Sunday, May 29, 2005

Weighing in on Varous Issues, Part 2

Look, people. Why are you complaining about the fact that I’m practically down to posting about once a week. How many times to I have to tell you that I’m a lazy sonofabitch?!

Where to begin? Ah!

THE OHIO COIN FUND SCANDAL

It’s the scandal that keeps on giving. Every day, it seems, some new tidbit of information comes up about it. And my local paper, The Blade, is right there to report it. They are quite happy to repeatedly trumpet the fact that they were the first to break the story, and now they are glorying in the limelight. Good job, guys!

(For more details on this scandal visit www.toledoblade.com.)


Personally, I don’t even bother to say anything about it—I don’t have to. If there was ever an instance where Schaadenfreude was called for, this is it (look it up!)

This whole scandal is an object lesson in what can happen when one party controls everything for too long. I just hope the rest of the country is able to learn this lesson in time for the 2006 elections!

THE “GREAT COMPROMISE”

Or, as I call it, the great sell-out. Seriously. If Priscilla Owens does not qualify as one of the “extraordinary circumstances” where a filibuster is called for, then who the hell does?!

The irrepressible Molly Ivins calls her “the biggest, baddest, worstest judicial activist Texas ever produced.” (1) When Molly Ivins says that about someone, you KNOW she’s bad. After all, this is a woman who has dealt with Texas politicians for decades.

Memo to you democrats that approved this deal: You sold us out! We were counting on you to keep your power, not give it away in the interests of keeping the Senate working. Have you forgotten that the Republicans got away with shutting down the government back in the ‘90’s? It didn’t hurt them one bit! Quite the opposite, in fact!

ON THE STEM CELL BILL
Every time I hear some right-wing blowhard talk about “the culture of life” it makes me want to vomit. For the love of Christ, these are embryos that are SCHEDULED FOR DESTRUCTION ANYWAY. Most, if not all, of them are going to be flushed down the drain eventually. Why not do some good with them?!

And huge raspberries (yes, there’s a “p” in it!) to our “president” for his shameless photo op with kids who used to be frozen embryos who were implanted in infertile couples. This bill does NOT preclude the use of unused embryos for this. It simply allows for the possibility that embryos that will be otherwise destroyed will be used for a noble purpose.

And it shouldn’t surprise anyone that several Republicans are voting for this bill. They can safely vote for it, knowing that a second-term president will veto it, and then they can go to their people and say they voted for it but they couldn’t override the presidential veto. It’s win-win for them!

Meanwhile, of course, other countries are making huge leaps in stem-cell research. We are getting left behind in this vitally important scientific field, and I can’t help but feel we’re going to pay a huge price for that in the not-too-distant future.

ON DANICA PATRICK

It seems that every story leading up to this year’s Indy 500 mentioned her name in some capacity. As of this writing, she finished fourth, the best finish by a female driver at Indy. Personally, I think it’s about time that a woman actually had a chance of winning it all at Indy. Now if they could just break into NASCAR…

You go girl!

(Of course, I still didn’t watch the race. I never do! I think racing is silly!)

ON MEMORIAL DAY

All gave some. Some gave all. (Sometimes clich├ęs work!)

Want to help our soldiers today? Go here and make a donation to the U.S.O. I did. And I will continue to do so. If there ever was a worthy cause in this day and age, this is it!


NOTES:

(1) Quote from Molly Ivins’s column in THE BLADE, Sunday, May 29, 2005

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Weighing in on Various Subjects

Yeah, I know. I haven’t posted in a while. Have you people forgotten how many times I’ve told you I’m lazy?!

To business:

On George Galloway: This man is my new hero. He basically went up in front of Norm Coleman’s Senate committee without immunity or any other kind of legal protection, and basically ripped them a new asshole. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, just Google the name “George Galloway”. (I should also point out that he did not use notes or any kind of prompting device during the entire almost-four-minute-long tirade.)

This is the kind of politician I wish we had over here. Hey, George? Interested in an American citizenship? You can’t run for president (yet), but you could sure shake things up on the political scene.

On Revenge of the Sith: One word: Awesome.

More? O.K. This movie may single-handedly save the entire SW franchise. It’s the best SW movie since The Empire Strikes Back. (And, just like that movie, the plot is basically summed up in the title.)

