breakdown in this country when it comes to our perception of sex, or how we have a bunch of prude old men in charge of making laws, because this case really speaks for itself. It's an overzealous attempt to control something you can't possibly control: Human nature. But they'll keep trying. And once again, the wheels of progress in this country turn, turn, turn.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The pope is not that dope

This may be blasphemy -- I don't know -- but of all the people on the planet to whom I want to feed a shit sandwich, the pope tops the list. Benedict XVI, a.k.a. Cardinal Ratfucker, is a virus of common sense; a defender of Catholic priest child molesters who are worth as much as the dog crap I stepped in earlier; and quite possibly clinically insane.

How do I know this?

Well, aside from the fact that he was promoted to ruler status by the Catholic church after failing miserably to control child-hungry priests, he also thinks that pharmacists should refuse to fill prescriptions that they find morally offensive.

Say the fuck what?

That's right. Apparently, it's their religious duty, or some stupid shit: (From The Associated Press)

Pope Benedict XVI said Monday that pharmacists have a right to use conscientious objection to avoid dispensing emergency contraception or euthanasia drugs — and told them they should also inform patients of the ethical implications of using such drugs.

Benedict told a gathering of Catholic pharmacists that conscientious objection was a right that must be recognized by the pharmaceutical profession.

"Pharmacists must seek to raise people's awareness so that all human beings are protected from conception to natural death, and so that medicines truly play a therapeutic role," Benedict said.

Benedict said conscientious objector status would "enable them not to collaborate directly or indirectly in supplying products that have clearly immoral purposes such as, for example, abortion or euthanasia."

Nice. Because I bet what a woman really wants to hear when seeking emergency contraception after, for instance, being raped, is some holier-than-thou Catholics preaching the virtues of fucking conscientious objection because they don't believe some stranger's sperm should be killed en route to her embryo. Sperm is a bunch of proteins with a little bit of DNA. If we start worrying about killing sperm, I can see the day when washing your hands or using sanitizer will be considered genocide. Is this some cosmic joke I'm not quite understanding?

And since when can you stroll over to your local Walgreen's and pick up a fucking prescription for euthanasia drugs? Is that ridiculous hat he wears constricting the blood flow to his brain? Jesus, this guy is like the patron saint for stupid. All hail Saint Retard.

Look, Ratfucker, let me outline something for you: If I have a moral problem with capping motherfuckers, I won't become a cop. If I have a few ethical issues about lying, I damn well won't run for president. And if I can't seem to muster the conviction to allow people the basic freedom to practice birth control, I won't become a pharmacist. Because it is simply insane to make a career out of something you find morally corrupt (although I think there may be a position in Idaho opening soon).

Also, you look like you were born in the 1800s. That's cool. But some things have changed. People are having sex. Often. I heard it's got something to do with hormones and boobs, I don't know. But the only shield we have from tripling the population in the next nine months is if people can make conscious decisions about when to have kids.

Didn't anybody send the fucking sex memo to the pope?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Beer brewers quit drinking, start smoking crack

This story is a little old (the AP finally picked up on it, but it's been around blogs for awhile). It's also a bit esoteric, so bear with me.

Apparently, when the Boston brewers who manufacture that foul swill called Sam Adams beer learned that some copyright-infringing ruffians in Portland (of the Northwest vein) had registered the domain name "" and "", they were more than a little pissed (haha, get it?)

They even sent a letter to one of the perpetrators, KEX radio host Dave Anderson, who replied with diligence and the appropriate degree of sincerity:

"Boston Beer has used the trademarks SAM ADAMS and SAMUEL ADAMS since 1984," said the letter, which asked Anderson to surrender the Web sites.

The radio hosts have responded by broadcasting the sound of a listener pouring Sam Adams beer in the toilet.

But as it turns out, Sam Adams is, like, a real person! And he's, like, really running for mayor! Adams, a city commissioner in Portland, announced his candidacy last month. After registering the domain names, the two radio hosts vowed to hand them over to the candidate if he came on their show and discussed his platform. Also, as Portland Sam points out to the Boston Sams, he's arguably been using HIS trademark since 1963.

