Thursday, March 31, 2005

It's All Over But the Sueing

So. Terri Schiavo has died.

Perhaps I should correct that. Terri Schiavo died 15 years ago. It just took until today for her body to stop functioning.

Her sad, sad case has been a rallying point for the right-to-life crowd, a political gold mine for the Republicans, and hell-on-earth for her husband and her parents, as thousands of people seeking personal and political gain worked to turn their very private family tragedy into a public spectacle the likes of which has never been equalled.

In fact, this case has so dominated the public interest that all I had to say to one of my co-workers in the break room was, "She's dead", and this co-worker immediately knew exactly what I was talking about.

What a sad, sad commentary on the state of our society.

But I have to believe this whole sorry mess is far from over. Here is what I predict will happen over the course of the next few weeks/months:

* Republican congressmen and senators running for re-election next year will plaster Terri Schiavo's picture all over their campaign literature. Pro-life groups will use her image to raise millions of dollars in order to further implement their radical agenda. The name "Terri Schiavo" will be part of every speech that comes from the lips of every Republican from now until 2009, and possibly beyond.

* The "liberal" media will continue to keep heaping praise on the "brave" actions taken by DUIbya (tm) and Congress to save this poor woman's life, and will continue to villify her husband.

* An autopsy performed on Terri Schiavo will confirm the extent of her brain damage and the fact that she had NO chance of recovery. This fact will be quietly ignored.

* Terri Schiavo's parents will quickly file a wrongful death lawsuit against Michael Schiavo, seeking whatever money may be left over from the malpractice settlement that has been paying for her care--regardless of the fact that that money is probably long gone.

* Michael Schiavo will then countersue Terri Schiavo's parents, the pro-life protestors, and possibly Florida governor Jeb Bush for infliction of emotional distress.

OK, so those last two may not happen, but I wouldn't bet against it.

Meanwhile, now people may finally talk about something else around the proverbial water cooler.

But I doubt it.

Farewell, Terri. Go with God.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Breakfast Sandwich from Hell

Holy Crap!

Burger King has introduced a new breakfast sandwich called "The Enormous Omelet Sandwich".

This sucker has:

two eggs
three strips of bacon
two slices of melted cheese

And, of course, it's all on a bun.

It also has, apparently, 730 calories and 47 grams of fat.

That's not a typo--730 calories and 47 grams of fat!!!

By comparison, McDonalds' Egg McMuffin has 290 calories and 12 grams of fat. For those of you too lazy to do the math, that means one of these sandwiches is equal to eating three Egg McMuffins.

Holy shit! Holy, holy, HOLY shit!!!

I'm curious as to exactly who BK is targeting with this sandwich. I mean, eating one of these sandwiches is equal to eating about three full-sized breakfasts. Imagine if you ate one of these honkers every day. After about a month, you'd probably be the size of an M1 tank.

This should raise concern in everyone's mind. I mean, every day in this country roughly 2000 people die from heart disease. And a substantial number of those deaths result from being overweight.

So the last thing this country needs is another way to get fat!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

The American Red Cross

Yesterday, I donated a pint of blood.

Yesterday was Good Friday.

Every Good Friday for the last six years, I have donated a pint of blood.

The reason I do this is simple: IF Jesus Christ, on this day, gave his LIFE to redeem all of mankind's sins, then the LEAST I can do on this day is to make sure that I donate a pint of my blood to try to repay that debt.

I urge every one of the three people reading this blog to call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE and arrange an appointment with the American Red Cross to donate a pint of blood. It usually takes less than an hour. It doesn't hurt (much!) It gives you a good feeling. And that single pint of blood you donate can save up to 3 lives.

Roughly 95% of the population of this country either will receive transfused blood at some point in their lives, or they have a family member who will receive it (Both my mother and father have received blood.) And yet, less than 5% of the population of this country actually donates blood. So to say every drop counts is somewhat of an understatement.

Save a life today. Donate blood.

Thank you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Scopes Monkey Trial, Redux

A particular news item caught my eye today. It seems that certain IMAX cinemas in Texas, Georgia and the Carolinas are refusing to show a new documentary movie called "Volcanoes of the Deep Sea". What, you may ask, is the reason for this?

Is it filled with foul language? No. Does it contain graphic violence? No. Does it have full frontal nudity? I doubt it.

But wouldn't that be cool? IMAX and full frontal nudity! Imagine seeing Pamela Anderson's "volcanoes" in full IMAX size...

