Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fair Play

Okay, I must say I'm taken by surprise by the fact that David Zucker is now a Republican. And here's further proof that the man's sense of humor has long been dried up. Ah well.

My thing with the commercial is the usage of that old dead horse: Dems = Taxation Beyond Your Wildest Dreams. The appealing to the greed to be found within all of us.

I've seen it in a number of commercials already ("They may even make you pay a Death Tax!"); and, you know, I'm pretty sick of it.

Can the Reps come up with a better plan to get rid of the deficit they've created? Can they...Oh, blahblahblah.

You know, this just needs a retort that's at least funnier than this crap.

[Fade in: Johnny is talking to a teacher type.]

Teach: Now, Johnny, before you graduate, I just need to test you to see if you're ready for the world out there.

[Cut to Johhny texting "W00t! Tests are the R0XX0R! =-p That's hot." on his cell phone.]

[Cut to: Teacher in front of a map of the world.]

Teach: Okay, Johnny, please show me where Mexico is on this map.

[Johnny struggles before pointing to Greenland.]

Teach: Very good, Johnny!

[Cut to: Teacher next to a math problem on the blackboard.]

Teach: Johnny, can you tell me what the square root of 64 is?

Johnny: Uhm...

[Johnny writes "39" on the blackboard.]

Teach: Well done!

[Cut to: Teacher standing in front of the UStian flag.]

Teach: Johnny, could you tell me what the Bill of Rights are?

Johnny: Uh...You have the right to remain silent. Anything you do or say will be held against you in a court of law....

[Title card: Can Ur Children Aford Too More Years Off Republicen Police?]


[Fade in: Opulent home. Green grass, picket fence, minorities tending the garden. XFade to INT: State of the art living room. A Bush-alike strolls in from the kitchen with a plate of chicken wings.]

VO: When Republicans took over all three branches of our government, they found a 237 billion dollar budget surplus.

[The Bush-alike picks up an Xbox controller, and war sounds come out of the HDTV screen.]

VO: After six years of Republican spending, the US now faces an eight and a half trillion dollar deficit. Where is the money keeping the US afloat coming from?

[SFX: Doorbell. The Bush-alike pauses the game and goes to answer it. Cut to: Bush-alike opening the door. On the other side are Mao Tse Tung and the Ayatollah Khomeini. The Bush-alike looks surprised, as they enter. Tung and Khomeini carry various items (the Statue of Liberty, Liberty Bell, Mt. Rushmore, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, McDonald's arches, etc.) out the door throughout the rest.]

VO: More importantly, how are we going to pay once the bill is due?

[Title Card: Stop Floating Checks. Vote Democrat.]

[PS - Isn't it funny how I post more often when I'm on a supposed break from posting?--TBO]

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Meandering Crapola

Here's another excerpt from Thirteen Days:

"[...]in these present days of strain, it is well to remember that no country's leader supported the US more forcefully than did France. General De Gaulle said, 'It is exactly what I would have done,' adding that it was not necessary to see the photographs, as 'a great government such as yours does not act without evidence.'"


Anyway, PalBrannon tells me there are people disputing the historical accuracy of portions of the memoir, and after a rudimentary search of Wikipedia, was unable to come up with anything. If anyone has an idea, please forward to me via the email address listed somewhere around here.

Seems the intraweb is not on the helpful side today, as I was about to link to Sunday's Andy Rooney bit. Tuned into CBS a little early to watch the latest ep of The Amazing Race (which, by the way, is kicking about as much ass as it had in the early seasons), and was surprised to hear Mr. Rooney suggesting that GWB apologize for blundering into Iraq, and then for him to pull us out of same. Then he expressed that he didn't find it likely, as GWB has yet to concede to anything during his administration, and that Mr. Rooney doesn't remember either Clinton or Carter apologizing for their mistakes...I then wondered what either of them had to apologize for...A bj? How are sky-rocketing gas prices Carter's fault? The point is, you know you're in deep shit when Andy Rooney doesn't back you up.

Tangentially, notice that gas prices seem to go down right around the time elections come around?

I've been doing more reading than the "Musings" section to the right indicates (I really should update that soon)...Just got done reading Animal Farm for the first time in ages, and what a pleasant surprise that was.

No, I'm not going to go all "a perfect corollary to our present times" on you (especially when it's simply a primer for the real world). Instead, I'll just say that this should be required reading at the 5th - 7th grade level (as it was when I was in school). I'm fairly sure that Orwell's satire would go over well with that age range, by and large...excluding the more pointedly adult stuff, like the pigs experiencing a hangover for the first time, but then, the story works a lot like a Warner Bros. cartoon that way. What's really happening becomes clear when you've matured a bit.

I know the above is hardly an original thought. However, the sooner we teach kids to recognize the mechanics of politicians and power, the quicker they become immune, or at least aware, of what's happening around them. Hopefully, this'd happen before they become adept at chanting "Four legs good, Two legs bad/better" alongside the other sheep.


