Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Year in Review, Part 2

So. Here we are with 2 days left in the year. I'd like to break down the significant events of the year, month-by-month. Please note that I have difficulty remembering things that happened 5 minutes ago, let alone 12 months ago, so there may be some lapses.

So without further ado:


Ohio State beats the snot out of Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. Many sports commentators and others, including myself, predict that Ohio State will be playing there again next year, this time for all the marbles. Later events prove them correct.


My nephew, Grant, is born. No other important events happen this month. Period.


The third anniversary of the unnecessary and dangerous invasion of Iraq comes and goes. American Soldiers continue to be killed and maimed for no good reason.


Ohio institutes a law wherein all applicants for government jobs or contracts must fill out a form containing six yes or no questions. The questions ask them whether or not they belong to terrorist organizations, or have ever given material or financial support to known terrorist organizations. Answering yes to any one of the six questions means you not only will not get the job, but you will be reported to the Department of Homeland Security.

No, it's not a bad April Fool's joke. It just sounds like it is.


One of the Best shows on television, The West Wing, signs off after seven seasons. I am inconsolable for several days afterwards.


June 6th, 2006, comes and goes. Despite the significance of the date (6-6-06), the world does not come to an end. Also, both the Detroit Red Wings and Pistons are eliminated from the playoffs, leaving Detroit's best hope for a championship in the hands of the Tigers. Strangely enough, this year that's not as funny as it sounds.


George W. Bush issues the first veto in the more than five years of his presidency. He vetoes a vote by congress to give federal funding for stem cell research. Once again, this president caves into the lunatic fringe.


Democrat Joe Lieberman loses his Senate primary race. He immediately files to run as an Independent. Proving that even Democrats can be jerks when they want to.


The Toledo Mud Hens repeat as Governor's Cup Champions. Also, Ohio State begins its run towards the National Championship, including a sound thrashing of the Texas Longhorns--in Texas.


The Detroit Tigers fall to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. They first got there, though, by thrashing both the Yankees and the Oakland A's. Maybe next year...


The Republicans finally receive a much-deserved and long overdue electoral beating, losing both houses of congress and several state elections, including nearly every elected office in Ohio. Unfortunately, my well-liked Republican boss also lost his re-election bid, thus ruining an otherwise perfect election for me.

In addition, Ohio State beats Michigan and earns a spot in the National Championship game in January. Somewhere Woody Hayes is smiling.


Another Chrismas comes--and goes. Our family celebrates. Some of us are here. Some are not. Some are long gone. But family is the most important thing in our lives, and we all should NEVER forget that.

Have a safe and happy new year, everyone!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Year in Review, Part 1

So, here we are with less than 4 days left in the year, and what a momentous year it has been. In fact, this year has been so momentous, I have to split it into two entries to get it all in. So, in this first entry, I will list my favorite parts of the year. In part 2, hopefully posted tomorrow, will contain a month-by-month review as best I can recollect it.

So, without further ado:

My nephew, Grant Thomas Mikesell, was born on Feb 28th!

My sister announcing that a new brother or sister will be joining him next year!

Our much-beloved Republican boss (how often can you use the words "much-beloved" and "Republican" in the same sentence?) was swept out of office in the anti-Republican fervor that swept the city, state, and coutry.

Watching our local newspaper, which both I and my dad have worked for, treat its unionized workers like shit while pretending to stand up for the common man.

BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR (That I have seen)
This was a tough choice. I didn't see many movies this year, but I have to go with:
X-Men 3: The Last Stand
I'm sorry, but even if it was a summer popcorn flick, there was some genuinely good writing behind it. And it raises some important questions. For example, is there a difference between being "different" and being "exceptional"?

Flags of our Fathers
If you didn't already see this, go see it NOW!

By the way, I don't make decisions on movies I haven't seen yet. So, keeping that in mind:

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead man's chest
I admit it: I liked the first one, and I'm sorry I never got around to seeing this one. And not just because I think Keira Knightley is HAWT! (Which she is!)

I've loved just about everything Pixar has put out since Toy Story.

Shut up and Sing
I'm no fan of country music (an oxymoron, in my opinion), but any band of hot chicks with a lead singer that can dis Bush in public, endure the wrath of former fans because of it, and then record a big "Fuck You" song to those former fans ("I'm not Ready to Make Nice") on their follow-up album, is a band that deserves my attention.

The Good Shepherd
Even my dad wants to see this one, and he's pretty well turned off by any movie that isn't about Japan or WW2.

Thank You for Smoking
This may be the best non-issue-movie issue movie I've seen this year (and the funniest!)

A Prairie Home Companion
I have always liked the show, and watching the Robert Altman treatment of it was quite a show.

An aside: I know both of the previous movies came out this year, but neither of them made it to Toledo, at least not for any length of time.

And, keeping in mind that I only review movies I've seen:

Superman Returns
I know I'll get some flak for this one, but I just didn't like it!
I don't think the movie was necessarily bad, but it's just that it had very little difference from the first one. And let's face it: Viewed from today's lens, the first one was pretty lame. Consider:

Subject of first movie: Superman comes to Earth
Subject of latest movie: Superman comes to Earth
Villian of first movie: Lex Luthor
Villian of latest movie: Lex Luthor
Villain's weapon of choice in first movie: Kryptonite
Villain's weapon of choice in latest movie: Kryptonite
Hero's introduction in first movie: Saves Lois Lane
Hero's introduction in latest movie: Saves Lois Lane
Tender movie moment of first movie: Flying with Lois Lane
Tender movie moment of latest Movie: Flying with Lois Lane
"Villain neutralizes hero with" of first movie: Kryptonite
"Villain neutralizes hero with" of latest movie: Kryptonite
"Hero saved by" in first movie: Mortal
"Hero saved by" in latest movie: Mortals (only a slight difference)
Villain undone by in first movie: A Woman
Villain undone by in latest movie: A Woman
Starting to sense a trend here?!

No Runner-up in this category (I didn't see enough movies!)

Miami Vice

I don't care what the reviews said: I have two words for you: Colin. Farrell.

Too many to list here.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
This show, created by the creators of The West Wing, and aimed at fans of same, captured my appeal from the first show, and while it wavered over the early season, it went right back with the Christmas episode. I hope this show is around for the long haul.

Tie: Heroes and Jericho
Heroes is a sort of cross between X-Men and The X-Files and it appeals to me. And Jericho is that sort of "this could really happen here tomorrow" show that makes me hope that maybe this country might finally wake up and take some interest in finding out what to do should the worst happen. If you wonder what I'm talking about, go back two posts.

Ohio State 42. Michigan 39
'Nuff said

The Mud Hens win the Governor's Cup for the second year in a Row

The Tiger's lose the World Series
So close, and yet so far...

Watching Lloyd Landis's drug-related meltdown
As if cycling needed another drug scandal...

Well, that's all I've got for now. More in the next post.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Busy busy busy!

So I haven't posted in a while. It's been a busy few weeks for me.

Why? Well, I'm glad you asked, Chester!

Y'see, I work in a local government office. My Boss is a Republican. And if you held major elected office in Ohio, and you had an "R" behind your name on the ballot in November, you were pretty much guaranteed a loss in the election.

Republicans who held major elected office in Ohio faced a major case of "let's throw the bums out" disease this election season, as did Republicans in most other states this year. And for the most part, they deserved it.

But in a few cases, they didn't. My boss was one of those. And he is one of the few Republicans I like.

So, as a union steward, and as a representative of a Union that supported him, I've been working hard to make sure that his people, who were all deservedly appointed by him, keep the jobs they deserve.

I can't do much, but I can ensure that our office keeps functioning in the extraordinarily efficient way that it has continued to do since my boss got his job more than a decade ago.

And if that angers a few local Democrats, so be it. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

"What's a Mushroom Cloud?"

You may wonder why the title is in quotes. Well, Chester, I'll tell you.

Y'see, I was discussing the new CBS series Jericho with a few of my co-workers a few days ago. I was explaining the premise of the show, how residents of a small town in Mid-Kansas suddenly one day see a mushroom cloud off to the far west of their town. In the middle of this, one of them stopped me and said, "What's a mushroom cloud?"

I was speechless.

At first, I thought she was kidding me. It took a few moments to realize this was a serious question. When I did, my next reaction was stunned disbelief.

(Please, please, PLEASE tell me that none of the three people reading this need me to explain to them what a M.C. is!)

So after a few moments of dazed silence, I politely explained. She seemed satisfied.

I headed back to my desk. I began to rationalize it. After all, this particular co-worker is only in her early 20's. She was in elementary school when the Cold War ended. She never grew up under the sword of a potential Nuclear attack. Heck, I hardly think about it myself.

So I asked my supervisor, a woman in her late 40's if she knew what I was talking about.

No. Clue.

Now I realize that in this day and age, there are more pressing concerns than knowing what a nuclear explosion looks like. But surely we all studied how World War II ended with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And we've surely all seen the pictures in the history books. Or at the very least a documentary on the History channel!

After September 11th, everything changed. We no longer have the right to feel absolutely sure that nothing more horrendous than those dreadful incidents could ever happen here. It's a dangerous world out there. And we have to be sure that when or if, God forbid, a major attack occurs in our country, we are prepared for it.

Knowing what one might look like might be a good first step toward that.

Good night, and good luck.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Studio 60 = SAVED!

I've been watching the new NBC show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip since its premiere this season. Created by Aaron Sorkin, this show was obviously aimed at fans of The West Wing like me. And it had my attention, at first.

