Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Those Were the Days

Saw a post over at OneUtah that got me thinking about the Bush years. It hasn’t even been 12 months since Obama was inaugurated, but already I’m feeling nostalgic for the prior occupant of the White House in an odd sort of way. So, I thought I’d compile a short list of some of my favorite GW moments just for old-time’s sake. Man, those were the days, weren’t they?

(Breaks into song)

Boy the way Steve Miller played
Songs that made the hit parade.
Guys like us we had it made,
Those were the days.

And you knew who you were then,
Girls were girls and men were men,
Mister we could use a man
Like Ronald Reagan again.

Didn't need no welfare state,
Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee our old LaBaron ran great.
Those were the days.

In no particular order:

Bush Issues a Pre-Katrina Declaration of Emergency for Louisiana Which Covers the Wrong Parishes

On or about August 25, 2005, President Bush issued a pre-emptive Statement on Federal Emergency Assistance for the State of Louisiana in light of the approaching disaster that was Hurricane Katrina. Problem was the declaration only covered the non-coastal parishes in Louisiana. Those parishes that were near or on the coast, those parishes that would ultimately take the brunt of Katrina’s wrath, were curiously not covered by the emergency declaration. You’re doing a heck-of-a job Brownie!

Bush Massages Merkel

In July of 2006, President Bush attended the G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg along with a cadre of other foreign dignitaries, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the only female in attendance. During the summit, with cameras rolling, Bush approached Merkel from behind while she spoke with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and gave her a little rub down. A visibly startled and uncomfortable Merkel immediately threw her arms up in the air and then, as the Los Angeles Time reported, charitably “smiled.” The episode went viral and earned the President the title “Groper in Chief” by the blogosphere.

It’s Just a Goddamned Piece of Paper

In late 2005, Republican leaders met with President Bush in the oval office to discuss renewal of the USA Patriot Act. During those discussions, the President was told by the Republican leadership that his unrelenting push to renew some of the more egregious provisions of that Act could carry negative political consequences to which King George reportedly responded, "I don't give a goddamn. I'm the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way." Mr. Bush was then tactfully informed that that some of the Act’s provisions were also constitutionally suspect which evoked this little gem from the top guardian and protector of our Constitution: “Stop throwing the Constitution in my face! It's just a goddamned piece of paper!"

Fool Me Once

And finally, on September 17, 2002, President Bush was giving a speech in Nashville, Tennessee. As was often his style, the President was trying to be folksy and connect with his audience, but his penchant for malapropisms got the better of him resulting in this humorous and now infamous doozy: “There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.”

Bonus Feature

Ok, this doesn't involve Bush per se, but since it involves a Bush and it is such a classic, I'm appending it to this post as a bonus feature.

George Herbert Walker Bush Barfs on the Japanese Prime Minister

On January 8, 1992, President George H.W. Bush attended a State dinner along with some 135 other diplomats at the home of the Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa. The dinner followed an evening of tennis with Japan’s Emperor described by Time’s Asia correspondent Peter McKillop as “brutal.” “[T]he Crown Prince, to use a Texas term, kicked George Bush's butt on the court. George senior is a pretty competitive guy and almost killed himself trying to cover for his lousy doubles partner, a former U.S. ambassador to Japan....” Apparently, the exertion of the tennis match caught up to the President at the state dinner where he barfed into Prime Minister Miyazawa’s lap and then fainted. The incident coined a new phrase in Japan, Bushu-suru, which means “to do the Bush thing.”

Next up: Obama really takes a bow.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Hate Courtesy of Ventura County, California

For your reading pleasure. A smattering of comments posted by VC residents in my local rag. Enjoy!

Posted by Pookaluke in response to a story of a local church honoring 4 homeless people that lost their lives:

“Leftist-liberalism has now really taken their wackoism too far. A, "National Homeless Memorial Day" for crying out loud? I'm not against helping homeless people by any means, but to relate a "national homeless day," to maybe that of our special "memorial day" in May to honor our military dead is just ludicrous. Why not honor homeless folks who've gotten a job and got back on their feet. Look people make choices that get them in their predicaments. This story is just another leftist-liberal jab that keeps getting jammed down our throats!