I leave you with a final quote from Thirteen Days:

"...I believe our deliberations proved conclusively how important it is that the President have the recommendations and opinions of more than one individual, of more than one department, and of more than one point of view. Opinion, even fact itself, can best be judged by conflict, by debate. There is an important element missing when there is unanimity of viewpoint..."

Friday, October 20, 2006

Things a Leader Does! Things a Leader Thinks! How a Leader Behaves!

(The following are excerpts from the introductions to 13 Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis.)

"[RFK] opposed a massive surprise attack by a large country on a small country because he believed such an attack to be inhuman, contrary to our traditions and ideals, and an act of brutality for which the world would never forgive us." -- Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense during JFK's presidency.

"[JFK was] always ready to listen to advice, generous in giving due weight to opinions however diverse, careful and even cautious before reaching final conclusions on any problem, he had the supreme quality, shared by only very great men, of refusing to evade or cushion his final responsibility by an attempt to spread it out upon the backs of his colleagues. He was ready to carry the burden of responsibility himself." -- Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister UK during JFK's presidency.

*Bonus points to those who can name what I am emulating in the subject line.--TBO

Thursday, October 19, 2006

This Just In: The Terrorists Have Won

No, really. Check it out. (Link via.)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Blogging Brown Out

Not like I've been a blogging dynamo of late, and I had wanted to do one commemorating events and correspondence surrounding my birthday and bloggiversary, but, ya know, life is a bunch of little details that, if left alone for too long, become overwhelming in, I ain't gone, but I won't be around as much for a while.

I'll be around, I swear.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Awakening of Josef W.

Josef W. had begun his struggle with sleep a number of weeks ago, though he could not pinpoint the exact moment the minute shift took place. He had spent that first night looking out at the darkness, his mind unobsessed with any of the usual vaguaries that would normally keep him up. Instead he noted the breathing of M next to him, he tracked the late night meanderings of his dog.

Eventually, he went to sleep. So subtle was his insomnia, that he never paused to give thought to what could possibly be causing it; because it wasn't that he didn't sleep, per se. He always managed to get enough sleep so as to avoid getting to the point of hallucinating during his waking hours. Two and a half, to three hours during the week; about four hours over the weekend.

It wasn't until about a week later that he realized that something was amiss.

It came to him as he was bending down, plastic bag enclosing his hand, to pick up the still warm, yet solid shit his dog just oozed out. "I wonder if I'll sleep well tonight," he thought, and then he enveloped the dump with the bag. He got up as he tabulated the previous week's sleep.

"Huh," he muttered, and led the dog back home.
Time inevitably passes, and with it, a kind of apathetic acceptance of the new circumstance is adopted.

M, however, had started to worry. She never talked about it, so as far as Josef W. was concerned, because she never acknowledged it, she likely does not know. Nothing could've been further from the truth.

It took her a while to get to the truth of the matter, but once she figured out what the problem was, she tried, despite the futility of the effort, to ease Josef W. back to the land of sleeping regularly. Some attempts were more fun than others for the two of them, but none had achieved the goal she was looking for.

M went as far as mixing in a couple of ground up Somatine into one of his meals, which did have the desired effect of having Josef W. asleep before midnight. Her worry eased for the moment, she went to sleep next to him.

"M, wake up! It's time for sausage!" Josef W. was shaking her.

Groggily, she checked the alarm clock. "Josef, it's three thirty in the morning." She looked over at Josef, as he got dressed. "Josef, are you going commando?"

"Come on, M. Sausage waits for no one." He walked out of the room, and M was about to go back to sleep when she remembered that they had been vegetarian for almost a decade, and then, she heard Josef W. grabbing the keys to the car.

"Josef, wait!" She put her sneakers on as she heard the door to the apartment open and shut. She struggled into her coat, and the echoes of Josef's shoes reverberated in the hallway. "Josef!" She ran after him.

She bursts out onto their stoop, into the chill February air, snow piling down silently, and Josef W. in his light corduroy jacket, more than halfway down the block, approaching their car. M barely maneuvers a patch of black ice at the bottom of the stairs, nearly colliding with the post bearing the hours that parking would be available on that side of the street.

Josef W. was attempting to turn on the car for the second time, when M finally caught up to him. She banged on the window, and Josef W. automatically reached over and unlocked the door for her.

"Josef, where are you going," she asked as she clambered into the bucket seat. He didn't answer, instead he managed to start the car and put it into gear. They drove through the snow down to the corner, where they took a right, towards Central Park.


"Yeah, sweetheart?"

"Where are you going?"

"Beth's. I don't know why, but I gots me a hankerin' for some shitty coffee right now."

"Josef, what are you talking about? We haven't been to Beth's in years."

"What do you mean?" Josef W. looked at his wife, and there was something about the blank look in his eye that made M realize her husband was not pulling her leg. He looked back to the road and he drove through the red light.

"Josef, wake up." He gained speed, and in the process the wheels started to lose traction on the icy streets. "Josef, slow down and wake up...please." Panic engulfed her, and as that unforgiving rush of emotion settled, the quieter she became. The mind's ear played with her, so that while she believed she was yelling, what actually came out was a whimper. She looked at the road ahead, and she saw what her husband probably had not; they were on a collision path with a snow plow.