Hilariously, the company hadn't even bothered to investigate the nature of the Web sites before sending the letter. And when they learned of their error, they graciously offered Northwest Sam the right to use his own fucking name -- but only for a limited time:
(Boston Beer's Helen) Bornemann said she's willing to discuss Adams' use of his name on his Web sites "probably for the length of the time the election is being held."

Aw, well thanks, bitch. Go Red Sox!

(story here)

Maybe the end isn't near enough

For all you First Amendment junkies out there: There's a fascinating case coming out Pennsylvania that pits what I can only describe as the most despicable form of hate speech with the time-tested, ever-evolving right to protest, preach, decry, rave and rant in America.

It involves the Westboro Baptist Church, a vile, mouth-foaming band of degenerate religious honkies from Kansas who take some sort of sick pleasure in the further suffering of families of dead U.S. soldiers. The church -- which I would venture to guess any self-respecting Christian in this country agrees gives the whole faith a bad name -- attends the funerals of troops who died in Iraq and Afghanistan, bearing signs with such mournful platitudes as "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "Thank God for 9/11" in pretty rainbow colors.

Their general, eh, belief is both mind-boggling and laugh-out-loud hilarious: That dead soldiers symbolize God's punishment for homosexuals. If you were to dignify that argument with a response, you might ask a few vital questions for clarification, such as: 1) Why wouldn't God just punish gay people instead of soldiers (which leads to the obvious follow-up: Why doesn't God ever get to the point on these matters?)

Also: Why are Kansas baptists so bat-shit crazy?

Anyway, on to the fun part: A parent of a soldier actually sued the group, claiming they invaded his privacy and inflicted emotional distress (From the Baltimore Sun):
The father of a Marine killed in Iraq took the stand today in his invasion of privacy suit against a fundamentalist church that pickets soldiers' funerals, saying protesters carrying signs at his son's burial made him sick to his stomach.

Albert Snyder said he had hoped for a private funeral for his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder.

"They turned this funeral into a media circus and they wanted to hurt my family," Snyder testified. "They wanted their message heard and they didn't care who they stepped over. My son should have been buried with dignity, not with a bunch of clowns outside."

It's clear that defacing the funeral of a soldier, arguably somebody who gave their life for what he or she believed was a noble cause, makes you the lowest form of dog shit. Far be it from me to condone violence, but if it were my son or daughter being buried, I would break some fucking heads wide fucking open. Then I would piss on their signs. And go to jail as a martyr for decency and good old American retribution.

But I think we should take a step back and consider what kind of precedent this case sets. At the very least, what we're talking about is punishing a group for voicing their beliefs -- insane as they may be -- in a lawful manner in a public space. Sure, it probably offends just about everybody in existence outside the church, but so does a show like South Park. Again we're faced with the slippery-slope question that always tags along on these free speech questions: Where do we as Americans draw the line?

The judge in the case outlined as much to jurors:

U.S. District Richard Bennett instructed jurors at the start of testimony Tuesday that the First Amendment protection of free speech has limits, including vulgar, offensive and shocking statements. Bennett said the jurors must decide "whether the defendant's actions would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, whether they were extreme and outrageous, and whether these actions were so offensive and shocking as to not be entitled to First Amendment protection."

As much as it pains me to say this, I think the church losing this case would be a disaster for free speech. I just can't fathom any situation that would merit punishing a group for peacefully protesting, even if the message is juvenile and incredibly offensive. That said, should they be barred from delivering this message at funerals? Absolutely. Let them sit in their church and tell fairy tales to each other about God and the evil gays; hell, even let them march around town like a bunch of evangelical buffoons, a walking argument for the merits of breeding limits (starting with the South.)

But there is a point where common decency kicks in -- like when somebody is trying to honor the dead. Keeping these crazies away from funerals would not deter from their right to speak out. It simply would arrest their ability to insult people who didn't do anything to deserve, or invite, insult.

By the way, I might add this sentiment, for what it's worth: These people make me want to lose all hope in humanity. But it also makes me respect the many Christians who practice their faith in a respectable manner, a few of whom I consider close friends. I don't have a problem with Christians who are outspoken about their beliefs (in fact, I kind of rely on it for content!), but are these people actually conscious of their own message?