It is also patently obvious that this movie deserves its PG-13 rating—it is not for small children. Not unless you want them to see a man being burned to a smoky crisp…

I also appreciate the not-so-subtle jabs at the current U.S. government:

ANAKIN: “If you’re not with me, you’re my enemy!”
OBI-WAN: “Only the Sith deal in absolutes!”

Sound familiar? It should!

On The “Nuclear Option”: The showdown could happen this week. Attention all Democratic Senators: You. Must. Not. Waver. If there was ever a time when you must all stand united, it is now. If you don’t, then you deserve to be called “losers”!’

Also, big props to moveon.org for the very clever commercial they created and have been running on CNN all weekend. Go to www.moveon.org to see it.

And memo to Republicans: You DO NOT want to do this. You won’t be in charge forever. Remember that!

On Howard Dean: As I sit here on this Sunday morning watching him on Meet the Press, I wonder how the Democrats ever decided John Kerry was a better choice than Dean for their Presidential candidate.

On the pictures of Saddam: One word: STOOOPID!!!

I’m not sure who was behind the idea of splashing Saddam in his skivvies all over the media, but it was not the best of plans.

Don’t get me wrong—I don’t like Saddam, and I’m in favor of anything that makes him look silly. But now is NOT the time to do something that makes us look even worse than we already do. Most of the rest of the world already hates us. We should not be doing anything that fans the flames of that hatred. That’s just simple common sense!

Sadly, common sense isn’t.

Wait for it. You’ll get it.

There you go!

Monday, May 16, 2005

They Lied?! How DARE They!

I may have to start subscribing to Newsweek.

I figure it'll be cheap. Because after the right-wing nutjobs get done raking them over the coals, I may be their only subscriber. Accordingly, they'll want to keep their prices low to retain my subscription.

And why all the furor? Well, apparently, during an article detailing the abuses of some detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison, they quoted someone (who was quoting someone else) as saying that some of the guards would occasionally flush the detainees' copies of the Koran down the toilet. Understandably, this upset a rather large number of Muslims. And there were violent protests in Afganistan and elsewhere as a result.

Well, now, today, Newsweek has backed away from the claim, saying that the original source of this information has also backed away from it.

The important thing to remember here is that this is thirdhand information at least. I think the biggest mistake Newsweek made was even allowing this information in the magazine in the first place.

But, according to the right wingnuts, this article was the sole cause of protests in Afghanistan and other parts of the Muslim world, protests that lead to some deaths.

"Newsweek lied, people died" is one of the screams from the right wingnuts. As if a single news magazine article had the power to inspire thousands of people to riot.

Is it just possible that these protests were caused by more than just a single article in a magazine, and that maybe, just maybe, it was simply the final straw that snapped the back of a heavily overloaded camel.

I mean, there are plenty of other things for the Afghans and other Muslims to be pissed about:

* The invasion and occupation of not just one but two sovereign countries by the United states--and the subsequent installation in those countries of puppet governments that do exactly what the U.S. wants.

* The thousands of innocent civilians in those countries who have been killed during those invasions and occupations.

* The photographically documented abuse of dozens of detainees in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

* The harassment of Arabs in general as a result of the September 11th attacks.

Nah. I couldn't have been any of those things. A single article in a magazine caused the whole shitstorm.

I think what pisses me off the most about the whole situation is that the right-wingers will repeatedly trumpet this as an example of the "liberal" bias in mainstream media, just like they did with Dan Rather and the whole "memogate" scandal. Never mind the fact that Time magazine recently named George W. Bush as their person of the year, and did a cover story canonizing Ann Coulter.

"Liberal media". Yeah. Right.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Chicken Little, D.C. Style

Did ya see it? The footage of all those people running willy-nilly out of the government buildings in Washington, because a tiny Cessna aircraft had flown into restricted government airspace.

Very dramatic, wasn't it? Lots of shots of Capitol cops shouting orders and making grand gestures. People running semi-panicked. Even Nancy Reagan was evacuated by the Secret Service. And, of course, DUIbya wasn't at the White House--he was out riding his bicycle.

It sure makes for entertaining TV, doesn't it? You would've thought the world was ending. And you might think that it was a marvelous job of our government responding to a crisis. It couldn't have gone better if it was scripted.

Here's something for you to ponder, though:

This was a very small plane. You've all seen one at some point--it's that high winged monoplane that Cessna makes. You know, the one with the big tricyle wheels that don't retract.

My point is this: Exactly how much damage do they think this plane could've done by itself?

I mean, the last time someone tried doing some damage with a plane like this (remember when that plane crashed into the White House back in '94), it didn't even break a window.