Many homeless folks don't want to help themselves.

It won't be soon that the leftist-liberals will concoct a memorial day for just about every segment of society.”

Posted by FergusTwoarJr in response to a story about a bicyclist who was hit and killed by a motorist:

“Like my Uncle Ervin always says, if you're going to be stupid, be prepared to die.”

Posted by Handy_Hood in response to a story about a local flight school owned by an Italian-American that caters to Indians, Europeans and Middle-Easterners:

“An Italian (socialist) teaching middle eastern (jihad)to fly in America. Nah, no suspicion there!!!”

Posted by Frank14 in response to a story detailing the 2009 growth rate of Ventura County:

“So more productive citizens moved out of the state to be replaced by illegal aliens?”

Posted by Irgvanman#241659 in response to that same story:

“Sad to say I have thoughts on leaving as many others have. I know if I did, I would be replaced by my conquering neighbor of the South who seem to be buying up much of the foreclosures. Remember the "Day without a Mexican" protest? A day without a white man is not possible due to the fact that many of these folks have interbred and are now mixed Caucasians. Ever notice that? Communication with them often is hindered while they are speaking the other white man's language of which originated from Europe's Spain.”

Posted by Tanker in response to that same story:

“Obama is an alien.”

Posted by CherokeeKid in response to a story about the EPA’s determination that Greenhouse gases endanger human health:

“Just more power grabbing fascism from the Marxist Obama administration.”

Posted by TO_cracker in response to a story about the dedication of a Habitat for Humanity duplex:

“Giving away condos to illegal aliens does nothing to help the community. It just makes the news and encourages more economic refugees from around the world to come here and sop up the gravy.”

Posted by WakeUpObamaDrones in response to a story on the local unemployment rate:

“Since Bush has left office, we have already had the WORST TERRORIST ATTACK since 9/11 under Obama's watch! And trust me, what happened at Fort Hood is going to look like a "day at Disneyland" compared to what is coming! Obama and his ilk are making it VERY easy for the terrorists to attack us again. But NEXT time, it will be MUCH worse! And I PRAY I am wrong!
But the people that I know who deal with protecting america tell me their coming and it's going to be bad!

And do you think it's a "great idea" to give MORE RIGHTS to TERRORISTS than Obama does to our own TROOPS? Which he most certainly is!

No Bob, unlike A Obama Drone, I can debate anybody all day long. Why? Because the "truth will set you free"!

And the TRUTH is that Obama is COMMITTED to defeating the United States from WITHIN!

Do I think he hates America and is trying to destroy us? YES, and he'll say it too. Just lisen to his "apology tours in foreign countires" and you'll hear it with your own ears!

It would be one thing if Obama was just dumb and didn't know the HARM he is causing America!
But Obama is NOT dumb. He is an evil, caculating Marxist, who is trying to destroy America to the point where we will NOT be the most powerful Country on earth ever again!

Barrack Hussein Obama is the most DANGEROUS threat to America since Adolph Hitler!

But the difference is, Obama WILL be successful if DESTROYING America!!

God Help US!!!!!!!!!!!!”

God help us indeed!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Innocence and Anger

So, did you happen to catch the recent headlines about the case involving James Bain? Mr. Bain is 54 years old. Mr. Bain is black. In 1974 Mr. Bain was convicted of kidnapping and raping a 9-year old boy and sent to prison to serve a life sentence for that crime. Mr. Bain served 35 years of his sentence. Then, on December 17, 2009 Mr. Bain walked out of prison a free man after DNA evidence conclusively proved that he was innocent. The DNA evidence did not prove that Mr. Bain was “not guilty” mind you. It proved that he was innocent.