I just have a hard time believing that Jesus was the kind of guy who would go to a funeral with a sign that says "Semper Fi Fags." I seem to remember something about love and understanding.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Romney: "Oops"

I suppose this was inevitable, either by the sheer similarity between the names, or the fact that the Republican character assassination machine continues to crank away at reality:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — It was only a slip of the tongue, but it's hard not to notice when a presidential candidate is confused for the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

Giving a speech before the Chamber of Commerce in Greenwood, South Carolina Tuesday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney invoked Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's name when he apparently meant to say Osama bin Laden.

“Actually, just look at what Osama — Barack Obama said just yesterday," Romney said, according to the Associated Press. "Barack Obama calling on radicals, jihadists of all different types, to come together in Iraq. That is the battlefield."

Romney campaign spokesman Kevin Madden called the remarks a "brief mix up."

“Gov. Romney simply misspoke," he said. "He was referring to the recently released audiotape of Osama bin Laden and misspoke when referencing his name."

Meanwhile, Bill Burton, a spokesman for Obama, said, "Apparently, Mitt Romney can switch names just as casually as he switches positions, but what's wrongheaded is continuing a misguided war in Iraq that has left America less safe.

"It's time to end the divisiveness and fear-mongering that is at the heart of Gov. Romney's campaign," he added.

In January, CNN made the same mistake, accidentally displaying a graphic that said "Where's Obama?" during a report on bin Laden. Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy also made the same slip in a 2005 speech.

Perhaps Mr. Romney has been reading too many conservative bloggers, who routinely write "B. Hussein Obama" when referring to the well-respected Democrat and, I might point out, dedicated Christian.

Of course, this is a veiled attempt at associating Obama with Saddam Hussein and, more generally, Muslims, who are filed in the GOP play book under "fear" and "hapless Americans." Conservatives have more trouble understanding cultural relativism than Rudy Giuliani had keeping his first three wives. Here's an idea: Why don't we dedicate the nearly $1 trillion we're using for Iraq to hunting down Osama Bin Laden, bring him to justice for murdering 3,000 Americans, stop bombing Muslims countries that had nothing to do with it, and then we can have just one measley presidential election without having to hear "9/11" repeated thousands of times, or candidates comparing each other to the most elusive and despicable terrorist alive.

Wouldn't it be nice.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'll wait my whole life to correct this one

For your enjoyment and continuing education into the zany English language ...

Consider this sentence: "Those who lie often are found out."

So, the burning question is whether the sentence is saying that people who lie often are foiled in those attempts, or whether those who lie are foiled regularly, regardless of their propensity to do so.

"Those who lie, often are found out."
"Those who lie often, are found out."

(Not a proper use of punctuation, but you get the point).

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, does that magnificent grammatical anomaly have a name? Why yes, yes it does! It's called a "squinting modifier." That's right, "squinting." Why? Who the fuck knows!

But this is a perfect example of breaking one grammatical rule to solve another. In order to make the sentence more understandable, you must split the compound verb "who lie" by saying "Those who often lie are found out."

Or, if you want the latter meaning, "Those who lie are often found out."

So next time you're at a social gathering, don't forget to bring up the squinting modifier. Chicks dig it. Also, if you've run out of things to say to her, just repeat after me: Avoid placing a comma before a coordinating conjunction unless the sentence that follows is an independent clause. If that doesn't rock her world, well I guess you'll be sleeping alone tonight.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I love the British

Life has been exciting and a bit fast-paced of late, so I've been neglecting my blogging duties. I'll get another post up soon. In the meantime, more evidence that writers are the coolest fucking people in the universe (From The Associated Press):
LONDON — Doris Lessing pulled up in a black cab where a media horde was waiting Thursday in front of her leafy north London home. Reporters opened the door and told her she had won the Nobel Prize for literature, to which she responded: “Oh Christ! ... I couldn’t care less.”

Lessing later said she thought the cameras were there to film a television program. Vegetables peeked out from blue plastic bags she carried out of the cab.