But my interest in it waned over the season, as the episodes after the pilot seemed weak.

But tonight, with the Christmas episode, my interest has returned. With a vengeance.

This show, with tonight's episode, has recaptured me. With a beartrap. And a tractor beam.

I will now continue to watch this show regularly. Until it no longer possesses the power that tonight's episode had.

Which I hope will not happen soon.

Good night, and good luck.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Go Buckeyes!



The Buckeyes are headed for Arizona
The Wolverines are headed home.

So here's what could happen:
Rutgers could end up with one or two losses
USC could end up with two losses, thanks to a loss to Cal or Notre Dame
Notre Dame could end up with two losses if they lose to USC
Notre Dame could end up with one loss if they beat USC
It will be Ohio State vs. Notre Dame for the National Championship, if Notre Dame wins out
If Rugers wins out, it will be Rutgers vs. Ohio State for the national championship
If Rutgers loses out, it will be Notre Dame vs. Ohio State for the National Championshi
If Rutgers, Notre Dame, and USC all lose a game, it WILL be Ohio State and Michigan in a rematch for the National Championship.

This is why I love College Football!

Update (12/3/06): Who ever figured Florida? And by one one-hundredth of a point?!

Friday, November 17, 2006

#1 vs #2, cont.

Those crazy Michigan fans!

They'll do anything to make sure their team beats Ohio State.

Including slipping Bo Schembechler a fatal mickey the day before the game.

O.K., O.K., that's not what happened. I mean, the guy was 77, with a history of heart disease. He was living on borrowed time. The fact he lived as long as he did was a tribute to the miracle of modern medicine.

But it will give the Wolverines an added emotional boost, one that just might boost them over the top, if Lloyd Carr knows how to work his team.

I can see it now: Black headbands on the players, black "BO"'s on the helmets, comments in the pre-game interviews saying, "we've gotta win this one for Bo", etc., etc., ad nauseaum.

To the Buckeyes, I say this: Do. Not. Let. It. Get. To. You.

You want to honor Bo, attend his funeral, in fine suits, with Michigan lapel pins on one lapel, and, more importantly, with gold pants pins on the other. Attend it AFTER you send the Wolverines home with their first loss of the season.

This is about the game, pure and simple. Do not let up on them for one minute. A great football legend has fallen. But he's not YOUR football legend.

Remember that this is a man who was an assistant coach under the great Woody Hayes for years, until he left to coach Woody's archrival. Traitor.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

1 vs. 2

So. On the 18th, Ohio State will play the team from That State Up North for the Big Ten Championship.

And what a game it will be!

This will be the first non-championship game between the number 1 and number 2 team in the country.

And I have to say that this WILL BE THE national championship game.

Screw the Fiesta Bowl. This is THE game.

Go Buckeyes!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

So Now What?

So. The Democrats now control both houses of Congress. For the first time in over a decade.

And they did it by promising to swoop in and sweep away a corrupt, scandal-ridden, Republican-controlled Congress.

Let us pause for a moment and reflect back on what brought this on.

12 years ago, Republicans swept into power by promising to clean up a mess of corruption in the Democrat-controlled house. Prior to that, Democrats had controlled congress for over 40 years.

And in that space of twelve years, the Republicans have gone from the party of cleaning house to a party that needs a house cleaner.

So how do we keep the Democrats from doing the same thing?

Well, for starters, we keep our eyes on them. The news cycles cannot possibly be controlled nearly as tightly as they were 12, 6, or even 4 years ago. With the vast internet media machine (of which this humble blog is a small, insignificant, yet vital part), nothing can be kept secret for long. And at the first, barest, hint that the Democrats are starting to go the same way, we must all shine the blinding spotlight of truth on them and root out that corruption.

Because that is the only way we can keep ourselves from becoming them.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Adventures with AdSense, Part 2

When I first started this my humble blog, I decided to allow Google AdSense ads on the site. I also made the decision that any profits generated by these ads would be donated to the U.S.O.

And over the past couple of years, there have been some pretty amusing ads that popped up.

But this one tops them all:



I've had to put up with a lot of silly stuff, but this is beyond the pale.

Too much more of this, and those ads are GONE! If it wasn't in service of a good cause, they'd be gone already.

Oh well. Maybe I shouldn't be too mad at Google. After all, they do seem to know at least one thing that's correct!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Handing Out Canes

Tonight, I watched Keith Olberman's latest Special Comment on the maximum fuss being repeated ad nauseum about Senator Kerry's gaffe.

And again, I wish that Mr. Olberman was not a minor voice, swimming on a cacophony of voices crying out for attention in this our world.

I would ask you the three readers of this blog to go to google and search for "olberman".

And watch every one of the "special comments" he has made.

Because I believe they might truly educate you on what this country is about.

That is all.

Friday, October 27, 2006

No, Tigers!

What the hell is going on?!

The series is not following the script!

The Tigers' blazing ace pitchers were supposed to quiet the Cardinal bats.

The Tigers' power hitters were supposed to light up the scoreboard.

The Tigers' excellent defense was supposed to work them out of any jam.


The Tigers' aces have been trumped by hot Cardinal bats. The only one who has been effective was the crafty old veteran, Kenny Rogers.

The Tigers' bats have been largely silent.

The Tigers have committed error after error, and have at least 6 unearned runs to show for it.

Now they are one game away from elimination.

And I can't stand it!

Go Red Wings!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Flags of Our Fathers

Four words: Go. See. This. Movie.

Just came back from seeing it and I've gotta say, Wow.

I don't think I've ever seen a more honest look at the human face of the heroes we idolize.

You see, there are few heroes these days. Few genuine, honest-to-God, All-American heroes.

Today, we idolize the likes of Paris Hilton, Tom Cruise, and other cream puff celebrities.

Today, people who plunge an entire conquered country into chaos, or lie to mislead us into an unnecessary war, are awarded Presidential Medals of Freedom.

Today, people who dare to have the moral courage to stand up and speak the truth to a corrupt power are shouted down by an outraged chorus of wingnuts and blowhards.

And, today, people who perform genuine acts of physical and moral courage go unnoticed in the din of today's 24-hour media circus.

So when we are given a chance to take an inside look at the real people behind the hero facade, we should take advantage of that opportunity.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Lost in the Fog

The spirit of the late Edward R. Murrow is alive again, and his name is Keith Olberman.

Over the past several weeks, on his MSNBC program "Countdown", Mr. Olberman has delivered a series of special commentaries that have struck to the very heart of everything that is wrong with the decisions made by the current Bush administration.

His latest commentary, "Beginning of the End of America", graphically demonstrates how decisions made by a sitting President can be proven by history to not only be wrong but also to have dire consequences to the future survival of our coutry's democratic ideals.

But are they doing any good?

You see, when the late Edward R. Murrow made the brave and costly decision to challenge a popular demagogue, at the time his voice was not only respected throughout the world due to his past work, but it was also one of the few voices the public had available. As a consequence, people listened to him and gave his voice the weight it rightfully deserved.

That is not true today.

Because, today, the voice of Keith Olberman is but one of a thousand or more voices fighting for the attention of the public. And today, the public is much more interested in seeing who is the latest to be kicked off of "Dancing with the Stars", or who will win the most money on "Deal or No Deal", or what Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' baby looks like, or any of a thousand other meaningless items that fight for the public interest.

Even the mid-term elections, which are less than a month away, capture less interest than who will be the winner of the next "Survivor" series.

Perhaps the best way of looking at this is the use of Murrow's own words:

To those who say people wouldn't look; they wouldn't be interested; they're too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter's opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost. This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box.(emphasis mine)

What has the media become lately, but merely wires in a box and lights to entertain?

I'll keep waiting while you consider your answer. I expect to be here for a while...

Sunday, October 15, 2006




Me loves me the Magglio Ordonez!

Oakland goes home cryin'. And Detroit sits back and rests while the Cardinals and Mets bloody each other.

Play on you Tigers! No early playoffs exit for you, like so many people predicted.

Man, what I would give to have a ticket to one of those games...

More later!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Tigers WIN!



Me likes the Tigers!

See you tomorrow!

Blogging the Tigers, cont.

Ugh! Still 3-0 Tigers, but they are now three outs away from being up in the series 3-0!

Top of the ninth

Blogging the Tigers!

Well, they just sat Kenny Rogers down after pitching 7 1/3 shutout innings. If the Tigers go on to win it all, you know who has my vote for MVP!

7:14 p.m. Tigers up 3-0. Bottom of the 8th. More later!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Roller Coaster

I'm beginning to dislike the weather in Northwest Ohio.

Last Monday, it was sunny, clear, and near 80 degrees. Today, 3 days later, it's cold, cloudy, and snow showers with temps in the 30's and a freeze warning.

Living here is like living on a weather roller coaster.

There's a joke going around: You know you live in Northwest Ohio if you've ever switched from heat to air conditioning in the same day. Been there, done that, bought the T-Shirt.

Or this: You know you live in Northwest Ohio if you've ever designed your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.

But even after all this, I have to say that I wouldn't trade it for anything. After all, where else am I gonna live? Florida (Hurricanes)? Arizona (Desert)? California (Arnold)?

Go Tigers!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Guess Who's Back?!

Wow. I've been gone a long time. You never fully realize how much you miss your internet access until you don't have it anymore.

So what has happened in the interim? A LOT, apparently. Let me start off with this:

The Toledo Mud Hens are the Governor's Cup Champions for the second year in a row. I was at the final game. Here's a picture of the celebration:

Sorry about the poor quality, but my camera phone doesn't take the best pictures.