Since the advent of DNA testing technology, Mr. Bain has been lobbying justice officials to conduct genetic testing on samples taken from the crime scene. At least four times Mr. Bain petitioned to have the genetic evidence tested. At each and every turn, these efforts were rebuffed by justice officials aided by the courts. Rebuffed by those very same people whose supposed mission in life is a “search for the truth.” Rebuffed until the Innocence Project took up his cause.

Mr. Bain was a 19 year old kid when he was sent away to be forgotten. Now he’s going home to see his mama as a graying pre-senior. He’s going home to resume his interrupted studies in reading and writing. He’s going home to try to re-learn how to live his life. He’s going home to pick up whatever pieces of that life remain. But he’s not going home angry.

Mr. Bain has lost 3½ decades of his life. Thirty-five fucking years! How does he make up for that? How do we make it up to him? What can we possible say to Mr. Bain to make amends for our crimes against him? “I’m sorry Mr. Bain?” “You’re a free man Mr. Bain?” “Good Luck Mr. Bain?” That’s what we say to make ourselves feel better so that we can pretend we’re contrite and then hurry and forget about the whole sordid affair. That may be salve for our guilty souls, but it just doesn’t seem anywhere near adequate the dress the irreparable wound we have inflicted.

I’ve heard it said that these types of cases prove that the system works. To the contrary, it proves that there is something seriously wrong with the system. A system that deprives an innocent person of their liberty for 3½ decades isn’t working. A system that refuses to dispassionately and objectively conduct post-conviction DNA analyses to guard against the possibility of a wrongful conviction because of a failure to adhere to procedural niceties isn’t working. A system that allows police and prosecutors to ignore and/or withhold exonerating evidence for no purpose other than to pad conviction ratios isn’t working. A system that relies upon subtle racism in order to convict a disproportionate number of black and brown men isn’t working. A system that is completely unresponsive to those with lesser or no financial means isn’t working. And a system that allows us to close our eyes to this travesty and go on living smug in the belief that our ways are irreproachable isn’t working.

I can’t wrap my mind around Mr. Bain’s lack of anger. Perhaps after thirty-five years of pain, suffering, and isolation his anger has simply been drained from him. Or perhaps he’s just a bigger man than I. Whichever it is, he need not worry. I’ll volunteer to be angry enough for the both of us.

Visit the Innocence Project on-line at http://www.innocenceproject.org

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Demand Climate Justice

On Tuesday, April 28, 2009, at the Frank E. Moss Courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City, University of Utah student Tim DeChristopher will be arraigned on felony charges stemming from his disruption of the illegal BLM oil and gas lease auction held during the last throws of the Bush administration. Bidder70.0rg is holding a rally before Tim's arraignment and a march to the courthouse. Attend if you can and bring along a friend or three to show your support for Tim and his courageous act. Visit http://www.bidder70.org/ and http://oneutah.org/ for more information.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Siriusly Affirming the Stereotype

Sirius Satellite and XM Radio are two of the great inventions of the modern era and a much needed antidote to the constant inanity, blather and hucksterism that is A.M. and F.M. radio. After all, where else can you get the Grateful Dead twenty-four hours a day without interruption?

Despite the bewildering array of options that Sirius and XM offer, I guess I’m a bit of a creature of habit because I rarely venture beyond the 46-57 range on XM. But the other day, I broke out of that mold and went on a quest for new experiences. Listening to the same genre of music day after day was getting stale and I wanted to see if I could broaden my horizons.

So I’m cruising through the channels- Hip Hop/R & B, Jazz and Blues, Classical, Dance and Electronica, Latin- when I stumbled upon OutQ Radio (Sirius 109/ XM 98). OutQ is satellite radio’s Gay and Lesbian channel. It promotes itself as “News, Information and Entertainment for the Gay and Lesbian Community,” Gay radio, who knew?