But I digress. No, the reason this film will not be seen in certain southern cities is that it DARES to mention the Theory of Evolution.

That's right. It makes some form of connection between Deep Sea Volcanoes and their effect on DNA. It suggests that these volcanoes may have had something to do with the formation of life on earth.

I know. You can't believe it. "How could this possibly offend anybody?", I hear you cry.

You have to remember, though, that this is the same area of the country that where less than 80 years ago there was a law in place that forbid the teaching of the Theory of Evolution, or any other theory that ran counter to the teachings of The Bible. A man was actually put in jail for teaching the Theory of Evolution. The infamous "Scopes Monkey Trial" occured in in the tiny town of Dayton in east Tennessee, a short trip from Georgia and both Carolinas. In that trial, which would inspire a well-known play that in turn inspired no less than 3 movies, a single man was put on trial for daring to try to teach a scientifically validated theory that happened to run counter to the laws of the time. It was a one of many sad moments in the history of education in this country.

Of course, you should also remember that this is also the same area of the country where, less than a half-century ago, there were laws in place that made it illegal for Whites and Blacks to sit at the same lunch counter, attend the same schools, use the same drinking fountains, etc. Laws, mind you, that were often enforced at gunpoint.

My point to all this is that ignorance is a highly contagious disease that can only be controlled by education. And now, yet another source of that education has been cut off.

For details on the story try this link:

Monday, March 21, 2005

The Sad Case of Terry Schiavo

While I realize I already weighed in on this issue in yesterday's post, the actions taken by congress yesterday compel me to say a bit more on the subject.

I already made my opinion clear: Let the poor woman die! But let me defend that.

The three people who have read just about any entry on this my humble blog probably have realized that my political leanings tend to be a little bit toward the left (in the same way it can be said that the Titanic took on a little water), so it should come as no big shock to anyone that I feel the way I do about this case.

An Aside: I want to make it clear that should the unthinkable happen and I end up in a state similar to Terry Schiavo, where I am no longer able to feed myself, dress myself, bathe myself, or do anything on my own other than breathe, I not only encourage but demand that my family not keep me alive in such a state.

But getting back to the point: This case is NOT about Terry Schiavo--it is about the Republicans shamelessly pandering to their base. 11+ years of Republicans being in control of congress, and 5+ years of DUIbya (tm) sitting in the White House have left our country so fucked up that the Republicans stand a good chance of losing control of one or both houses of congress next year.

So they are appealing to the one group that can keep them in the majority--the pro-lifers. These are people who wouldn't dream of voting Republican if not for this issue. These are people like one of my co-workers, who said she wouldn't vote for John Kerry because she didn't want to see four more years of abortions happening. Of course, I guarantee that abortion will still be legal in 2008--because without it as an issue, all those "family values" voters will wake up and realize how anti-"family values" some of the legislation coming from the Republican Congress really is.

Republicans like abortion as an issue because it keeps all the "red staters" firmly on their side. It allows them to continue to press their agenda. It allows them to continue to work to destroy Social Security. It allows them to continue to work to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. It allows them to continue to work to favor business at the expense of people. And as long as they have the knee-jerk votes of the pro-lifers, they will continue to do exactly what they are doing.

So again I say it: this case is NOT about Terry Schiavo. It's about the Republicans staying in power. And they are using this poor woman as a pawn in their little game.

Of course, no mention is being made in the "liberal" media about the fact that in 1999, then Texas Governor George W. Bush signed into law a bill that allowed Hospitals in Texas to remove from life support any patient whose family could no longer afford the cost of their care and who were diagnosed as likely to never recover. DUIbya (tm) cut short a campaign trip to sign this bill into Texas law. Much in the same way he cut short his vacation (yes, it's true--he actually took time off from his vacation!) to sign this new legislation in favor of keeping Terry Schiavo alive into law!

It's too bad that hypocrisy isn't fatal.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

I Hardly Know Where to Begin!

So many targets, so little time. Let's start with the obvious first:

On Terry Schiavo:

5 words: Let the poor woman die! Face it: her problems started because she was anorexic and obviously had image problems. Now, her face has been plastered all over the media everywhere looking horrible. I'm sure that's exactly what she never wanted to happen! And now, Republicans in congress are all set to intervene, in another example of their shameless pandering to their base. For God's sake, let her die with what little dignity she has left!

