Sunday, October 31, 2010

I am in Awe

Of the phenomenon that is Jon Stewart.

Yesterday, I watched in amazement the three hour "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" that Stewart and company were able to organize in just a couple of months. I watched as several well-known entertainment personalities lent their time and talent to this massive, incredible undertaking. I gazed in wonder as the camera panned over a National mall filled shoulder to shoulder with people, from the monument to the Capitol building. (Seriously. There were easily a hundred thousand people there.) I watched the wonderfully funny banter between Stewart and his "conservative" counterpart Stephen Colbert. And I cringed as I heard Stewart try to sing.

(Piece of advice, Jon: Don't quit your night job!)

And then I watched in awe as Stewart gave a funny, insightful, intelligent, touching, and at times awe-inspiring speech to the assembled masses that touched me deeply. Rather than spoil it by trying to remember what he said, here is a transcript:

And now I thought we might have a moment, however brief, for some sincerity. If that's okay - I know that there are boundaries for a comedian / pundit / talker guy, and I'm sure that I'll find out tomorrow how I have violated them.

So, uh, what exactly was this? I can't control what people think this was: I can only tell you my intentions.

This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith, or people of activism, or look down our noses at the heartland, or passionate argument, or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear--they are, and we do.

But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus, and not be enemies. But unfortunately, one of our main tools in delineating the two broke.

The country's 24-hour, political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems, bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen. Or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire, and then perhaps host a week of shows on the dangerous, unexpected flaming ants epidemic. If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.

There are terrorists, and racists, and Stalinists, and theocrats, but those are titles that must be earned! You must have the resume! Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Party-ers, or real bigots and Juan Williams or Rick Sanchez is an insult--not only to those people, but to the racists themselves, who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate. Just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe, not more.

The press is our immune system. If it overreacts to everything, we actually get sicker--and, perhaps, eczema. And yet... I feel good. Strangely, calmly, good. Because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false. It is us, through a funhouse mirror--and not the good kind that makes you look slim in the waist, and maybe taller, but the kind where you have a giant forehead, and an ass shaped like a month-old pumpkin, and one eyeball.

So why would we work together? Why would you reach across the aisle, to a pumpkin-assed forehead eyeball monster? If the picture of us were true, of course our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable--why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution, and homophobes who see no one's humanity but their own?

We hear every damned day about how fragile our country is, on the brink of catastrophe, torn by polarizing hate, and how it's a shame that we can't work together to get things done. The truth is, we do! We work together to get things done every damned day! The only place we don't is here (in Washington) or on cable TV!

But Americans don't live here, or on cable TV. Where we live, our values and principles form the foundation that sustains us while we get things done--not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done.

Most Americans don't live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do. Often something they do not want to do! But they do it. Impossible things, every day, that are only made possible through the little, reasonable compromises we all make.

(Points to video screen, showing video of cars in traffic.) Look on the screen. This is where we are, this is who we are. These cars. That's a schoolteacher who probably think his taxes are too high, he's going to work. There's another car, a woman with two small kids, can't really think about anything else right now... A lady's in the NRA, loves Oprah. There's another car, an investment banker, gay, also likes Oprah. Another car's a Latino carpenter; another car, a fundamentalist vacuum salesman. Atheist obstetrician. Mormon Jay-Z fan.

But this is us. Every one of the cars that you see is filled with individuals of strong belief, and principles they hold dear--often principles and beliefs in direct opposition to their fellow travelers'. And yet, these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze, one by one, into a mile-long, 30-foot-wide tunnel, carved underneath a mighty river.

And they do it, concession by concession: you go, then I'll go. You go, then I'll go. You go, then I'll go. 'Oh my God--is that an NRA sticker on your car?' 'Is that an Obama sticker on your car?' It's okay--you go, then I go.

And sure, at some point, there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder, and cuts in at the last minute. But that individual is rare, and he is scorned, and he is not hired as an analyst!

Because we know, instinctively, as a people, that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light, we have to work together. And the truth is there will always be darkness, and sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn't the promised land.

Sometimes, it's just New Jersey. But we do it anyway. Together.

If you wanna know why I'm here and what I want from you, I can only assure you this: You have already given it to me. Your presence was what I wanted. Sanity will always be and has always been in the eye of the beholder. And to see you here today, and the kind of people that you are, has restored mine. Thank you.

And here's a video of it. Take 12 minutes out of your life and watch. You won't be disappointed:

It may not be quite the equal of MLK's "I Have a Dream", but it's right up there.

I pray that Stewart confines his activities to his TV show, and is not tempted by the lure of politics. He could never do the what he does best as a politician.

And to those "news" organizations that forbade their reporters or correspondents from attending the rally (for fear they might be called "liberal"), may I say, "PHBLLLLTTT!"

That goes double for you, NPR! You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

These People Will Be Voting

And if they get the candidates they want, then God help this country.