So what else? Ah, yes!

I understand former congressman Mark Foley was reading a book the other day, but couldn't find a bookmark. So he decided to just bend over a page...

(Ba-bump Ching!)

What else?

What do you call 35 guys sitting around a TV watching the World series?

The New York Yankees.

What else?

Where's the safest place to go in a tornado?

Ford Field. They never get a touchdown there...

More? Okay!

What do the Cleveland Browns and Billy Graham have in common?

They can both make 50,000 people stand up and say, "Jesus Christ"!

I've got a million of 'em...

What do you call the number one college football team in the country?

The Ohio State Buckeyes!

What? You thought that was some kind of joke?

Anyhoo, that's all for now. Hopefully I can go back to regular posting now.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Texas = Pwned!

Ah. Revenge is sweet.

Pretty good weekend. My beloved Buckeyes open up a Texas-sized can of Whoop-ass on the Longhorns, and, as the icing on the cake, the Mud Hens eliminate Charlotte in the semifinals of the IL playoffs to advance to the finals.

The only weak spot I can see for the buckeyes is their run defense, traditionally one of the strong points for the buckeyes. I get the feeling that will improve, as the new corps of linebackers learns the ropes. Next up, hopefully, a nice little tune-up against Cinci before they dive into the maelstrom known as Big Ten conference. Go Bucks!

As for the Mud Hens, they won it in the tenth. In four games, Charlotte twice tried the strategy of Intentionally walking one batter to face the next one. Both times, that particular strategy jumped up and bit them on the ass. Let's go Hens!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Olberman--The Next Murrow?

Excerpts from Keith Olberman's commentary on Donald Rumsfeld's recent speech to Veterans:

"Dissent and disagreement with government is the life's blood of human freedom; and not merely because it is the first roadblock against the kind of tyranny the men Mr. Rumsfeld likes to think of as "his" troops still fight, this very evening, in Iraq.

It is also essential. Because just every once in awhile it is right and the power to which it speaks, is wrong."

"That, about which Mr. Rumsfeld is confused is simply this: This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely.

And, as such, all voices count -- not just his.

Had he or his president perhaps proven any of their prior claims of omniscience -- about Osama Bin Laden's plans five years ago, about Saddam Hussein's weapons four years ago, about Hurricane Katrina's impact one year ago -- we all might be able to swallow hard, and accept their "omniscience" as a bearable, even useful recipe, of fact, plus ego.

But, to date, this government has proved little besides its own arrogance, and its own hubris."

"The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense, and this administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought.

And about Mr. Rumsfeld's other main assertion, that this country faces a "new type of fascism."

As he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that -- though probably not in the way he thought he meant it.

This country faces a new type of fascism - indeed."

Olberman ends his commentary with a quote from his journalist predecessor, Edward R. Murrow, a man who dared to speak truth to a corrupt power:

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law.

"We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular."

These days, it seems that anyone who dares to criticize the current administration or its policies comes under an immediate and merciless bombardment of smear and hate from a relentless wright-wing media machine that steamrolls over everything in its path in a relentless quest to squelch all dissent. This is not the America that our forefathers fought for and died for.This is not the America of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, or even Ronald Reagan.

To categorize any and all dissent against the current administration as treasonous and unpatriotic and even as fascist is an assault on the very ideas that made this country great.

Or to put it another way, in the words of the aforementioned Teddy Roosevelt:

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but morally treasonable to the American Public."

The current administration has made blunder after blunder since they took office six years ago. And the people who have called them on those mistakes, be they the likes of Keith Olberman, Ned Lamont, or even The Dixie Chicks, deserve to be praised, not vilified. These people represent the truest form of patriotism.

I have to believe that somehow, somewhere, the spirit of Edward R. Murrow, cigarette in hand, is smiling down upon those of us who dare to dissent.

For years, I have been telling people that I would never pay for cable TV, since I could see no point in paying $40+ a month for 80 channels worth of nothing. I may have to knuckle under, though, just for the privilege of watching Mr. Olberman speak the truth to power five nights a week.

He gives me hope that there may be light at the end of this long dark tunnel.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Rebuttal to the "Bill of Non-Rights"

Today, the so-called "Bill of Non-Rights landed in my e-mail inbox for the umpteenth time. So I have prepared this response. Enjoy!

I, a sensible person, and a thinking American, possessed of an above-average intelligence and being able to read above a third grade level, having received for the umpteenth time this piece of garbage called “the bill of non-rights”, have prepared a point by point rebuttal to it. Being completely sick and tired of such narrow-minded, jingoistic, uneducated crap, I want to set the record straight. Therefore, I have included all of the original 11 “non-rights”, with each one followed immediately by my rebuttal.

ARTICLE I: You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV, or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.

ARTICLE I REBUTTAL: Of course no one has the RIGHT to a new car, big screen TV, or any other form of wealth. But when the world's wealthiest industrialized nation still has one-fifth of its population living in soul-killing poverty, and one percent of its population controls 90 percent of its wealth, maybe it's time to re-examine the way we distribute that wealth.

ARTICLE II: You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone -- not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc.; but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.

ARTICLE II REBUTTAL: Of course you do not have the right to never be offended. You also have the right to address the person who offended you and tell them that they offend you. You have the right to do it LOUDLY. And if you think otherwise, then you are one of those idiots. Perhaps if more people exercised this right, offensive people might learn to keep their opinions to themselves.

ARTICLE III: You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful; do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.

ARTICLE III REBUTTAL: You have the right to expect that the products you spend good money on are safe to use. And if manufacturers, in the interest of cost cutting, make defective products that can maim, cripple, or kill people, then they should be forced to pay through the nose when those products do exactly that. It's the surest way to teach them not to do it again.

ARTICLE IV: You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes!

ARTICLE IV REBUTTAL: Of course you don't have the right to FREE food and housing, but you do have the right to AFFORDABLE food and housing. And it should be safe to live in that housing and consume that food. And instead of complaining about people who live on welfare, maybe we ought to examine some of the reasons WHY people are living like that*

ARTICLE V: You do not have the right to free health care. That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we're just not interested in public health care.

ARTICLE V REBUTTAL: The only ones who don't want free health care are the insurance and drug companies. Ask any sane person if they would like to be able to afford lifesaving drugs or treatments without taking out a second mortgage on their house and they will ALWAYS answer YES!

ARTICLE VI: You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair.

ARTICLE VI REBUTTAL: Capital punishment is useless as a deterrent. It is also ridiculously difficult to make happen. If you ask me, sticking someone in a 8 x 10 room for the rest of their life with a 6'6" cellmate named Bubba who thinks they've got a pretty mouth is a far worse form of punishment. Let them experience hell on earth for a few decades before they get to the real hell. That’s a far worse punishment than death.

ARTICLE VII: You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat, or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you still won't have the right to a big screen color TV or a life of leisure.

ARTICLE VII REBUTTAL: If you're going punish people for stealing, then make sure you punish everybody who steals, regardless of their wealth, political connections, or other influence that makes them feel above the law. If you're going to imprison the junkie that steals a woman's purse with $85 in it, then you had better also imprison the CEO who steals $85 million from his company's pension fund and then expects to retire with it to a life of ease on some tropical island.

ARTICLE VIII: You do not have the right to a job. All of us sure want you to have a job, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful. (AMEN!)

ARTICLE VIII REBUTTAL: No one has the right to a job, but we do have the right to expect the jobs we DO have to remain in place, not be shipped overseas to some poverty-stricken country where people are so desperate for money that they will work for $2 a day and no bathroom breaks. And if that DOES happen, then we have the right to expect to have all the help we can get to help us train ourselves to get another job just as good, and not to have to spend what should be our retirement years cleaning toilets at Wal-Mart because our pension fund has disappeared (see Article VII rebuttal above) (TESTIFY!)

ARTICLE IX: You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that you have the right to PURSUE happiness, which by the way, is a lot easier if you are unencumbered by an over abundance of idiotic laws created by those of you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.

ARTICLE IX REBUTTAL: The Pursuit of happiness is often made easier by laws that protect people from abuse. A goodly number of those laws were passed by well-meaning people who wanted—and still want—to protect us all from being exploited by big business. And yes, some of those laws are idiotic. If you don't like it, get yourself elected to political office and do something to change them. Until you do, quit bitching about it!

ARTICLE X: This is an English speaking country. We don't care where you are from, English is our language. Learn it or go back to wherever you came ! from! (lastly....)

ARTICLE X REBUTTAL: Not everyone in the world speaks English. Heck, a lot of our ancestors couldn't speak English when they first came here. Most of them did pretty well. Give people a break. They're trying. Besides, if we hold people to the rule that they can't live in a country unless they speak its native language, then we'd better give this country back to the Indians until we learn THEIR languages (ALL of them!)

ARTICLE XI: You do not have the right to change our country's history or heritage This country was founded on the belief in one true God. And yet, you are given the freedom to believe in any religion, any faith, or no faith at all; with no fear of persecution. The phrase IN GOD WE TRUST is part of our heritage and history, and if you are uncomfortable with it, TOUGH!

ARTICLE XI REBUTTAL: What part of "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" do you NOT understand? The writers of the Bill of Rights were all deeply religious men, but they also knew firsthand the oppression that could arise when the government established a state religion. That's why it's the VERY FIRST PROHIBITION in the First amendment, ahead of prohibiting government interference with free speech, freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances (I bet you didn't know them all, did you?!)