On ANWR Drilling:

3 Words: Really bad idea. Even the best case estimates have determined that there is, at most, a 6 month's supply of oil there, and that it would take 10 years to completely extract it.

Do the math: That means it will take ten years to extract a supply of oil that will be gone in six months. Think about it: would you spend ten days collecting firewood when you knew it would all be burned up in 6 hours? No. What you would do is invest in a gas-powered fireplace. In other words, if congress would get out of the carmakers' lobbyists' pockets and raise the fuel efficiency standard for all cars made in the U.S., we could save 10 times the amount of oil that may or may not be available in ANWR every year!

On Baseball and Steroids:

Doesn't Congress have more important things to worry about? Apparently not!

On Catholic Condemnation of The DaVinci Code:

Memo to the Catholic Church: Uh, guys? The book has been out for almost two years now. They're already making a movie out of it. I think the time to weigh in on the subject has already passed!

On the NCAA Basketball Tournament:

I didn't put in on the office pool this year. The one year that I did, I think I had Duke picked to go all the way, and that was the year they were eliminated in the second round. Since then, I've saved my money.

I should point out, though, that if Illinois manages to go all the way and win the National title, then there will be only one team that managed to beat them this year:


Go Illini!

By the way: Does anyone else besides me find it ironic that March is National Problem Gambling Awareness month? March, when the one event that probably inspires more gambling than any other event takes place!

That's all for now.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Support Our Troops--By Doing More Than Buying a Ribbon Magnet!

This morning on the news, I heard a news story that made me sad. It was about the financial troubles being experiences by the soldiers and family members of the national guard and reserve.

Currently, 40% of the troops deployed in Iraq are from the National Guard or Reserve. These are men and women many of whom are making less than half of what they earned in their civilian jobs. And, with the current economy tight, few employers are willing and/or able to make up the salary differences for their called-up employees.

The bottom line is that this war is affecting everybody, and is doing the most harm to the people who can least afford it. Geez, that theme has been played so many times it's starting to sound like a broken record.

I think about this every time I see a big, gas-hogging SUV with one of those ridiculous "support our troops" magnetized yellow ribbons on the back. Or every time I see one of said ribbons, period. I'm thinking that these people probably think they're being patriotic because they spent ten bucks at Wal-Mart to buy a ridiculous piece of plastic that shows how much they love their country. They wouldn't know what patriotism was if it smacked them across the face.

(Which, coincidentally, is what I sometimes feel like doing when I see one of these pseudo-patriots.)

I can't help but wonder how many of these suburban SUV warriors have sent their kids to the army recruiting office to sign them up for service. Or how many of them are veterans themselves.

I freely admit I am not a veteran. Nor, at my current age and physical condition, am I likely to become one. But I appreciate the sacrifice our soldiers, sailors, and marines are making for their country, and the tremendous burden it is placing on them and their families

An aside: If it ever gets to the point where the army need me to join up, you'd better start learning to speak Chinese!

So I have done my small part to help. Today I made a donation to the U.S.O. And I encourage anyone reading this to do likewise ( It takes all of 30 seconds to complete the online donation form. Or you can also donate to U.S.A. Cares ( Or any number of other worthy organizations that help provide aid and comfort to our servicemen and their families.

That is a much better way of showing your support for our troops than simply slapping a tacky magnetic ribbon on the back of your car.

I also repeat that it is my intention to donate any money I receive from clicks on my Google Adsense ads to my local church, which has its own outreach program for families of members in the military deployed overseas.

Support our troops--by actually supporting them!

Monday, March 14, 2005

My Sad, Sad Life

Saturday night I attended my sister's surprise 40th birthday party.

It was organized by her husband, and boy was she surprised (and probably slightly homicidal--it's a good thing there were lots of people there or there might have been violence!)

Anyway, it was mostly a bunch of people I didn't know standing around eating, drinking, and talking. Nonstop. For four hours. And, since I had to drive home afterwards, my drinking was limited to a few beers. I have never been so bored in my life.

But that's not the worst part.

No, the worst part is that it was the most social interaction I've had in weeks.

I have no life.


Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Ongoing War on Consumer Safety, Part 2

So. Congress is all set to pass the most sweeping bankruptcy "reform" bill in history. It is a bill written by and for the big credit card companies. It will make it harder for poor, debt-ridden consumers to dissolve their debts through bankruptcy by forcing them into long repayment plans and throwing up more hurdles in the way of filing for bankruptcy. It will block people from seeking bankruptcy relief if they are above a certain income level. It will be force people into higher payments under chapter 13 plans. And it will place several legal hurdles in the way of filing for bankruptcy that will make it nearly impossible for already financially strapped consumers.

