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?


Thursday, March 02, 2006

This Guy Should Pick Stocks...

Take a look at this cartoon from back in April 2003.

Scary how prescient this guy was, don'tcha think?

Thanks to Air America Radio for the tip!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I'm an Uncle!

No name yet. 8 lb 6 oz, 21 inches.

Welcome to the world, little guy. We'll try to keep it in one piece until you're ready to take it on yourself!