I am so tired of this retarded claptrap repeatedly landing in my inbox. I believe an idiot with an e-mail account and a cause is more dangerous than a terrorist at the controls of a jumbo jet. Quit whining about our government. Believe me, things could be MUCH worse. If you don't like the government we have, you're more than welcome to move to China or North Korea and experience the alternative.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Hens Win!

The three readers of this blog may or may not be aware that I am a BIG fan of the Toledo Mud Hens, our local triple A minor league baseball team.

This is the top-tier farm team for the Detroit Tigers, who happen to be in playoff contention for the first time in 13 years. And they were the League champions last year.

And they are again in a tight playoff race. They have only a few games left (their regular season ends on Labor Day) and they are in a race with the other teams in their division to win it all. And last night, they played the Indianapolis Indians in the last regular season matchup they will have with them.

And they won!

In a VERY dramatic, come-from-behind victory.

This was a crucial game for them. Win it, and they would be in a tie for first place in their division. Lose, and they would drop back to two games behind.

I was there. And I screamed. A lot. And today I have lost my voice. Turns out that getting enthusiastic about a game can cost you physically.

But it was a lot of fun.

I might point out that the Hens are in the unique position of having their Major League team being playoff contenders for the first time in more than a decade. So they can lose key players at any time (which has really hurt the pitching staff).

Which makes their drive for a championship all the more impressive.

Which is why I love the Mud Hens.


Mud Hens

UPDATE (11:00 p.m.) Hens beat Louisville 10-4, move into sole posession of first place in their division. Woo-hoo!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

It Happened Again!

And at the exact same store!

You may recall this post back in January about a woman who took my cart in a grocery store. Well, the same thing happened today. I was in the exact same grocery store. I had a 12-pack in my cart. I got in line at the in-store bank. While waiting, a man removed the 12-pack and walked away with my cart.

This time, I caught up with him. I took the cart back. I was damned if it was going to happen again.

It makes me wonder if politeness has completely disappeared from today's society. I mean, don't you think it's just a bit rude to assume an unattended shopping cart with item(s) in it has been abandoned? And to furthermore remove said item(s) and take the cart for yourself?

I am now issuing an open warning to any would-be cart-stealers who cast your gaze towards my unattended shopping carts: IF you try it again, violence will ensue. I've reached my limit!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Platinum Showgirls

The radio station I listen to at work often has ads for Platinum Showgirls, a local nudie bar. The commercials advertise the great food and huge TV's that are available at this place.

First things first: Ohio does not allow alcohol and naked women to be in the same establishment. So there is either drinking or stripping, but not both. So you are either horny or drunk at this place. But that's not my point.

My point is this: If you go to a peeler bar to eat and watch TV, then you need to seriously re-examine your priorities.

That's all I'm sayin'!

Sorry for not posting for a while. Would it be pointless to tell you people how lazy I am?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Say it Ain't So, Joe!

Lieberman = Loserman.

It's as simple as that. Joe Lieberman lost the Democratic (AND democratic) primary.

He then immediately declared his intention to run as an Independent.

He thinks he can count on the support of the same people that helped his failed primary campaign.

Is he in for a surprise!

Y'see, those loyal Democrats with any sense will immediately throw all their support behind the ELECTED Democrat (Lamont). Many already have. And I have a feeling that when Joe tries to call his buddy Bill Clinton to come campaign for him this October, he will be treated to a busy signal (Bill's already in enough trouble with his wife, who has stated she will support whoever wins the primary)

And Lamont has an amazing people power movement behind him, which will grow ten times stronger with his victory. Up until now, the netroots have been only marginally successful in elections. Defeating a three-term Senator who once ran as the Democratic nominee for Vice President proves that the netroots cannot be laughed off as a fringe group any longer.

So it's time for you to bow out, Joe. Accept that Professorship at Yale. Or one of those 12 Board member positions you will be offered. Or maybe you can get your good buddy George Bush to give you a cabinet post...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Say Goodnight, Joecie!

It would seem that Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman is facing a serious primary challenge from Ned Lamont. I have withheld weighing in on this until now, for fear of being identified as one of the "hysterical" bloggers that are piling onto Joe for all they're worth.

But now, let me say this: If you lose next Tuesday, Joe, then bow out gracefully.

This primary has been THE demonstration of the ever expanding power of the blogger netroots (of which I am a member, even if I am a basically unheard one). The good folks at have been on this campaign from the beginning, and the traditional media can no longer laugh off the power of the blogs.

There is a famous quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi: "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."

The blogosphere can no longer be laughed off as a bunch of wackos. Our political power is growing. And while some of us may fall by the wayside, I have little doubt that next Tuesday may serve as a very effective demonstration of the power of the netroots.

So, Mr. Lieberman, if you lose next Tuesday, have the good grace to take it like a man. Maybe if you learn your lesson, you'll be able to resurrect your political career as a TRUE Democrat.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I Get It!

I finally discovered the real motive behind the President's veto of Federal funding for stem cell research.

I'll sum it up in two words: Big. Business.

Don't you see? If the Federal Government funds research into Stem cells, then the benefits gained from that research will be available to everyone in the country. But if that research is left in the hands of the corporations, then whatever benefits they come up with they can sell for premium prices. Only the rich will reap the benefits of it.

And the President stays faithful to his TRUE roots: Big Business.

The fact that it throws a fresh supply of red meat to the right is just a bonus.

I predict that stem cell cures will be offered by the big pharmaceuticals any day now.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bush's First Veto

So. The moment is finally coming. President Bush will soon use his first veto in the nearly six years of his presidency. And it's against legislation that will expand federal funding of stem-cell research.

I want to add my voice to the rapidly growing chorus of voices yelling for him not to do it. In doing so, I add my voice to an August crowd that also includes the voice of Nancy Reagan, wife of the Republican God of the 20th century.

Because, y'see, research in this field has the potential to develop cures for, among other things, Alzheimer's disease. Which her husband died from, after suffering from it for years. I have personally never dealt with anyone who had this condition (yet...thank God. Are You listening?) but I understand it is much harder on the family and friends than it is on the actual victim of the disease. And judging by the way Nancy Reagan looked at her husband's funeral, I can believe it. She looked, to me, weary, and beaten down by life.

I don't ever want to look like that. I don't ever want to watch someone I love slowly fade away over the course of a decade or more. And yet I briefly flash on that thought every time My 75-year old dad occasionally forgets what day of the week it is.

Don't get me wrong. My dad is still sharp as a tack. And he's in good health for someone his age. But he isn't getting any younger. And we all watched my grandmother fade away, until she didn't remember who any of us were or even who she was.

And while the whole premise of stem-cell research and the miracles scientists are promising that research could possibly deliver may very well turn out to be a hopeless pipe dream, we will never know until we try. And, God forbid, what if one of our enemies discovers a way to use this technology to develop a weapon against us, that we are powerless to fight, because we did not allow our own scientists to develop a counter to this.

I realize that this is the worst case scenario. But imagine a slightly less terrifying scenario. Suppose, for example, China develops, using stem cells, a way to heal any type of injury, including spinal cord injury. They then decide to share this with everyone EXCEPT the U.S. Who do you suppose the world will respect then?

At the very least, we must encourage this research, if for no other reason than to prove it cannot be used against us.

And for those who point out that these are living beings, capable of becoming life, let me say this: We are talking about 100-cell blastocysts that are smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. They are also GOING TO BE DISPOSED OF ANYWAY. THEY ARE NOT EMBRYOS! THEY ARE SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS! They resemble a human being about as much as a 60 watt bulb resembles the sun.

And nothing prevents a couple going through IVF from giving their permission for someone else to use these to create a child if they don't need them any more. Although, as I understand it, most couples don't. That's understandable. I wouldn't want someone else raising a child I had created with another person--not that that's likely to happen anytime soon...

So wise up, Mr. President. For once in your life, do something right.

Update: 5:45p.m. The veto has gone through. He did it in a ceremony with some of these so-called "snowflake children" behind him. God, the hypocrisy of this man. If he's so concerned about the survival of these IVF embryos, well, then, he has two apparently healthy daughters of childbearing age. How soon do you suppose that they will each be carrying one?

Probably about as soon as they join the Army and serve a tour in Iraq.

GOD, I'm pissed off about this!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Truth, Justice, and the American Woe

So, I finally got around to seeing "Superman Returns" over the weekend.

Let me say first this: Meh.

I was good, but it wasn't great.

Two things first of all: 1) Superman needs to learn to lock his door if he's going to be gone for 5 years, and 2) Lex Luthor needs to learn to not have any female members of his gang. They screw him up every time. Besides, what are they going to do? Sue him for sex discrimination?

I will say this about the movie: The effects were very good and actually believeable to the extent that you can believe anything about a superhero movie. And Brandon Roush DEFINITELY looks the part, right down to that little curly lock of hair that dangles over his forehead in that special way. His only problem may be that he might forever be typecast for the role. Poor kid. Let's hope he made a good deal on the residuals.

But I didn't write this entry to talk about the movie. At least not in the sense of a review.

No. I wrote this because of a line from the movie. It happens after Superman has made his grand re-appearance. Perry White is holding a strategy session with the Daily Planet staff. And at one point, he asks the rhetorical question, "Does he (Superman) still stand for truth? Justice? And all that stuff?"

Well, that little re-write of the classic line has the wright-wingnuts up in arms. This is a good example of this. Apparently, the removal of the phrase "and the American way" is another example of Hollyweird's treasonous hatred of all things American.

I have three words. Get. Over. It.

Seriously. It's a friggin' Movie!