I weep for the dying IQ of this nation.

I beg you, the three readers of this blog, to please, please, PLEASE vote for ANYONE but the TEA party candidates. We cannot afford to have these people leading this country.

Echoing the Voices of Others

Taken word for word from The Daily Kos
(Just trying to make sure enough people hear this!)


1. What was the average monthly private sector job growth in 2008, the final year of the Bush presidency, and what has it been so far in 2010?

2. What was the Federal deficit for the last fiscal year of the Bush presidency, and what was it for the first full fiscal year of the Obama presidency?

3. What was the stock market at on the last day of the Bush presidency? What is it at today?

4. Which party's candidate for speaker will campaign this weekend with a Nazi reenactor who dressed up in a SS uniform?


1. In 2008, we lost an average of 317,250 private sector jobs per month. In 2010, we have gained an average of 95,888 private sector jobs per month. (Source) That's a difference of nearly five million jobs between Bush's last year in office and President Obama's second year.

2. In FY2009, which began on September 1, 2008 and represents the Bush Administration's final budget, the budget deficit was $1.416 trillion. In FY2010, the first budget of the Obama Administration, the budget deficit was $1.291 trillion, a decline of $125 billion. (Source) Yes, that means President Obama has cut the deficit -- there's a long way to go, but we're in better shape now than we were under Bush and the GOP.

3. On Bush's final day in office, the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 closed at 7,949, 1,440, and 805, respectively. Today, as of 10:15AM Pacific, they are at 11,108, 2,512, and 1,183. That means since President Obama took office, the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 have increased 40%, 74%, and 47%, respectively.

4. The Republican Party, whose candidate for speaker, John Boehner, will campaign with Nazi re-enactor Rich Iott this weekend. If you need an explanation why this is offensive, you are a lost cause.

The moral of the story is this: if you vote Republican, I hope you enjoy Election Day -- because you're not going to like what comes next.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


It has come to the attention of the country that the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas has been reported as having sent a voicemail to Anita Hill asking her to apologize for her testimony during his Senate confirmation hearings.

I hardly know where to begin.

In terms of intelligent ideas, I'd like to list a few that ranked higher than that:

"Let's return to our base of occupation by marching in a straight column down a clearly marked road, with plenty of cover for firing positions down either side of that road, after every rebel in the country we occupy has been informed of where we will be marching!"

"Let's charge straight into the teeth of a massed army of artillery, rifles, and small arms after we've been here for 3 days and have alerted our enemies to exactly where we will be attacking next."

"Let's fill a giant cylindrical shaped balloon with an extremely explosive gas, cover the outside of that balloon with the same material that future generations will know is an ideal component for solid rocket boosters, and then fly that balloon into a region that is know for experiencing electrical storms."

By the way, if any of the 3 readers of this blog have missed the historical references I cited above, then you are not nearly as clever as I have given you credit for. You are invited to explain otherwise in the comments.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

We Love Marcy!

Marcy Kaptur, the opponent of Rich Iott, aka Der Fuhrer, has been running ads featuring a World War II veteran praising her accomplishments in bringing benefits to WW2 vets and ensuring the WW2 memorial came into existence.

This, after pictures surfaced of Mr. Iott posing for pictures and smiling in a Waffen SS uniform.

Subtle as a sledehammer.

Marcy Kaptur has been good to Northwest Ohio over the past several years. And I was insulted when this TEA party hack tried to unseat her. This SOB who is about as qualified to hold high political office as Woody Woodpecker.

I hope you get beaten 90 to 10, Mr. Iott. It is ridiculous to think that anyone with a reasonable modicum of intelligence would ever vote for you. The only reason you will get any votes at all is that there are a LOT of stupid people in this world.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Very Disappointing

I happened to be on a few minutes ago and I saw the returns of movies over the weekend:

Jackass 3-(D): $50 million
RED: $22.5 million.

I don't know what is more disappointing: The fact that enough people in this country are fans of the Jackass franchise to spawn not one, not two, but THREE movies, or the fact that this 3rd Jackass movie managed to out-perform a very funny, very clever movie starring 2 Academy Award winning actors by a factor of more than 2 to 1 at the box office.

I've said it before and I'll continue to say it again, as many times as it takes: I weep for the dying IQ of this nation.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Type A Positive

That's my blood type, folks.

I don't think I'm giving away too much personal information by telling you, the three readers of this blog, that information.

I am a regular whole blood donor. And as of this morning, I have voluntarily donated 72 pints of whole blood. For those keeping score, that's 9 gallons of whole blood donated over the course of the last nearly 20 years.

There's not a lot of things in my life that I am too proud of, but that's one of them.

72 pints means I've helped save the lives of as few as 72 people, and as many as 216 (each pint of whole blood can save from 1 to 3 people. By the law of averages, that's 2 people per pint. Not too shabby.)