I don’t fall into OutQ’s demographic, but I was intrigued enough by the concept of Gay radio to listen in (as long as I could stand to as it turned out) on my drive home. I must have hit upon the “Entertainment” portion of OutQ’s programming as what I heard certainly didn’t qualify under any objective standard as “News” or “Information.”

The program that was being broadcast was a show called “Derek and Romaine.” Derek is a gay man; Romaine is his female counterpart. The riveting subject of their show was a lesbian sorority at the University of Pennsylvania and their guest was the President of that sorority. Without getting into the whole “gay issue,” it was dreadfully dull radio made worse by Romaine’s litany of inane comments and constant, insecure snickering.

So before I go into my tirade, here’s the obligatory disclaimer. Personally, I don’t give a rat’s ass if a man wants to be with another man or a woman wants to be with another woman. It’s no skin off of my wiener either way. In fact, I find the whole raging debate about gay rights to be pretty silly. Gays should have the same rights that everyone else in this country enjoys. Period.

But here’s the thing that is really annoying. Gays and lesbians are constantly preaching to the heterosexual world about the evils of stereotyping them while they continually play to the stereotype. OutQ in general, and Derek and Romaine in particular, are perfect examples. Specifically, Derek spoke with a pronounced and affected lisp. Who really speaks like that? Damn few people that I have encountered unless they were gay men trying mighty hard to advertise to the world their gayness. Romaine, on the other hand, seemed fixated on the hook-up prospects that a lesbian sorority would afford and constantly pushed the discussion in that direction. She would ask with baited breath (and apparent envy) about who was banging whom and the intimate details about the gay sexual escapades of the sisters.

Can these guys get any less clear on the concept? We're told all gay men don’t prance around speaking with an effeminate lisp. But then “Gay radio” broadcasts a show hosted by a gay guy who, true to the stereotype, speaks with a lisp. We’re also told that the gay culture is not necessarily centered upon gay sex. But here again is OutQ, the satellite radio voice of the gay community, broadcasting a show the focus of which was, true to stereotype once again, lesbian sex.

So here’s some unsolicited advice to the gay and lesbian community: if you want people to get beyond the stereotypes commonly associated with gays and lesbians, stop perpetuating those stereotypes. Do some self-policing of your community. Stop acting in a manner consistent with the gay archetype. Otherwise, you will never get beyond the stereotypes. Siriusly.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Anonymous Sniping- The New Blood Sport

So when did it become fashionable to revel in others’ misery? With the current economic downturn, there have been quite a few stories in the media lately about folks who have fallen on hard times. Perhaps unlike the past, a good number of these people are credentialed and hardworking individuals who are either victims of corporate “down-sizing” or simply got caught long when the real estate market turned. Just like the past, some of these folks also chose their lot in life or got there by making objectively bad decisions. Either way, the end result is the same.

Just the other day, I read a piece in the local rag about a couple from California’s Central Valley who are flirting with homelessness. According to the story, this couple had previously owned a restaurant together with three homes, one of which was their primary residence and two of which were investment properties. Their restaurant was recently shuttered when the building which they leased was found to have numerous code violations that the owner either couldn’t, or refused to cure. That event, coupled with the radical devaluation of their real estate, has left this couple competing with the bums for bottles, cans, plastic bottles and handouts.

Anyway, the website that was carrying this story has a Comments function where readers can log in, mostly anonymously, and post their thoughts. Back in the old days, when we got our news from actual papers, I always brushed by the headlines, the local news, the business section, even the sports page and went straight to the Letters to the Editor on the Op-Ed page. That was where the real action was. That was where society bore its soul. And that was where you could get the unsanitized truth along with a hearty dose of laughter, incredulity, anger and more.

Letters to the Editor are still an integral part of newspapers and periodicals, but the Comments function on websites is quickly usurping the old-fashion letter. The difference is this: anonymity. Unlike the letters of old, the Comments function on most websites is the Wild West. You can post virtually anything you want behind the safety of a silly screen name without consequence. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing in that people tend to speak their mind more freely; it’s a curse in that people tend to speak their mind more freely. That why the Comments section is the first place I go when I visit a website.