I especially love the fact that that people called him an "American-Born Hero". Hello?! He's an ALIEN BEING, for the love of Mike! From THE PLANET KRYPTON!! Ring any bells?!

By the way, I seem to recall reading something about a series DC did a couple of years ago, about an alternate reality wherein Superman fell to earth in Soviet Russia, not Kansas, and was raised as a Russian. I can only imagine the outcry if THAT were ever made into a movie.

The change is merely a reflection of the times. We live in a Global world, one where I can snap a picture with my cell-phone and instantly e-mail it to an aquaintance in Japan. And where natural disasters afflict every part of the world. I'm sure the victims of yesterday's tsunami in Java would be welcoming the help of Superman right now. As would the people of New Orleans. Or the victims of the Tsunami of December 2004. Or the victims of any of the dozens, if not hundreds, of disasters that plague humanity.

The whole world needs Superman...even if he only exists in our imaginations. And to imply that America has an exclusive claim to him is the sort of selfishness that can only further enflame the negative feelings the majority of the rest of the world has towards us.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

They Said it Better Than I could, Cont.

Ya know, kids sometimes say the darndest things...

What the American Flag Stands For
by Charlotte Aldebron
Published on Wednesday, April 3, 2002 by Common Dreams

The American flag stands for the fact that cloth can be very important. It is against the law to let the flag touch the ground or to leave the flag flying when the weather is bad. The flag has to be treated with respect. You can tell just how important this cloth is because when you compare it to people, it gets much better treatment. Nobody cares if a homeless person touches the ground. A homeless person can lie all over the ground all night long without anyone picking him up, folding him neatly and sheltering him from the rain.

School children have to pledge loyalty to this piece of cloth every morning. No one has to pledge loyalty to justice and equality and human decency. No one has to promise that people will get a fair wage, or enough food to eat, or affordable medicine, or clean water, or air free of harmful chemicals. But we all have to promise to love a rectangle of red, white, and blue cloth.

Betsy Ross would be quite surprised to see how successful her creation has become. But Thomas Jefferson would be disappointed to see how little of the flag's real meaning remains.

Charlotte Aldebron, 12, wrote this essay for a competition in her 6th grade English class. She attends Cunningham Middle School in Presque Isle, Maine. Comments may be sent to her mom, Jillian Aldebron:

Anything I could add would be superfluous at best.

Thanks to Bill in Portland Maine from Daily Kos for leading me to this.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Big Happenings in T-Town

There's a couple of big events going on in Toledo this week. First, the Triple-A Minor League All-Star Game tomorrow. Here's a couple pix of the stands during the Home Run Derby last night:

Also, the annual LPGA Jamie Farr classic is being held this week. So it's a good week, sportswise, for Toledo. And it's a chance to garner some national attention in a GOOD way for a change.

I like Toledo. I've lived here for close to 30 years now, and it is my home town. I'll probably live here the rest of my life. There are worse places. And although it is hopelessly overshadowed by the Three C's (Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinatti) in terms of importance, it is a good place to live.

And while we will no doubt fade back into obscurity once this week is over, it's fun to enjoy the spotlight while it lasts!

Holy Toledo!

Monday, June 26, 2006


Ugh. I'm suffering from the worst allergy attack in history. My eyes are watering, and I've sneezed 20 times in the last 5 minutes. Something is in the air!

But to business:

The Red Wings were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, by a team that was eighth seed (I take some consolation in the fact that that team came within one game of winning it all.) The Pistons were shell-Shaqued (again, consolation in the fact that Miami went on to win it all.) And Team USA was eliminated by Ghana. GHANA! Did they even HAVE a soccer team four years ago? In the three games they played, they scored exactly one goal (I don't count the goal against Italy.)

So who woulda thunk that my best hope for a team I like to win a championship would lie with the DETROIT TIGERS?!

Seriously. Three years ago, this is a team that came within one game of setting a record for most losses in a season. As a manager, Alan Trammel was a hell of a shortstop. He may have loved the Tigers, but he did NOT know how to manage a team.

Enter Jim Leyland, a native of Perrysburg (just south of Toledo). In 1997, he managed Florida to a World Series win. And you can claim that it was the all-star players on that team, but having great players doesn't guarantee a good team--just look at the Yankees.

Enter Kenny Rogers, a veteran hurler who leads four all-star starting pitchers, three of whom rank in the top ten of the AL in ERA.

Enter a bunch of young players who helped the Mud Hens win the Governor's cup last year, among them Curtis Granderson and Marcus Thames.

Add all these things up and you get the team with the best record in baseball, which just completed a sweep of the Cardinals, the second best team in baseball. I'm just wondering how long it can last. As, I'm sure, are many people in Detroit...

Maybe I'll just enjoy the ride while it lasts. Red Sox fans rode that ride all the way to the World Series two years ago.

And I'll take consolation in the fact that the Cubs stink this year. When the Cubs play the Tigers in the World Series, then I'll know Armageddon is around the corner.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Making Me Crazy!

There are two reasons why I don't write very often in this blog (aside from the main reason, which is that I'm lazy!): One, I don't typically speak out unless I'm really outraged by something (which is happening with increasing frequency) and Two, I know that the only person whoever reads this blog is me.

O.K. folks. This is where you tell me that hundreds of people read it! Anyone?

(crickets chirp)

Ahem. Anyway, the source of my outrage today is the recent debates taken up in the Senate to first amend the constitution declaring marriage as being between a man and a woman and secondly to ban flag burning as a form of protest.

Getting past the facts that A) The first one violates the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment and B) that the second violates the first amendment, period, can anyone think of a more useless waste of the Senate's time? It's making me crazy!

It's these little things that are making me crazy! It's the Republican's shameless pandering to their religious base, whose unblinking support for a party that is against everything they stand for still mystifies me. And it's making me crazy.

And it works! Every single time, for every election in the last 6 years, the Republicans seem to manage to muster this tiny-ass majority of supporters, whose views are often diametrically opposed to each other. And they keep winning elections with it. And it's making me crazy.

And I'm saying this because I'm deathly afraid they're gonna do it one more time. The Republicans have controlled all three branches of government for the last six years, and, as a result, taxes are higher for everyone but the rich, there are record deficits, gas is three dollars a gallon, environmental regulations have been gutted, Constitutional protections are in tatters, and our military is bogged down in a hopeless quagmire that may take it years, or even decades, to get out of. I just don't think this country will survive another two years of complete Republican control. I'm not sure it will survive the rest of the year.

Do I have to say it again?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day

My father has been a part of my life for all of my 38+ years. I have tried to live up to the standards he set for me. With, shall we say, somewhat mixed results.

But I appreciate all he has done, and all he has sacrificed for his children, myself included. And I, along with my sister, are dreading the day that will inevitably come when we are forced to face a Father's day without a father. And I'm sure she joins me in praying that that day will be a long time coming. We've had some scares over the years.

So Happy Father's Day, everyone! Make sure you take the time to tell your dad you love him. Because you never know when the day will come when you will no longer be able to.

But whatever you do, for heaven's sake don't call him collect!

Monday, June 05, 2006


That number is the number of hits I got for going to Google and typing in the phrases "6-6-06 end of world".

Try it! It's fun!

By far, the favorite site I found was this one.

I guess the world will end tomorrow. I'm not quite sure if it will end at midnight tonight, noon tomorrow, or even whether the end of the world will observe daylight savings time.

At any rate, assuming we're all still here tomorrow, I guess we can all console ourselves with the fact that most of us will be dead by the time the next 6-6-06 rolls around.

Peace out!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Tilting at the Windmills of FOX

Bill O'Reilly is a coward.

There. I've gone and said it. Y'see, I'm still trying to get put on his enemies list. I can't think of a faster way to increase readership of this my humble blog.

It seems that he regularly rants on his shows about how the good folks over at Media Matters repeatedly slander him, apparently by taking what he says during his rants and repeating it back for all to read. This is apparently how he defines slander: Anyone who repeats what he says in a way that makes him look bad. I'm just not getting it myself.

So recently, one of the writers of wrote this article about how Billo will not invite David Brock, the founder of MM, on his show to debate the issue face to face.

The article encourages its readers to send a letter to FalafelMan urging him to have Brock, or another MM representative, on his show. It even provides the e-mail address (

So I did it. I sent a letter to Phone Sexman. Here is the text:

Dear Bill O'Reilly:

You have repeatedly claimed on your show(s) that Media Matters, the organization founded by David Brock, repeatedly slanders you.

I would very much enjoy seeing David as a guest on your show, so you may tell him in person what you think of his organization, and so that he may have a chance to respond to you, also in person.

Can you please tell me when this will happen, and when I should tune in to watch?

Thank you.

I expect I'll be hearing from Fox Security any second now!

By the way, BillyBoy, in case this blog entry crosses your eyes at some point, I just want to say, Up your nose with a fire hose, you fatuous windbag!

(Still trying to make that enemies list!)

Monday, May 29, 2006

Never Forget

Today, on Memorial Day, I'd like to tell you about my Uncle, James McAfee.

Born the youngest of four children, and born many years after my Aunt Jeanine (can you say "Whoops"?!) he was called up to serve in Vietnam.

Now, I know very little about what happened to him over there, but I do know that my Mom, my Uncle David, and my Aunt all said repeatedly that before he went over there, he was a happy, well-adjusted person. And they said that he came back forever changed.

I admit I didn't know him very well. He cut himself off from us, moving himself and his family to Colorado. He visited rarely. He was often short-tempered--although he did his best to control it when us kids were around, we all saw the signs.