Also please remember that the average adult human body contains approximately 6 pints of blood. So I have now donated the equivalent of 12 times my total blood supply.

I was also once what the American Red Cross calls a "CMV Hero", meaning my blood did not contain the antibodies formed when you contract what is called Cytomegalovirus. This is a virus that causes a mild fever in any normal healthy person, but can cause severe danger to persons with compromised immune systems, like premature infants, transplant patients, or cancer victims (like my mom was, God rest her soul), for example. I don't know if I still am one (most people never even realize they get this illness, since it is so mild in any normal, healthy person) but it gave me a good feeling when I learned it. It still does, to some extent.

I encourage anyone reading this to become a volunteer blood donor. It only takes about an hour out of a normal day. The process is completely safe. And it really doesn't hurt as much as everyone thinks. Of course, if you donate as often as I do, you tend to develop scar tissue on your vein, which makes it hurt more than normal.

But that is a small price to pay. And you get a good feeling when you realize how easy it can be to save someone's life. Believe me, I know.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Right in Rich Iott's Face!

When der Fuhrer sez, "Ve iz de master race!"
Ve "Heil" (thplbtt), "Heil" (thplbtt), right in Der Fuhrer's face!

Yes folks, the immortal words of Spike Jones. (the original).

Why, you may ask, am I quoting Spike Jones?

Well, it seems that Rich Iott, Repuglican candidate for Ohio's 9th congressional district, has been photographed numerous times wearing the uniform of a Waffen SS officer, which he apparently donned repeatedly to re-enact WW2 battles.

I hardly know where to begin.

First of all, I have yet to understand the appeal of re-enacting war battles. World War 2 was a massive cataclysm that engulfed nearly the entire world in death and destruction. It saw the deployment of one of the most destructive weapons ever conceived by man. It saw the rise to power of a vicious and cruel dictator who oversaw the deaths of over six million innocent people. And now, a Repuglican candidate for THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES has been revealed to have regularly donned the uniform of one of that madman's most loyal footsoldiers in the name of "reliving history".

If his opponent, Marcy Kaptur, had any sense, she would simply sit back and let the media pick this man clean to the bone. She hasn't done this yet. I hope she will. Soon.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Mr Kasich Goes to Hollywood

The Ohio gubernatorial race currently stands between incumbent Governor Ted Strickland and challenger John Kasich.

Kasich has, for reasons passing understanding, held a commanding lead in every poll for months now. He has done this by accusing Strickland of allowing hundreds of thousands of Ohio jobs to be lost under his watch. Never mind the fact that these jobs were lost due to policies enacted under George W. Bush and a Republican Congress--Policies which plunged this country--and the world--into a recession the likes of which has not been seen since the Great Depression.

And never mind the fact that Kasich left his job in Congress to go to work for Lehman Brothers. You may recall what happened to them.

Now Kasich is back in Ohio, saying that his Wall Street experience is exactly what Ohio needs to pull itself out of its economic slump. How in the hell is this man polling above single digits?!

I realize that there is a general backlash against all Democrats after people found out that the mess created by Duhbya and his cronies couldn't be fixed overnight. I don't know why that surprised anyone. It took FDR eight years of massive government spending on Federal programs to lift this country out of the depths of the Great Depression.

Now, in Kasich's latest commercial, he has a paid Hollywood actor posing as an out-of-work steelworker accusing Strickland of costing Ohio its steel jobs. Now bear in mind that this is an industry decimated by cheap imports and hopelessly outdated manufacturing techniques. But that's not the point. Kasich apparently was unable to find a real steelworker to speak out for him, so he resorted to a paid actor (and not a very good one at that--maybe that's why he thought people wouldn't catch on).

Governor Strickland has spent the last 4 years trying desperately to hold this state together with both hands. I was proud to have voted for him. I will be proud to do so again.

As for you, Mr. Kasich, go back to Wall Street and see how many more banks you can run into the ground.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Can Someone Please Explain?

As of the writing of this entry, the latest polls show that the voters are prepared to elect a minimum of 48 Repuglicans to the Senate, with God knows how many Congressmen.

I have to ask: Why?!!

A Repuglican Congress, led by Duhbya as its cheerleader, enacted the policies that have planted our economy in the position it is in today.

And now people want to go BACK to those same policies?!

To blame is the Supreme Court, (under the unwise leadership of a Chief Justice who is so stupid he couldn't remember the words to the Presidential Oath of Office) which decided that corporations are citizens, with all the free speech protections therein. Wholly supporting that decision are the Neo-cons who equate money with free speech, and who think labor unions have equal spending power with corporations.

This election will see Repuglicans win 9 out of every 10 offices that they run for, after being fully bought and paid for by their corporate sponsors. Mark my words.

The most long-term damage that the Presidency of George W. Bush created can be summed up in 3 words: Roberts and Alito.

Welcome to government of the Corporation, by the Corporation, and for the Corporation.