So I’m reading the comments that people have left about the couple from the Central Valley who lost their restaurant and are now employed as full time recyclers. And the comments are shockingly nasty. Predictably, a large number of the commenters immediately jumped to the conclusion that this couple was simply lazy and yearned to be on the public dole. Another sizeable segment of the comments was devoted to the belief that these people were getting exactly what they deserved because owning three homes was obviously well beyond their means. Someone even suggested that since this couple failed to cure the building code deficiencies that were the building owner’s responsibility they were actually at fault for the closure of their restaurant. Compassion and understanding for this couple’s misfortune was in short supply. Arrogance, smugness and condemnation were not.

Beyond that, I noticed a huge disconnect between what many of these commenters advocated for this couple, and the bases of their criticism of them. As those in a more secure position are apt to do, many commenters suggested that if this particular couple only had enough entrepreneurial gumption, spirit and drive (presumably just like the person making the comment), then they would either not be in the position in which they found themselves, or they could easily navigate their way back to success. At the same time, these very same commenters griped about the previous financial risks this couple took by owning a restaurant and multiple properties. In other words, they first criticized this couple for being too entrepreneurial. They then turned right around and criticized them for not being entrepreneurial enough.

At the end of the day, the whole “discussion” was ridiculous and obviously wasn’t about whether this couple was hyper- or hypo-entrepreneurial. It was about taking shots. It was about kicking someone while they are down in order to make oneself feel superior. It was criticism for the sheer sake of criticism. And commenters were literally reveling in the nastiness and absurdity of the whole sordid affair.

So come one and all and join the fun. It’s our new blood sport. And the really great thing about it is that you can bludgeon someone senseless without getting all that messy blood on your hands. And it’s available for your entertainment and viewing pleasure 24/7/365 on any of a number of locations on the World Wide Web. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Common Sense Goes to the Dogs

Last weekend, a much anticipated “dog park” opened in my fair city to considerable fanfare by municipal leaders and gushing enthusiasm by dog lovers. A “dog park” as you well know, is one of those rare places in society where a person can allow his dog to roam free, unleashed from the stern and condemning eye of a paranoid public. Dog parks were unheard of 20 years ago, but have become de rigueur given our incessant quest for a society completely devoid of anything unsafe, unsanitary or unsavory. They have become a necessary evil because there is absolutely no place else an unleashed dog can go in society without risk of his master receiving a citation.

The extent to which we have taken our idiocy can be seen on any given weekend in the hills and foothills of Southern California. If you take a hike or go out for a bike ride, you will come across several folks enjoying the unstructured wide open spaces with their canine companions. Invariably, however, those companions will be tethered to their masters by a leash. Worse, their masters will be carrying a little plastic baggie full of dog poo like it’s the most natural thing in the world.

Aside from the more humiliating aspects of packing around a little baggie full of dog feces, and ignoring for the moment the embarrassing daintiness with which most owners carry their pet’s poo, the whole notion of picking up poo where the deer and coyote roam is absurd. Poo is poo after all, yet I don’t see any concerted effort underway by the poo patrol to hit the trails with little blue baggies to clean up after the undomesticated critters that foul the very same trails trod upon by dogs.

My God, where did we go wrong? I think it must have started with sweaters for dogs and then taken off from there. And the sad thing is nobody seems to think anything of it. We seem to have adopted a collective mind-set that reaching down and picking up a steaming pile of shit, or harnessing a dog in the wild, is normal, adult behavior. Worse, actually, those who think otherwise are viewed as deviants. So call me a deviant if you must, but we’re sliding down a slippery slope here. If we don’t stop and regain our senses now, the next thing you know men will begin to abandon Retrievers, Labs and other manly breeds and start prancing around like Paris with their cute and clothed Chihuahuas. Oh, whoops, too late…