He was a good man, though. He loved his family, and was a good father to his children, judging by the fact that they all turned out pretty well. I would guess that he was one of the lucky ones.

But I still lump him as one of the thousands who died in Vietnam but didn't stop moving until years, or even, decades, later.

War, any war, has a profound effect on those who fight in it, even if they are one of the lucky few to emerge from it unhurt. The rapidly dwindling number of veterans who fought in World War II can console themselves with the fact that while they endured a hell that no human being should be forced to endure, they were fighting to destroy a great evil, one that would surely have enslaved the world had it been victorious. The veterans of Vietnam, and, now, of Iraq, have no such consolation.

And that may be the overriding reason why so many of them came home as completely different people.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I Hate American Idol

Frequently I imagine this conversation:

"Let me get this straight: You want a loan to start a business that will produce bottles of water and sell them for a dollar a piece. And you think people are going to pay a dollar for sixteen ounces of water, when they can go to any drinking fountain or sink and get all the water they want for free?! Get the hell out of my office!"

Or this one:

"Do I understand this correctly? You want money to start a business that's going to sell COFFEE for three, four dollars a cup! When people can get all the coffee they want out of the office coffee machine for less than 25 cents a cup! (Presses button on phone) Miss Watkins, would you please call security and have them escort this crazy person out of my office?!"

Or how about this one:

"I'm sorry, Mr. Gates, but I just can't see how anyone can create an 'operating system' that will allow anyone to use a computer easily. I mean, everyone knows you need a degree in computer science just to turn on a computer these days! And your idea of placing this system on every computer in the country will never fly. The government did away with the monopolies a long time ago. They'd never let it happen again. I just can't allow our financial backers to invest in your company--what'd you call it? Macrosoft? Microscope?"

(by the way, the irony that I'm using Windows Explorer to make this blog entry while sipping from my bottle of water is not lost on me!)

I know. You're asking me, "What the hell does all this have to do with American Idol?!" Well, Chester, I'm glad you asked!

Because, y'see, I imagine the following conversation taking place in the pitch rooms at one of the big networks besides Fox:

"OK, so as I understand it, your idea for the next big hit TV show is to take hundreds of no-talent hacks, have them sing pop songs badly in front of a panel of judges that includes a washed-up pop Diva and a sarcastic British guy? And then to take the few gold nuggets that get sifted out of those thousands of grains of sand and stick them up on a stage in front of a huge audience? You know, there's a reason Karaoke is only performed by drunken people in bars! It's because nobody wants to make a fool of themselves on national television! Get out of here, you morons!"

I mean, COME ON! Can someone please explain to me the appeal of this show? I have left standing orders to my family and friends that if they ever catch me watching American Idol they have my permission to stick me in a rubber room.

Perhaps it's the curse of Andy Warhol. Everyone and their brother wants their "15 minutes of fame". These days, it's a lot more like "15 minutes of lame"

(I realize I'm probably not the first one to come up with that. I still think it's quite clever, though!)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Words cannot begin to describe

how much I will miss The West Wing

Let me share with you the speech by the WW president that caused this show to grab me by the throat and never let go:
(The President has just intervened in an argument between some West Wing staffers and some religious conservatives):

Now, I love my family, and I've read my Bible from cover to cover so I want you to tell me from what part of Holy Scripture do you suppose the Lambs of God drew their divine inspiration when they sent my 12 year old granddaughter a Raggedy Ann doll with a knife stuck through its throat?

You'll denounce these people Al, you'll do it publicly, and until you do you can all get your fat asses out of my White House.

Can you imagine any politician in this day and age saying that to a faction of religious conservatives?

Jesus, I can't stop crying! I will miss this show!

Happy Mother's Day!

Yeah, Yeah, I haven't posted in a long time. STFU already! I could spin a tale of misfortune and woe, with the requsite violin music and everything, but you'd all see through that pretty quick, so I'll just take this moment to remind everyone that I'm REALLY FUCKING LAZY!!

Anyhoo, I want to wish everyone a happy Mother's Day! Yhis year, for the first time in four years, my family has a reason to celebrate it again!

You may recall that last year I was a little bitter about the whole Mother's Day thing. Well, you may also recall that my nephew, Grant, was born in February. So now, once again, there is a mother in our immediate family, and this is once again a happy day, and not just a reminder of the gaping hole that was left in our lives when my mom died.

So enjoy the day! Peace out!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Patriot Act Follies

You may recall from my last post that I explained that anyone now seeking a government job in Ohio or seeking to do business with the state must, by law, complete a Declaration of Material Assistance/Non-Assistance to a Terrorist Organization (DMA).

Well, it seems the A.C.L.U. has decided to fight this. Not on the grounds that it's an incredibly STUPID law (which it is) but on the grounds that the the General Assembly unfairly applied the requirement to the practice of law. Or, as quoting from the original article in Saturday's Blade:

"The suit was filed before the Ohio Supreme Court on behalf of lawyer Marc Triplett. He objected to the Bellefontaine Municipal Court’s requirement that he sign a form declaring that he has not assisted or supported a terrorism-related organization as a condition of receiving court appointments to represent indigent defendants.

"The court challenge does not go as far as challenging the law itself, but rather what it characterizes as the Ohio General Assembly’s unconstitutional application of it to the practice of law, which is regulated by the Supreme Court."

In other words, it's good that somebody's challenging the, but bad that nobody seems to care that it's an incredibly stupid fucking law!

Y'see, if you lie on the form, and you are caught, it's a fifth-degree felony, punishable by up to one year in prison. I guess the geniuses in the G.A. think the threat of prison for a year will keep potential terrorists from seeking government jobs, contracts, or certain licenses. Or from lying about their status as terrorists, when telling the truth means that they will not get the job and be reported to homeland security.

I can't believe anyone is taking this seriously. And that the people who proposed this in the first place weren't laughed out of the office of whoever has the job of making sure this sort of silly shit never gets out of committee. Has the long-time Republican-controlled Ohio Government finally gone completely off the deep end? With shit like this, it's hard to imagine otherwise.

But the best part is how the law is being defended. To quote from the same article:

"Lying on the form would constitute a fifth-degree felony, punishable by up to a year in jail. 'This is preventative,' said Greg Saul, aid to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jeff Jacobson (R., Vandalia). 'If it’s uncovered that they’re involved in a plot but the attack hasn’t been carried out yet, you could charge them with lying on the questionnaire,' he said. 'The whole goal is to prevent them from carrying out an attack.'"

Seriously. So, apparently, if you're a member of, say, Al Qaeda, and you apply for a state job and say that you aren't, then after you've gone into a crowded shopping mall and hosed down the place with an AK-47, they can prosecute you for lying on a government form.

I'm thinking there's probably a few other things that they may want to zing you on first...

Plus, how could they prove your membership in such an organization? After all, I seriously doubt such organizations keep membership least I've never seen any evidence that they do.

Y'know, if I hadn't seen the law with my own eyes, I'd think this was all a really bad April Fool's joke gotten way out of hand. Of course maybe it is...

Seriously. This is like something from The Daily Show. Say, that gives me an idea! I think I'll write to them about this. They would eat this shit up!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

If You're a Terrorist, Please Tell Us!

All potential employees of the government of the state of Ohio must now submit a "Declaration Regarding Material Assistance to a Terrorist Organization" or D.M.A.

This also applies to any person or business wishing to contract with the state.

So what does this mean, exactly?

Well, it means that anyone applying for a job with state, county, or city government in Ohio must submit this D.M.A.

And what is the D.M.A. exactly?

Well, it consists of six questions:

1) Are you a member of an organization on the U.S. Department of State Terrorist Exclusion List (USDSTEL)?

2) Have you used any position of prominence you have with any country to persuade others to support an organization on the USDSTEL?

3) Have you knowlingly solicited funds or other things of value for an organization on the USDSTEL? (I guess if you did it unknowingly, it's OK!)

4) Have you solicited any individual for membership in an organization on the USDSTEL?

5) Have you committed an act that you know, or reasonably should have known, affords "material support or resources" to an organization on the USDSTEL?

6) Have you hired or compensated a person you knew to be a member of an organization on the USDSTEL, or a person you knew to be engaged in planning, assisting, or carrying out an act of terrorism?

I honestly don't know whether to laugh or cry.

But that's not the best part. No, the best part is what happens if any of the above questions is answered "yes":

"The issuing agency must deny the application and notify the Department of Public Safety's Homeland Security Division of the positive indication"

Translation: Not only will you NOT get the job/contract, but we'll report you to Homeland Security!

I swear to Christ I'm not making this up!

Seriously. Go here and see for yourself.

Let's break this down, shall we? Let me translate those questions into plain English:

1) Are you a terrorist?

2) Have you used the influence of your position to inspire others to become terrorists?

3) Did you raise money for terrorists?

4) Have you tried to turn anyone else into a terrorist?

5) Have you given money or other aid to terrorists?

6) Have you hired any terrorists?

Answering "yes" to any of those questions will, of course, not only result in you not being hired, or not getting the contract, but in YOUR being put on the Terrorist watch list yourself! In other words, answer yes and go directly to Gitmo. Do not pass go, do not collect $200!

How can anyone seriously expect anyone to take this seriously?!

One question: I'm a contributing member of Have they been placed on the Terrorist Exclusion List? 'Cause if they have, then I'd better quit my county job immediately and report to Gitmo.

This is what happens when incompetents are in charge.

Seriously. Imagine this conversation:

Government Bureaucrat #1: What if someone wants a government job or a state contract, but they're terrorists? How do we stop them?