“This has been going on for 30 years,” she said, as reporters helped her with the bags.

“I’ve won all the prizes in Europe, every bloody one, so I’m delighted to win them all, the whole lot, OK?” Lessing said, making her way through the crowd. “It’s a royal flush.”

“I’m sure you’d like some uplifting remarks,” she added with a smile.

Lessing, who turns 88 this month, is the oldest winner of the literature prize. Although she is widely celebrated for “The Golden Notebook” and other works, she has received little attention in recent years and has been criticized as strident and eccentric.

Asked repeatedly if she was excited about the award, she held court from her doorstep and noted she had been in the running for the Nobel for decades.

“I can’t say I’m overwhelmed with surprise,” Lessing said. “I’m 88 years old and they can’t give the Nobel to someone who’s dead, so I think they were probably thinking they’d probably better give it to me now before I’ve popped off.”

Surrounded by members of the international media in her flower-packed garden, Lessing was dismissive of the Nobel — calling the award process graceless and saying the prize “doesn’t mean anything artistically.”

She acknowledged the $1.5 million cash award was a lot of money, but still seemed less than thrilled.

“I’m already thinking about all the people who are going to send me begging letters — I can see them lining up now,” she said. The phone in her house, audible from the street, rang continuously.

Lessing brightened when a reporter asked whether the Nobel would generate interest in her work.

“I’m very pleased if I get some new readers,” she said. “Yes, that’s very nice, I hadn’t thought of that.”

Friday, October 5, 2007

More goods news on these dreary days

Update on the unconscionable effort to revoke recently passed laws that grant equal rights to gays in Oregon: Try again, assholes. It's great news for people who strongly believe that the standards of one religion do not have a place in the law books, and for people who continue to battle the myth that this great nation can somehow be benefited by religious lawmaking:
SALEM — With few signatures to spare, gay rights opponents say it will take a miracle for their referendum effort to succeed in blocking two new gay rights laws from taking effect Jan. 1.

“We are still full of hope. But it’s going to be very close,” former state Sen. Marylin Shannon said Friday as state election officials completed a preliminary tally of signatures submitted for the two proposed referrals.

With the petition signatures now going to county clerks for checking, it appears doubtful that there are enough signatures to send the referral measures to the November 2008 ballot — a prospect that heartens gay rights backers.

“We certainly hope that Oregon won’t have to put these two laws on hold for almost a full year,” said John Hummelof Basic Rights Oregon, the state’s largest gay rights advocacy group.

The referendum campaign by the social conservative and church groups is aimed at derailing laws passed by the 2007 Legislature to legalize domestic partnerships for same-sex couples and ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.

A preliminary tally by state elections officials indicated there were 60,531 signatures for the measure to force an election vote on the domestic partnership law.

County clerks will have until Oct. 26 to verify that at least 55,179 of those signatures are valid to trigger an election. That would require a validity rate of 91 percent, which has been reached just once in recent years.

The effort to sidetrack the anti-discrimination law faces an even taller hurdle, since the state’s preliminary count showed 59,751 signatures, meaning that 92 percent of those signatures would have to be deemed valid.

As I've said before, the discrimination lobby uses God to justify its pathetic attempts at legislating an oppressive Christian morality on U.S. citizens. How can I as an American stand by as these groups corrupt our ability to grant human rights? This is not an issue of gay or straight — this is an issue of freedom in America. This is an issue of who we allow to decide our morality. You can bet that if somebody were trying to pass a bill that denied the rights of Christians, I would be the first one in line to fight it.

As such, we must continue to fight this, with a banner of open-mindedness, and we must prevail before we are reduced to a backwater bastion for illogical and demonstrably hurtful legislation.

Our very humanity — and future — depend on it.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Vietnam, civil rights and ... tampons?

I'm a sucker for protesting authority, especially when it comes to overly oppressive rules in educational institutions. So it's probably not a surprise that I found this story insanely funny:
GRAHAMSVILLE, N.Y. -- A high school security guard is accused of asking girls whether they were menstruating, leading to a protest in which some students wore tampons on their clothing or carried purses made of tampon boxes.