And even IF this plane carried, say, machine guns, explosives, some kind of chemical weapon, or even, God forbid, a nuclear weapon, it wouldn't have made a difference whether these people were inside or outside. In fact, in the case of guns or chemical weapons, they probably would be safer on the inside.

But the point of this whole excercise is that it keeps everyone scared witless, and safely under control. Fear is an excellent motivator. It keeps us from questioning the government's actions. And I'm sure that the next time a couple of idiots in a plane make a left instead of a right, we will react in the same manner.

The government overreacted and pushed the panic button. And Americans responded to it like Pavlov's dogs.

What do you suppose might have happened if this had been an actual attack?

I shudder to think.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

I Hate This Day

(This is going to be one very unpleasant entry. Consider yourself warned.)


Why do I hate this fucking day? I'll tell you.

Because it's Mother's Day. The third year in a row now (and counting) that I don't have a mother in my life to celebrate it with.

There are other significant dates, of course: The day my parents were married. My mom's birthday. The day she died. A few others.

The difference between them and this day, however, is that I am not CONSTANTLY reminded by every fucking media source imaginable of the significance of those days.

There is no escaping it! Two of of every three TV commercials mention it. Sunday newspaper ads trumpet sales in its honor. Every other comic strip in the Sunday funnies mentions it.

And, of course, everyone takes their mother out to dinner on it. Which is why I avoid any public place like the plague, on this day more than any other.

I realize that the pain may not always be this bad. It's gotten far easier to cope with over the past three years than it was the first year. In time, it may cease to be so painful and I'll remember the good without the bad.

And, of course, it helps to rant about it to you the three readers of this my humble blog. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. It helped.

I apologize if this entry upset you. But perhaps someday, somehow, someone else who is in the same angry, sad, pissed-off-at-the-whole-world place that I am today will stumble across this entry and realize that they are not alone in this world.

To them I say this:

Take heart, my brother (or sister!). The pain can't last forever. And you'll see her again someday, in a better place.

Take care.

Peace out.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Big Deal

So today is Cinco de Mayo. So what?

If you look back through the archives back to July, You'll see that in the journals I was keeping before I started this blog, I wondered why we make such a fuss in this country over Cinco de Mayo. I called it an excuse just to get smashed and party. Much like most other holidays in this country.

From what I understand, the holiday commemorates the Mexican army's victory over the French.

Wow. A holiday to celebrate beating the French.

That's like a holiday celebrating the lions defeating the Christians.

That's like a holiday celebrating the New England Patriots beating the local Boston Pop Warner team.

That's like a holiday celebrating the Superfriends defeating the Legion of Doom.

My point is this: Defeating the French army is no significant military feat. And if there was a holiday to celebrate every time the French army was defeated, we'd all have a LOT of days off!

So it's really pointless to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Especially in this country.

If you want to go out and party, just do it! But don't pretend you're doing it in honor of some foreign country's holiday!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

An Anniversary, of Sorts

I just realized that Sunday was May 1st.

This date has a significance greater than simply the fact that it's May Day.

Y'see, one year ago, on May 1st, I wrote the first entry in my semi-daily journal, which, almost three short months later, would become this my humble blog.

Yes folks, it's true: I have been transcribing my thoughts and ramblings into electronic format for more than a year now.

Thank you. Please hold the applause. Just give me money.

And on this somewhat momentous occasion I want to look back over a few significant events that happened over the course of the last year (this is by no means a complete or comprehensive list):

* In May 2004, James Franklin McAfee, my cousin Shawn's third child, entered this world.

* In June 2004, the Detroit Pistons stunned L.A. (and the world) by using a combination of great team play and strong defense to defeat the Lakers in the championship series 4 games to 1.

* In July 2004, the Democrats selected the most boring man in the world as their candidate for president. Three people died of boredom during his acceptance speech. Several others are hospitalized.

* In August 2004, the Republicans re-nominated the worst president in history. Throughout the convention, the name Osama Bin Laden is never mentioned.

* In September 2004, the third anniversary of the worst attack ever on American soil passed. Little mention of it was made, other than in political attack ads.

* In October 2004, the Boston Red Sox ended an 86 year World Series drought. Thousands of elderly Bostonians died shortly thereafter, most of them after saying something along the lines of "that's all I was waiting for."

* In November 2004, the World's Greatest College Football Team, the Ohio State Buckeyes, beat the ever-loving crap out of that team from Michigan. Oh yeah, and some guy got re-elected.