Government Bureaucrat #2: I know! We'll ASK them if they're terrorists!

GB#1: Brilliant!

The mind...boggles.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Police State, Much?

There was a rally today of local union workers in downtown Toledo to show support for the embattled union of The Blade workers, the local newspaper. According to the news there were about 400 people there. They were surrounded by over 100 cops. Check out this picture of one of the nearby streets:

Now imagine that picture multiplied by a factor of ten, and you get some idea of how strong the police presence was.

Now I realize that just a few months ago, there was a large riot in the north end, sparked by a group of Neo-Nazis. And the police response to that was muffed at best, and downright incompetent at worst. But geez! That doesn't justify using the excuse of a presumably peaceful union rally into an excuse to turn downtown Toledo into a police state!

UPDATE (4/11/06, 2:00 p.m.) The Blade buried the story on page 7 of the Second News Section.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


So. I will not be burning all of my combined disks and VHS tapes of The West Wing.

Why? Because Matt Santos won a very close Presidential election on the show.

And, even with the death of John Spencer (Leo McGarry), the show has gone on. And in this the fictional world, the right person still wins.

You may recall that I swore to never watch the WW again if they allowed a Republican to be elected, no matter how likeable he was. Well, now, that's not a problem anymore.

Praise to you, NBC. You have re-gained my repect.

Try hard not to lose it again!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Hens Opener

Tonight was the home opener for the Toledo Mud Hens. It was a good night for baseball. The rain, which had been threatening all day, held off. It was about as warm as it gets in Toledo in early April, by which I mean you only needed to wear two layers of clothing instead of three. It was only marred by the fact that they lost a 1-0 pitcher's duel. Actually kinda boring.

Anyhoo, here's a few pics, taken with my spiffy new camera phone:

This is a shot of the Governor's cup, which they won last year for being IL champions.

This is a shot of the outfield. That guy in the blue jacket is Larry Parrish, the Hens' manager and last year's IL manager of the year.

And here's a shot of the stands. Officially, it was a sellout, but there were a lot of empty seats. I guess the weather probably affected that.

Well, here's hopin' they can repeat again this year. A lot of last year's players are back, but there are some new faces. You may recall I got a little excited last September when they were in game three of the GC finals. I hope I will be doing the same thing this year!

Play Ball!!!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

They Said it Better Than I could, Cont.

From the L.A. Times (A letter to the editor):

McCarthys still exist on the airwaves
April, 1 2006

TIM RUTTEN'S review of Tom Wicker's new biography of Sen. Joe McCarthy ["McCarthy's Very American Career," March 29] was excellent until the overly optimistic last sentence: "We're less likely to share [the paranoid political style] today, as we've all learned a great deal more about the paranoids' continuing capacity to make all of us suffer for their delusions."

McCarthy's paranoid style lives on today in Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and the other heroes of talk radio, especially in their ceaseless invention of horrible threats to their listeners' values (like O'Reilly's trumped-up "war on Christmas") and their insistence that anyone who disagrees with them is not merely wrong but must be pushing some sinister hidden agenda. And the fact that they are able to use the word "liberal" as a damning epithet for anyone they don't like, the way McCarthy used the word "Communist," just shows how successful they and the people who bankroll their shows and the conservative movement as a whole have been in moving America's discourse seemingly permanently to the right.

Somewhere there's a circle of the inferno in which Joe McCarthy is laughing his head off and savoring his sweet revenge against the liberals and true conservatives who disgraced him.


San Diego

Mark, I couldn't agree more. And I just wish I could be down there in that inferno and see O'Reilly's face when he gets there (the sooner, the better). Or Hannity's. Or Rush's. Maybe they'll videotape it for future generations of angels to enjoy.

Link to the page here (free registration required)

Friday, March 31, 2006

My Plan May be in Jeopardy

I had it all planned out this year. Y'see, before I went to work for my boss, the County Auditor (a Republican), I had voted in only one primary--as a Democrat. Every primary since then, I had not voted for any party, preferring to remain as a registered independent.

But then, in '00, I voted for John McCain. At the time, I liked what he had to say (I've since come to realize the error of my ways.) So I became a registered Republican (GASP!) Thus was my mailbox opened to a flood of Republican fundraising solicitations, requests for votes from candidates, and, of course, that infamous survey--You know, the one that asks questions along the lines of "Do you support the war on terror, or are you a worthless traitorous terrorist?"

At any rate, in 2002, my boss was facing a primary challenge, so I was once again forced to vote in the Republican primary, since it's good to be able to say that you voted for the boss. And in 2004, when he ran for congress (and lost), I again voted for him in the Republican primary.

But this year, I planned to vote in neither primary, and to once again place myself back in the blissful, political-junk-mail-free-mailbox realm of the registered independent voter. My boss is not facing any challengers in the primary, so there WAS no reason to vote in it

But then, along came Ken Blackwell. Ohio's Secretary of State, he is running for Governor this year. And he stands more than a good chance of winning.

I can't begin to describe how much I hate this man. He, the man in charge of counting votes in the state, ran DUIbya's (tm) re-election campaign in Ohio. I mean, just how impartial can someone in that position be?

BTW, the Reform Ohio issues, one of which would have taken responsibility for vote counting out of his hands, went down to ignominious defeat last November. It was a stunning example of what can happen when no expense is spared to defeat something. It may also have been a stunning example of what lengths a Secretary of State would go to to retain his power. I'm just sayin'!

So I may have to vote in the Republican primary yet again, just to be able to say I voted against Blackwell twice. But, by doing so, I will once again subject my poor mailbox to two more years of assault from the Republican party.

I'm not sure it's worth it.

Monday, March 27, 2006

One Year Later

One year ago, Terri Schiavo finally was at peace, having already died 15 years before.

The media had a field day with the case, with thousands of interviews with everyone from Jeb Bush to Crossing Over "psychic" John Edward.

The Republicans in congress got involved, and evenDUIbya (tm) himself took the unprecedented step of cutting short his vacation to return to D.C. to sign the legislation aimed specifically at the Schiavo case--which ultimately proved useless when the courts took the very wise, in my opinion, action of not getting involved.

So, one year later, now what?

To begin with, we have the autopsy. It showed that Terri's brain had been severely damaged, and that she had no hope of ever recovering. It also showed that she was blind, giving the lie to those who claimed she was reacting to people she saw in the room.

Then we have the governor, who, after the aforementioned autopsy results made him look stupid, asked a Florida prosecutor to investigate Michael on suspicion that he might have caused his wife's condition. This was a page from the "Beating a dead horse senseless" file.

Then we have Michael himself, who, in a giant "fuck you" to the people who put him and his family through hell for years, buried her under a grave marker with the following inscription: "Beloved Wife. Born December 3, 1963. Departed this Earth February 25, 1990. At peace March 31, 2005"

I really can't blame the guy for being bitter. People threatened the lives of him, his children, and the mother of his children. They called him a murderer, an abuser, and several other things that were much worse. He was universally vilified by the wright.

Quite frankly, the whole thing disgusted me. Four years and two months ago, my mother was in the hospital, dying. And at one point, we were faced with the decision of removing her from the respirator. Now, just imagine our reaction if the state governor, several United States Senators, and even the President of the United States, had come to our room and prevented us from doing it.

I don't know about you, but I would have been thrown in jail that night for assault. And I wouldn't have been alone.

So I had great sympathy for Michael and his wife back then, and I sympathize with him now. And if, by his recent actions, he drives another stake through the heart of the radical wright, then I say, more power to him.

And the to the monsters of the wright, I say this: Your day is coming. You have managed to corrupt the Republican party with your fanatical view of the world. And the day is coming when you will be forced to answer for your actions.

I just hope when that day comes, you won't take the rest of us down with you.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

You Might be a Redneck

Last week I got a forward from one of my redneck relatives entitled "You might be a redneck if..." I opened it, expecting humor, but instead I got a lot of sap. So I decided to get a little creative and expand on the original. So here it is, with my response to each point in parentheses:

You might be a redneck if: You've never protested about seeing the 10 Commandments posted in public places.
(probably because you couldn't read them...)

You might be a redneck if: You still say "Christmas" instead of "Winter Festival."
(Because you've never been to any place that actually has winter...)

You might be a redneck if: You bow your head when someone prays.
(But the last time YOU prayed was on the last frame of that perfect game you bowled 5 years ago)

You might be a redneck if: You stand and place your hand over your heart when they play the National Anthem.
(and you think it ends with the words, "Gentlemen, start your engines!")

You might be a redneck if: You treat Viet Nam vets with great respect, and always have.
(Like John Kerry, for example?)

You might be a redneck if: You've never burned an American flag.
(But you HAVE burned a cross on someone's front lawn.)

You might be a redneck if: You know what you believe and you aren't afraid to say so, no matter who is listening.
(as long as your wife doesn't hear.)

You might be a redneck if: You respect your elders and expect your kids to do the same.
(And if they don't, you'll beat them!)

You might be a redneck if: You'd give your last dollar to a friend.
(And by doing so, you gave away half of your family fortune)


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Iraq: 3 Years Later

So here we are. 3 years after the initial invasion. 2,317 American soldiers killed as of this writing, with 2,180 of those casualties coming since DUIbya declared "major combat operations have ended" while standing in front of a big "Mission Accomplished" banner. And more than seven times that number of troops wounded, many scarred or maimed for life.

I won't mention the cost of the war so far to the U.S. Just look at the counter to the right.