Samantha Martin, 14, said she had a small purse with her at Tri-Valley High School in Sullivan County, northwest of New York City, when security guard Mike Bunce called her out of class Sept. 19. She said Bunce told her she couldn't have a purse unless she was having her period, then asked her whether she was.

Martin and several other girls who said they had been asked the same question were called to discuss the matter with school officials, the Times Herald-Record of Middletown reported.

The district had banned backpacks in hallways this year for safety and security reasons, school officials said.

"We are investigating the allegations and speaking with the students and staff involved," said Tri-Valley Central School District Superintendent Nancy George, who declined to comment further.

As any seasoned anti-establishmentarian will tell you, sometimes in times of crisis, such as having your backpack banned from hallways, you have to take it to the next level. This kid knows exactly what I'm talking about:

Police even arrested one student protesting the backpack policy who ran naked through school halls with a paper bag over his head.

Classic. I salute you, sir. You are a gentleman and a scholar. And a nudist, apparently.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Blood-for-oil bandwagon

From the Times online:

AMERICA’s elder statesman of finance, Alan Greenspan, has shaken the White House by declaring that the prime motive for the war in Iraq was oil.

In his long-awaited memoir, to be published tomorrow, Greenspan, a Republican whose 18-year tenure as head of the US Federal Reserve was widely admired, will also deliver a stinging critique of President George W Bush’s economic policies.

However, it is his view on the motive for the 2003 Iraq invasion that is likely to provoke the most controversy. “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil,” he says.

Greenspan, 81, is understood to believe that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the security of oil supplies in the Middle East.

Britain and America have always insisted the war had nothing to do with oil. Bush said the aim was to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and end Saddam’s support for terrorism.Times online:

Whew! I'm glad somebody finally exposed THAT elephant in the room. Hey, Greenspan, love all that stuff you did with economics and how you're probably about 100,000 times smarter than me and how you look like Darth Sidius. But the whole war for oil thing? The cat's kinda out of the bag on that one. I'm just sayin'.

Rudy throws down the gauntlet; world yawns

In case you've been in the bomb shelter for the past, oh, six years or so, Rudy "Rat Face" Giuliani is running for president. Rudy Giuliani, who built a fortune on the backs of victims and rescue workers of the Sept. 11 attacks -- a glorious statesman who will gladly deliver a moving speech about the attacks for a nominal fee of $100,000-$200,000, or gladly write a book about his so-called leadership during the tragedy for a nominal fee of $2.7 million -- and who has been despicably sculpting his grab at power since the minute the first tower fell. The fact that polls show his front-runner status is a testament to how national fear and rabidly patriotic rhetoric can transform a disgraced, politically confused and slimy mayor of New York into the darling of the GOP and (god-forbid) the future commander of the world's most ferocious military power.

Rudy Giuliani is also a Republican, which inherently makes him an active participant in one of the most fluid and accomplished character assassination machines in America. Want proof? Quick, what do you remember about the past two presidential elections? Gore: Dull. Kerry: Flip-flopper. Rum and Coke: On the rocks. Republicans have spent a whole lot of time and a whole lot more money to make sure you remember that Al Gore can't possibly be president because, well, he just isn't that funny! And John Kerry? Well, he just doesn't stick to his convictions.

Anyway, Giuliani kicked off the latest round of character drubbing by doing something ingenious and completely original: Lying through his teeth. In a response to an ad that published in the New York Times, in which they characterize Gen. Petraeus as a betrayer and pet of the White House, Giuliani essentially tried to take the furor and use it against Hillary Clinton. Take a look at the two ads (click for bigger version):

And the response by Giuliani:

It's very subtle, about as subtle as a red-hot poker in your eye socket, but what Giuliani is trying to do here is link Clinton to the offending MoveOn ad. But since Clinton had nothing to do with the ad, he must fall back on that fabled GOP pastime: Just make shit up. Case in point: The ad states that "Hillary Clinton continued the character attack on General Petraeus" as if her comments during the congressional hearing were somehow a continuation of the MoveOn ad.