In short, the people who need the most help will receive the least help. Pretty much par for the course under the current administration. I can't say I'm the least bit surprised by this.

And don't doubt for one second that the credit card companies are responsible for this bill. They are always happy to extend vast amounts of credit to everyone, and then they act surprised when people run into financial trouble because of it.

Now don't get me wrong. I can't say I have much sympathy for people with high credit card debt. They are usually the architects of their own downfall. They pretty much deserve to be broke.

But the people who are really going to suffer under this bill are the people who have high debt through no fault of their own. People who suffered some expensive medical crisis, for example. Or perhaps people who made bad financial decisions at some point, such as co-signing a loan for someone.

Of course, one group that won't be hurt by this bill are the people who have legal judgments against them that are the result of anti-abortion protest activities. They can continue to seek bankruptcy protection to keep from paying those expenses. This is an amendment that has killed this bill in the past, but the Republicans finally had enough votes to kill the amendment. Can you say "shameless pandering to the base"?

Once again, big business gets exactly what it wants, from the government it paid for.

I just want to say something to all you red-state voters out there:


Thank you.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Fight Over the Minimum Wage

So. The Senate shoots down not one, but two proposed increases in the Federal minimum wage. First Teddy Kennedy's proposed $2.10 increase, then the Republican's proposed $1.10 increase. Frankly, I'm not surprised by either vote. The Republicans would NEVER agree to give more money to poor people, and the Democrats were angered by too many "poison pills" that the Republican proposal was saddled with.

Frankly, I'm not sure who to be angry at. On the one hand, Republicans lately are always on the side of business, usually at the expense of employees. But the Democrats seem less interested in actually getting an increase in the minimum wage and more about having it as a campaign issue in '06.

Let's think about the minimum wage for a moment. At the current rate of $5.15 an hour (where it has been since 1996), based on 52 40-hour work weeks, it works out to gross earnings of about $10,700 a year, give or take. Let me try to put that number in perspective:

$10,700 is less than most cars cost today.

$10,700 is about $300 less than Alex Rodriguez makes in one hour.(1)

$10,700 is about $5,000 less than Rush Limbaugh makes in one hour.(2) Rush, by the way, has repeatedly claimed that the majority of Minimum Wage Earners are teenagers working their first jobs. This is a statistic that he pulled right out of his ass--something he seems to do a LOT. In actuality, 72% of M.W.E.'s are adults, and more than half are women.(3)

$10,700 is about how much the War in Iraq costs the U.S. Government every ten seconds!(4)

(Just think about that for a minute: Every ten seconds, the government spends the entire annual wages of a full-time M.W.E. in Iraq. That's 8,640 people every day.)

Of course, none of these figures take into account the fact that by the time you pay taxes and other deductions, take-home pay is about two-thirds of that $10,700.

And let's not forget the most important comparison of all: $10,700 is roughly $6,700 below the official federal poverty line for a family of four.(5)

If you boil all this down, you realize that $10,700 is not a lot of money. It's very hard to live on (I know--I've tried), and there is no way to support a family on it in today's day and age.

The usual argument against raising minimum wage is that it will hurt businesses. Bullshit. There is one basic economic rule that the people who make this argument fail to remember: If people have more money, they will buy more stuff. Businesses will do more business. They will make more money. They can afford to pay their employees even more. Everybody wins.

It's time for the politicians to realize this. I doubt this will ever happen. After all, the average United States Senator makes 10 times more annually than someone on minimum wage. They are so out of touch they wouldn't know what poverty was if it jumped up and bit them on the ass.

Maybe if we forced the Senators and Congressmen to live on minimum wage...

I'm just sayin'!

(1) Figure from

(2) Ibid.

(3) Figure from Economic Policy Institute

(4) Figure from

(5) Federal Poverty Standard for a Family of Four

Yeah, I know. I'm actually citing my sources. I'm trying to add some small degree of legitimacy to this enterprise. If you have a problem with any of those statistics, take it up with the people who made those sites!

Monday, March 07, 2005


God, I feel awful.

This may be my shortest posting to date. I feel like shit. And, judging by what I saw in my mirror this morning, I look like it, too.