Meanwhile, read some of the quotes the various news pundits from the so-called "liberal media" were making once hostilities had started (thanks to for these:

"Now that the combat phase of the war in Iraq is officially over, what begins is a debate throughout the entire U.S. government over America's unrivaled power and how best to use it."
(CBS reporter Joie Chen, 5/4/03)

"Congress returns to Washington this week to a world very different from the one members left two weeks ago. The war in Iraq is essentially over and domestic issues are regaining attention."
(NPR's Bob Edwards, 4/28/03)

"Tommy Franks and the coalition forces have demonstrated the old axiom that boldness on the battlefield produces swift and relatively bloodless victory. The three-week swing through Iraq has utterly shattered skeptics' complaints."
(Fox News Channel's Tony Snow, 4/27/03)

"The only people who think this wasn't a victory are Upper Westside liberals, and a few people here in Washington."
(Charles Krauthammer, Inside Washington, WUSA-TV, 4/19/03)

"We had controversial wars that divided the country. This war united the country and brought the military back."
(Newsweek's Howard Fineman--MSNBC, 5/7/03)

This is just a small sampling. To read the rest, you can go here.

And, of course, the President keeps stumping, trying to rally support for a war that is rapidly spiraling out of control.

How did we get into this so deep? Where is the outrage? Where are the cries of "Shame"? Have we, as a nation, become so complacent that we are content to sit back and allow our misleaders to get away with anything?!

How much longer does the liberal blogosphere have to continue to shout at the top of its lungs before the rest of the country finally hears a Who?

(With apologies to Dr. Seuss)

Good night, and good luck.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Murrow for a Minute

Last week, I submitted my own entry in Crooks and Liars "Murrow for a Minute" contest. The idea was to create a short sentence that sounded like something the revered Edward R. Murrow might say.

(By the way, if you haven't already seen "Good Night and Good Luck", then GO SEE IT!)

Anyhoo, here's what I wrote:

"If the definition of patriotism is love of country, then would we not be considered unpatriotic if we did not love our country enough to stand up to those who would destroy it, no matter who they may be? Throughout history, far too many tragedies have come to pass because this did not happen. And if we as a people do not wish to be relegated to the dustbin of history, then we as a people MUST do ourselves what our political leaders have sworn, but failed, to do: To defend the Constitution against ALL enemies, foreign AND domestic."

Alas, I was not one of the 37 finalists, but I thought I would throw my entry up here, so it doesn't get lost in the crowd.

And maybe it's nothing like Murrow might have said, but we will never know for sure.

Murrow knew how to speak truth to power. And he was not afraid to go against the establishment. How many people in the traditional media can we say that about today?

Not many.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Gather 'Round, Children...

...and let me tell you a little story:

Imagine that you want to become the president of the largest and most powerful corporation in the world. You are not really qualified to head this corporation, since your only education consists of a questionable Masters Degree in Business, at a college where you were able to obtain admission only through your family’s influence, and where you were little more than a mediocre student at best, and at worst a drunken frat boy who partied his way through school and only graduated thanks to the same family influence. You have no real practical experience in business—and every company you started after you graduated you ran into the ground. Your only executive experience is a short stint as the director of a small subsidiary of the larger corporation, a position you were again able to obtain through family money and influence. And your record while in that position was spotty at best. You are not qualified to become the president of anything, let alone the most powerful corporation in the world

However, you are a strong candidate for the position, mostly because you are so much different from the previous president, who was a smart and shrewd businessman but who was sadly also a compulsive womanizer who was plagued by scandals and constantly harassed by the hostile Board of Directors. You also have a massive supply of funds to draw on, since the wealthiest stockholders always support your group. Also, your only opponent for the position was executive vice president under the former president and is forever stained by that association. He faces additional opposition from a small fringe group among the stockholders that has endorsed its own candidate for president. Of course, this candidate has no chance of winning, but he will take much needed stockholder votes away from your chief opponent.

In spite of all these advantages, you still face a tough battle. And even though more stockholders vote for your chief opponent than you, through a bizarre and outdated rule involving regions of the election, you still win, and an arbitration panel strongly biased in your favor upholds your slim victory. Of course, it also helped that the person in charge of counting the votes in one of the disputed regions also ran your campaign in that region...

At first, though, none of this matters. You have a folksy, down-home kind of charm that initially appeals to both the stockholders and the board of directors. You have a strong stockholder approval rating. You appoint several new members to your executive committee, many of whom were on the executive committee under your father, a previous company president. You even appoint an executive vice president who is generally regarded as a highly competent businessman who will help make up for your shortcomings, even though he is in questionable health.

Eventually, however, the stockholders begin to realize your many flaws. They recognize your lack of proper qualifications as a leader, your lack of experience in business, and even your general lack of ability to command the English language!

They also begin to notice the many blunders you make in the operation of your business, as you return to many of the fiscal policies that caused your company to experience huge losses and massive debt in the past.

They also begin to notice your inability to maintain good relations with other companies, who were once considered strong corporate allies, but who now are beginning to shun you. It has even gotten to the point where two of your largest competitors, who make products that technologically inferior but have massive reserves of manpower and natural resources to draw on, have begun to openly discuss the prospect of combining their efforts to hold your corporation in check.

The stockholders also notice that the board of directors, which was once firmly behind you, has begun to draw away from your ill-advised policies. It has even gotten to the point where one of the members of the board who used to support you has become so disgusted with your activities that he has openly declared his opposition to you, and will now be voting against you most of the time.

As all this begins to add up and more and more stockholders begin to disapprove of you, you decide to use the corporation's large cash reserves to pay a dividend to all the stockholders in a last-ditch effort to BUY their support. Soon, however, you discover that due to a significant error in the accounting department, you don't have NEARLY as much cash available as you thought.

"No problem" you say, "We'll just borrow a huge sum of money in order to keep paying the dividends. Never mind that this will create even more debt for the company--We promised the stockholders those dividends and we're going to pay them, even if we end up paying massive amounts of interest on the money we borrow to do it. Who cares if this goes against all laws of basic economics?"

But hey, it still doesn’t work! Your stockholder approval rating is still lower than ever, and your company is hemorrhaging money.

But then, disaster strikes! In one single day, a major foreign competitor initiates a massive attack against your company, wiping out many of your assets and destroying the lives of thousands of your stockholders. Your support suddenly soars, as panicked stockholders look to any anchor they can find to help them weather this particular storm.

This attack assumes almost mythical proportions as you start to use it as justification for everything you do. You engage in open warfare with your competitors. You pass new corporate rules that allow you to suspend the rights of stockholders at will. Anyone who speaks out against your policies is branded as a traitor to the company. The attack takes on a life of its own and you bring it up whenever anyone questions your policies. In fact, you seem to work it into your response anytime anyone asks you anything!

And, worse yet, you are able to use the attack as a justification for a massive takeover of an insignificant enemy, who had nothing to do with the attack on your company. And although the initial takeover is easy, you find that running this company in the aftermath has become a logistical nightmare, demanding that you continue to pour money and resources into it with little or no return on your investments.

A couple of years later, due to these ill-advised fiscal policies and P.R. blunders, your corporation has massive debts, it has lost its status as a major player in the business world, and your international competitors hate your guts and are working to undermine your operations any way they can.

But you still soldier on, continuing to give generous benefits to the wealthy stockholders while ignoring those who actually need them. Your company is despoiling the environment as all regulations instituted by the previous president are thrown out. Employees are being laid off by the thousands, but the wealthy stockholders don’t care as long as you continue to line their pockets. In fact, nobody seems to care. The damage you are doing to the future of your company may be irreversible, and yet STILL nobody seems to care. You instigated an unjustified and massive takeover of one of your competitors who had NOTHING to do with the big attack, and STILL people don’t care!

Now, you are due to face re-election, but the opposition candidates are bitterly divided among themselves, so you are probably going to be re-elected. The company’s financial situation is grim, but somehow you have managed to keep any stockholders from realizing this. You continue to distract the stockholders’ attention with continuous corporate warfare with rival international corporations, most of which are no real competition for you. You justify these wars with reasons that are flimsy at best, and outright lies at worst. And, the fact that you are beating up on your weaker competitors is destroying what little respect you still have with other international businesses. As a result, more people hate your company than ever before, and continue to work to undermine your interests.

But none of this matters. Through a clever campaign of lies, slanderous attacks, and disinformation, helpfully spread by a willing media, you defeat your opponent by a VERY slim margin. You take this tiny majority as a mandate from the stockholders to do whatever you want. You immediately set about trying to dismantle the pension system that has kept your retired employees living comfortably for decades. You do this because you believe the advisors that tell you you can do whatever you want because “the stockholders have spoken”.

But the stockholders are wising up. They are beginning to realize just what a complete disaster your policies are. They are made even more aware of the incompetence of your administration when you demonstrate your ineptitude by totally mis-handling a major disaster at one of your corporation's major holdings. They also learn that you have been secretly spying on the lives of several of your own stockholders, in direct violation of both company rules and even the laws of the country.

You've created a disaster People all over the globe view your company with venomous hate. Your company books are a disaster. The board of directors, still controlled by your faction, continues to rubberstamp everything you do, even though they realize most of your decisions will have disastrous effects on your company. Thanks to policies you have instituted, you have managed to drop your company from a long period of success and prosperity into disaster and bankruptcy. You have succeeded admirably in taking the reputation of your corporation from one to be admired and respected to one to be feared and shunned in the international community. The damage you have done will take years to repair. If it can be repaired...

Good job!

>>>This story is entirely a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons or events is entirely coincidental. Or is it?