First, let's get the simple questions out of the way. Did Hillary Clinton pay for the ad? No. Does Hillary Clinton's name appear anywhere on the ad? No. Well, then, surely Hillary Clinton had something, anything to do with the ad? No.

Here's Giuliani's logic: MoveOn published a brutal attack on the good general. Hillary Clinton had the gall to question the general about the conditions in Iraq during a congressional hearing on the conditions in Iraq. Hillary Clinton has not denounced the MoveOn ad. Therefore, Hillary Clinton is responsible for the ad and should take the blame for the ad. Of course, Giuliani can't just attack MoveOn because everybody already knows they're all crazies.

Thus is what we can expect from President Giuliani, whose statements are on par with the historic truisms of President Bush: Saddam had weapons of mass destruction; Al-Qaeda was linked to Iraq; and, who could forget, "I won the election."

On a side note, I gotta hand it to Rudy. He's taking a risky political strategy: Throw all support to the Iraq war and pray to holy Christ that things start looking up by the time November 2008 rolls around. If things do get better by some historical anomaly, Democrats could find themselves in trouble. If not, well I'll just quote from the great philosopher Samuel L. Jackson: "Rudy's screwed, motherfucker!"

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fuzzy English

If Bush weren't so stupid, you'd think he might be presidential material, what with that classic American brow and boyish grin. Wait, he is president. What the fuck?

Never the stranger to embarrassing himself on the world stage, Mr. Bush took great strides last Friday in demonstrating the historic and fantastic truth about American democracy: In this country, ANYBODY can be president! :D

(Note: The following story shouldonly be read while listening to George Harrison's "Isn't it a pity." Seriously.)

From Yahoo News:
SYDNEY, Australia - President Bush had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day at the Sydney Opera House.

He'd only reached the third sentence of Friday's speech to business leaders, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, when he committed his first gaffe.

"Thank you for being such a fine host for the OPEC summit," Bush said to Australian Prime Minister John Howard.Oops. That would be APEC, the annual meeting of leaders from 21 Pacific Rim nations, not OPEC, the cartel of 12 major oil producers.
Bush quickly corrected himself. "APEC summit," he said forcefully, joking that Howard had invited him to the OPEC summit next year (for the record, an impossibility, since neither Australia nor the U.S. are OPEC members).
Yikes. But that's OK, right? OPEC.. APEC. They sound the same. Easy mistake, even for somebody who has spent the past several years giving speeches. It could happen to anyone. And forgetting that your oil-dependent nation isn't actually a member of OPEC? Well, with the hunt for Osama on his mind, I'm sure it's forgivable. But...
The president's next goof went uncorrected — by him anyway. Talking about Howard's visit to Iraq last year to thank his country's soldiers serving there, Bush called them "Austrian troops."

That one was fixed for him. Though tapes of the speech clearly show Bush saying "Austrian," the official text released by the White House switched it to "Australian."
What do you think went through Bush's head? "Oh shit, I just said the Australian troops getting slaughtered in Iraq were Austrian. Ohhh, look at the pretty lights!"

Fuck, get Rove on the phone. We need another geography lesson! Just remember, Mr. President, Austria gave us Mozart, Freud, Nietzsche and Schwarzenegger. Australia gave us...Nicole Kidman. And Kylie Minogue. And Outback Steakhouse.

Ohhh, pretty lights!

Um... anyway. The end of the speech is pretty much par for the course, although pundits are reportedly still considering whether Bush fucked up his exit by accident or simply thought he might as well put a nice cherry on top of this perfectly orchestrated public catastrophe:
Then, speech done, Bush confidently headed out — the wrong way.

He strode away from the lectern on a path that would have sent him over a steep drop. Howard and others redirected the president to center stage, where there were steps leading down to the floor of the theater.
Pop quiz: What's more embarrassing than presiding over the worst security failure in American history? Answer: Having a group of world leaders show you the proper way to exit a stage.

Meanwhile, after being denied into the venue by APEC security workers worried that the president would get laughed to death, the noble journalists of the White House press corps passed the time outside — "shooting pictures and watching boats in the harbor."