* In December 2004, the aforementioned buckeyes travelled to San Antonio and opened a Texas-sized can of whoop-ass on Oklahoma State. Maurice who?

* In January 2005, the third anniversary of my mother's death passed. I will always miss her.

* In February 2005, The New England patriots won the Super Bowl. Why the hell couldn't Bill Belichick coach this well when he coached the Browns?! Oh, and that other winter sport, hockey, became the first professional sport to lose an entire season due to a labor dispute.

* In March 2005, Air America Radio celebrated one year on the air, now with over 50 stations. Right-wingers start to sweat a little. It's getting harder for them to laugh it off.

* In April 2005, I filed my taxes after waiting until the last possible minute. I find out I could have had a fairly good-sized refund much earlier, if I'd done my taxes earlier. D'oh!

* In May 2005, I realize I've been doing this for a year. I congratulate myself.

Wow. A lot can happen in a year, huh?

Monday, May 02, 2005

I Have a Problem

Want to know what it is? Too bad! I'm going to tell you anyway!

My problem is this: I read too much. There. I've said it.

I know. "How", you are asking, "can this possibly be a bad thing?"

Well, Sparky, I'm glad you asked.

I am a voracious reader. I would guess that in the 35+ years I've been walking this earth, I've probably read close to a thousand books, written by everyone from Arthur C. Clarke to Zane Grey. I take advantage of every opportunity I can to read. Usually I read fiction, but I also read the occasional work of non-fiction.

I know. "WHEN WILL HE GET TO THE POINT?!"

The point is this. Lately, more and more books are being made into movies. Hollyweird, it would seem, is lately incapable of coming up with an original idea Don't believe me? Check the roster of summer movies coming out this summer, and see how many of them are based on old TV shows.

So what's so bad about this trend? Well, for one thing, there are a host of problems involved with cramming a 500+ page book into a two hour movie. The loss of detail. The loss of complex characters. Etc.

But by far the biggest problem of movie adaptations of books is often the failure of the movie to even remotely resemble the plot of the book in any way.

You may recall in Yesterday's post that I lamented the failure of T.H.H.G.G. movie to stay faithful to the book. But, as bad as it was, it was not as bad as some of the other crap that has come out of Hollyweird (Coughs Sahara).

Currently, I am reading H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, mostly because I enjoy a good book but also partially because of the movie of the same name that is due to be released this summer. I know this is probably not a good idea, but I just can't help myself. And from what I've seen of the trailers, I'm pretty sure about the only thing this new movie and the book will have in common is the title.

Note to Steven Spielberg: I realize it's hard to adapt a book that was written over a century ago, but couldya at least try?

Maybe I'm wrong. Who knows? Time will tell.

Meanwhile, I'll keep reading. I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Hitchhiker's Guide, Part 2

So. I went to see The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy today.

I should've saved my money.

Don't get me wrong. I would really recommend this movie to anyone. Who hasn't read any of the books from the series.

For anyone who has read one or more of the books, let me give you this advice: Skip it!

Let me preface any further comments by saying that it's been almost five years since the last time I read THGTTG and the details are kind of foggy in my mind. But I remember most of it.

As the movie begins, it remains pretty faithful to the book--for about the first half-hour. At that point, it begins to go "off book",as it were.

But then it goes crazy. Without giving away too much of the plot, let me say that in none of the 5 books of the "trilogy" do our heroes ever go to the planet Vogsphere, or visit the home of the worshippers of The Great Green Arkleseizure (read the book!) or end up trapped on Earth (Mark II) in Arthur Dent's rebuilt house.

Let me just say that after seeing this movie, I have to believe that Douglas Adams is spinning in his grave.

Yes, he died about 3 years ago. (pause here to weep a single tear)

And yes, a lot of the lines from the book are in the movie, but this does not mean that it's a faithful adapation.

Why? I'll give you an example. I have no problem with the producers casting a black actor in the part of Ford Prefect (again, read the book!), but couldn't you at LEAST have cast a British actor, or at least trained him to speak with a British accent?!

All in all, I have to say that the funniest part of seeing this movie came while I was standing in line to buy my popcorn. I saw a man buying a ticket to the movie, and he had a cast on his hand--he had at least a broken thumb. Get it? He could not stick out his thumb!

The logo for the movie is a hand with an extended thumb.

What. Am I talking to a wall here?!

You people have no appreciation of irony!