Sorry kids. I can't be witty, insightful, or philosophical today. Right now I'm just trying to concentrate on not puking.

Like I said. Bleh.

More tomorrow--if I live.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Yes folks. Another sad milestone has been reached in the war in Iraq. Over 1,500 American soldiers, sailors, and marines have been killed since combat operations began nearly two years ago.

Let's think about that for a moment, shall we?

1,500 troops. I have tried to put that number in perspective. Here's what I've come up with:

1,500 is ten times more than the people that work in my office. It's roughly one-third of all the employees who work for my county. It's about half of the number of people who were killed in the attacks on September 11th, 2001. It's almost equal to the entire population of my mother's hometown. It's more than the entire student body of most schools.

Scary, isn't it? Take a moment to think about what those comparisons mean. Imagine if the entire staff in my office (including me) had been replaced 10 times because everyone had died. Imagine if one-third of all the employees in a fairly large county suddenly died. Imagine if, in addition to the targets that were hit on September 11th, terrorist planes had also hit the Sears Tower in Chicago, the TransAmerica building in San Francisco, and the Empire State building in New York. Imagine an entire small town in rural America losing more than 80% of it's population. Imagine entire schools sitting empty because there were no students to fill them. Like I said--scary.

I realize that 1,500 dead in two years is a small number compared to the casualties in 2 years of, say, World War II. The big difference is that those soldiers died knowing they were fighting a terrible evil, one that threatened to conquer and enslave the entire world. They were fighting against an evil madman who had the ability to realize his insane desire for conquest through military might. They were NOT fighting in some third world shithole run by a tinpot dictator who posed no threat whatsoever to the rest of the world, but who happened to be sitting on the world's second largest reserves of oil.

THAT, my friends, is the real reason for this war. Anyone else who tries to tell you otherwise is either lying or fooling themselves, or, more than likely, both.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Moveon is at it Again!

God bless those good folks at They've created a new contest.

You may or may not recall that during last year's presidential campaign, they created a contest called "Bush in 30 Seconds". You can read all about it here:

See the Winning ad, "Child's Pay" here:

(Sorry about having to copy and paste the links, folks. I'm still working on it.)

The aforementioned "Child's Pay" ad garnered much media attention when CBS refused to air it during the 2004 Super Bowl, despite the fact that Moveon had come up with the required money to pay for it.

An aside: Think about the logic behind that:
Simple, effective, highly creative ad about the dangers of the growing budget deficit = BAD
Ads about "Erections lasting longer than four hours" requiring immediate medical attention = GOOD

At any rate, they now have a new contest out called "Bush in 30 years" (

You can go to the link if you want, but the long and short of it is that entrants must create a "flash" animation exposing the republican scam to "fix" (a.k.a. "destroy") Social Security. The entries should be short, to the point, and backed up by facts.

So, the call to arms is out. OK all you politi-flash makers out there: Time to step up! This notice has also been posted on h0rk's website ( And to the three people reading this blog, I'd love to hear your ideas--submit them as comments. I can't hope to make the flash animations myself (I'm not that much of a techno-geek--I leave that to the professionals) but I will pass along your suggestions, duly accredited, if you wish, to others I know.

Come on, folks. Let's show DUIbya (tm) and all his pals in Congress and on Wall Street that we don't want them destroying Social Security just to make themselves richer.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Another Bombing in Iraq

Sigh. Another suicide bombing in Iraq. This one was targeted specifically at Iraqi police and national guard recruits awaiting their medical exams. And with over 100 killed and over 100 injured, it ranks as one of the deadliest bombings to date.

An aside: With the desperate need for new Iraqi national guard troops, I'm guessing those medical exams aren't all that thorough. I'm betting that if you can walk and breathe, you're in!

But getting back to the point, let's take a look at this latest bombing. As I said, it was targeted specifically at recruits for the new Iraqi national guard and police force. Any guesses as to why?

Simple. The insurgents are sending a clear message to their fellow citizens: If you join the new military or police force in Iraq, you will be targeted for death.

Imagine if you will this situation: You walk into a U.S. Army recruiting office. You sign up. You go to take your medical examination. As you are walking into the doctor's office, a bomb explodes on the street nearby. You are badly injured. And many of the people around you are killed, and many others are also badly hurt. Now imagine how eager you would be to stay in the Army if you new the bombing was aimed at you because you wanted to join up.

Yeah. I didn't think so.