Saturday, September 8, 2007

Small break

I apologize for the hiatus.. I was on vacation. New content coming very soon, so keep your pants on!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The boob tube

Things got a little out of hand during a recent Poison concert at the Douglas County Fair.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "out of hand" can only mean one thing: Lead singer Bret Michaels snorted too much coke and incited a riot when he told the audience he was converting to Mormonism. Or guitarist C.C. DeVille sustained major injuries in a tragic hairspray accident. Or maybe the band pulled off a Spinal Tap moment and got lost on the way to the stage, somewhere between the cotton candy stand and pig raffle.

Unfortunetely, the ruckus was a bit more ... like Roseburg.

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — The 80’s rock band Poison has been asked to issue an apology for a video shown during a recent performance at the Douglas County Fair that included a shot of a topless woman.

Poison is a regular performer at such events, but the entertainment company that booked them said this is the first time they’ve received a complaint.

The concern surrounded a pre-recorded video projected on a screen behind the band that contained snippets showing a semi-naked women.

‘‘I’m upset and dumbfounded that after years of booking Poison, they would think that such a video at a fair was appropriate,’’ Fran Romeo of the entertainment company TBA Global, wrote an e-mail sent to the director of the fairgrounds.

‘‘No one was aware that it was going to be show,’’ she said.

She has also asked the band to directly apologize for the incident.

The company said it has strict guidelines about appropriate conduct during shows at county and state fairs, where audiences generally include a large number of children.

I guess my question is this: What kind of morally confused fan of a heavy metal glam band gets offended by a topless woman? That's like going to a Boy George concert and complaining about cross-dressers.

This just in: Journalism officially dead

I gotta give a shout-out to the guys (and gals) at The Oregon Commentator, just because I saw it there first, but it appears that the good folks at the Eugene Weekly are having a serious crisis over their image. I'm no expert in marketing, but I would imagine that if your readership consists mostly of aging hippies, eclectic music fans and anarchists, you would avoid putting an obscure Internet reference on your cover.

I say "obscure" here with full knowledge that anybody under 30 with a browser and a modem has probably seen the "LOLcats" phenomenon, but think about the people who read the Weekly for anything other than the personals and Savage Love, then think about LOLcats, and then just mull that image over in your head for a bit. By the way, if you're unfamiliar with LOLcats, it's a very complicated concept: You take a funny picture of a cat, put words on it that make no sense, and spread it around the Internet like the Clap. Here are a few examples:

Fun times. Anyway, as for the Weekly, I have a few theories. They could have hired a really young copy editor who was either a) getting fired that day, getting out of journalism and thought he'd have a good laugh or b) retarded. They also could have just been the Eugene Weekly: Irrelevant, politically pedantic, and with a readership that is too stoned or burned out to notice when the magazine they are reading makes NO FUCKING SENSE.

Friday, August 24, 2007

How do you say "oops" in Spanish?

From the international relations desk, the staff of a five-star resort hotel in Cancun was undoubtedly shocked and perhaps a little dismayed to learn that they mistook Nobel peace prize winner Rigoberta Menchú for a transient and tried to throw her out of the hotel last week.

Menchú, who is known best for her life's work as a champion of human rights, was wearing her Mayan garb, "the traditional attire of indigenous people in central America," when the Mexican hotel workers mistook her for a bag lady. Oh, and she's also a Unesco goodwill ambassador and Guatemalan presidential candidate.

As if the situation couldn't possibly get any more hilarious, Menchú was at the hotel at the request of Mexican president Felipe Calderón, who invited her to participate in a conference on sanitation and drinking water (apparently she's also a champion of good plumbing. Yeah I don't know).

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bill Nye reveals secrets of space; panic ensues

I apologize in advance for the age of this story, but the life of a disgruntled journalist is a never-ending action-packed crusade, and I barely find the time to eat, let alone provide you with snarky criticism of the world. I'm thinking of hiring somebody to be disgruntled for me like three days a week so I can have a few hours of sweet freedom in which to see the briiiighter side of life.

Anyway, dateline Waco, Texas. Things got a little ugly last week for Bill Nye, the wonky "Science Guy" who delighted children and adults alike with his wonderous acts of heathenish black magic science on his popular TV show back in the '90s. Nye tragically broke the news to a Texas audience during a speech that the moon doesn't actually produce light, but more sort of ... reflects it. From the sun.

Nye's mistake probably came when he informed the McLennan Community College audience that the Bible is technically wrong about that whole moon-makes-light business:

The Emmy-winning scientist angered a few audience members when he criticized literal interpretation of the biblical verse Genesis 1:16, which reads: “God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”

He pointed out that the sun, the “greater light,” is but one of countless stars and that the “lesser light” is the moon, which really is not a light at all, rather a reflector of light.

Hilariously, but not surprisingly, some distressed audience members couldn't accept such a shocking revelation, and chose instead to flee into the comforts of hysteria:
“We believe in a God!” exclaimed one woman as she left the room with three young children.

At any rate, next time you're traveling through Waco, best to keep astronomy on the down-low.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Pastor: We're not discriminators; we're just principled!

In a short and ill-advised bout of optimism yesterday, I nearly forgot to post this heart-warming tidbit -- yet more evidence of the immeasurable compassion of religious extremists. Also, for the record, if you're a soldier, and you're gay, and you die valiantly in battle, then you'd better damn well make sure you aren't from Texas!


ARLINGTON, Texas - A megachurch canceled a memorial service for a Navy veteran 24 hours before it was to start because the deceased was gay.

Officials at the nondenominational High Point Church knew that Cecil Howard Sinclair was gay when they offered to host his service, said his sister, Kathleen Wright. But after his obituary listed his life partner as one of his survivors, she said, it was called off.

“It’s a slap in the face. It’s like, ’Oh, we’re sorry he died, but he’s gay so we can’t help you,”’ she said Friday.Wright said High Point offered to hold the service for Sinclair because their brother is a janitor there. Sinclair, who served in the first Gulf War, died Monday at age 46 from an infection after surgery to prepare him for a heart transplant.

The church’s pastor, the Rev. Gary Simons, said no one knew Sinclair, who was not a church member, was gay until the day before the Thursday service, when staff members putting together his video tribute saw pictures of men “engaging in clear affection, kissing and embracing.”

Simons said the church believes homosexuality is a sin, and it would have appeared to endorse that lifestyle if the service had been held there.

“We did decline to host the service — not based on hatred, not based on discrimination, but based on principle,” Simons told The Associated Press. “Had we known it on the day they first spoke about it — yes, we would have declined then. It’s not that we didn’t love the family.”

Simons said the decision had nothing to do with the obituary. He said the church offered to pay for another site for the service, made the video and provided food for more than 100 relatives and friends.

“Even though we could not condone that lifestyle, we went above and beyond for the family through many acts of love and kindness,” Simons said.

Wright called the church’s claim about the pictures “a bold-faced lie.” She said she provided numerous family pictures of Sinclair, including some with his partner, but said none showed men kissing or hugging.

And those cogs of open-mindedness just keep a-turnin' over there in the South.

The Biblethumper Branch?

It's one thing to have right-wing evangelical crazies in Congress. Inevitable, right? The disturbing thing is that they don't even try to hide it anymore.

From Crooks and Liars, probably via a bunch of other sites:

A few weeks ago, the Senate invited a Hindu leader to deliver the daily invocation. Apparently, this has sent Idaho’s Bill Sali (R) over the edge.

“We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes — and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers,” asserts Sali.

Sali says America was built on Christian principles that were derived from scripture. He also says the only way the United States has been allowed to exist in a world that is so hostile to Christian principles is through “the protective hand of God.”

“You know, the Lord can cause the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike,” says the Idaho Republican.

According to Congressman Sali, the only way the U.S. can continue to survive is under that protective hand of God. He states when a Hindu prayer is offered, “that’s a different god” and that it “creates problems for the longevity of this country.”
Well! All I've got to say is it's a damn good thing Mr. Sali's comments are completely supported by that section of the Constitution that outlines the importance of Christianity in our democracy. Right, congressman? Right?

If I may, I'd like to quote the great philosopher Samuel L. Jackson: "I've had it with these motherfuckin' zealots in this motherfuckin' Congress!"

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