"Josef? Please, honey."

"M, is your seatbelt on?" Josef asked innocently as he continued looking straight ahead.

"Josef, goddamnit, wake up! NOW!" This time she was heard, and Josef W., momentarily unaware of his circumstance, slammed on the breaks.

The car skidded, their equilibrium off-balance and stomachs lurching, coming closer and closer to the snowplow, the telephone pole, the curb, Josef W., his foot firmly planted on the break, M hanging on to the handle, Josef W. yelling "what the fuck" repeatedly, alternating it with the occasional "shitshitshit," M with her eyes closed, murmuring "please please please."

The car stopped. Unharmed. The snowplow made its slow progress further down the street. Josef W. and M gasped for breath.

"What the fuck?"

"Take us home, Josef."

"Okay, but wh--"

"Just go."

They went home; neither able to get any more sleep that night.
"Mr. W?"

Had Josef W. been aware of the atmosphere in his classroom, he would have been stunned by the seeming reverence being paid to his persona at the moment.

The bell had rung five minutes before, and Josef W. sat at his desk, placidly staring ahead. The students purposefully misunderstood his reticence as willing endorsement of their activities. Slowly, however, curiosity started overwhelming their disruptive natures, and one by one, the students took to watching Josef W. to see if there was something he was planning with this bold, if minimalist, maneuver.

"Mr. W, you all right?" A few of the students were asking each other what they thought may have been wrong, and someone whispered "shit, he was always retarded."

A juicy spitwad splats itself on Josef W.'s forehead, and the room holds its collective breath waiting for the wrath that would surely follow. It wasn't coming.

"OOOOoooooh, shit!" "Did you see that shit?" "Yo, man, you gave him a facial!" "Mr. W, you a faggot!" "Bust a nut up in yo face-" "-told you he a retard" "still wearin' those gay-ass fuckin' shoes" "Mr. W, when you start smokin' cra-"

Josef W.'s hand shoots straight up, and he lets it drop forward, as if he were performing a karate chop. His hand hits the desk, and he yells "BUDGET CUTS!"

The room falls silent. Sixty-three eyeballs fall on the formerly reticent teacher, as he spouted babble that seemingly made sense only to him.

"Listen to me, it is unnecessary to assume anything in a world where copying what older generations did 20 years ago is considered avant garde. Do you really think anything you're doing right now is new? Do you? I can pretty much guarantee you right now that your father or your mother has done exactly the same thing...How do you like where they ended up? Think of Bobby Brown! The Hilton sisters are empty shells of human beings! The rubik's cube was used to determine the course of the Gulf War!

"There is nothing inherently wrong with wasting time. Never bet on the Cardinals. Find the old man in the canoe. The better colognes don't advertise on TV. It has taken me years to perfect my blueberry pie. When did man start cleaning up after its pets? I only respect the idea of Garrison Keillor. I distrust whatever the majority likes...just because. No matter which way you slice it, there is nothing as satisfying as a creme brulee after a stressful week..."

The bell rings, and the students go on to their next class, and Josef W.'s next group of students file in and get settled, wondering why their teacher has started their class before the bell rang. They remain quiet once they realize his lecture has nothing to do with their class, and instead try to decipher just what the hell he means.

Josef W. continues talking...

(Happy Birthday, Joe!)

Monday, October 09, 2006

10K, At Long Last...

On Saturday October 7th, at 5:20pm, nearly two years after its inception, this blog has finally received its ten-thousandth visitor.

The visitor hails from Minneapolis, MN, and accessed this site via the Road Runner ISP. He stopped for just a quick look at the site. He had apparently just performed a search for the word "Skinemax."

Thank you, ya porn searching Minnesotan!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Choose Your Own Reaction

So, let's see...We gots us the shunting of the findings by the National Intelligence Estimate (succinctly, the "War on Terror" is actually making the US more susceptible to terrorist attacks; again, frickin' duh); we gots us Mark "What Do We Tell The Children [About LewinskiGate]?" Foley exposed in activity more sinister than "Jesus Juice" (link via); and, to round out this nonsense to just three examples, we gots us the elimination of Habeas Corpus, a move recently passed by the Legislative Arm so that the Chimp In Charge can use his estimable judgement to decide who is and isn't an enemy of the state at whim. I think I'll let the lovely Molly Ivins address this horrible decision for y'all.

Meanwhile, the Dems are behaving, predictably enough, like Jerry Lewis in The Bellboy. Twelve years after the Republicans started implementing their manifesto upon the UStian population, and the Dems are still reeling like punch drunk boxers in the 15th round. Too much stimuli for the coma-like DNC. (That's three, count 'em, three unnecessary similes, just for you, dear reader.)

There's also no one at the wheel making any kind of executive decisions as to how to approach these events. It seems the Dems have two preset responses 1) don't do anything, or 2) make like you're taking a step in some direction, then back away and don't do anything.

Let's face it, the right has had its business together since Bush I took office, and has learned from its mistakes rather well. So well that, even in the face of increasing amounts of hubristic detritus, the right still has a 50-50 shot of remaining in power after this coming November.

Faced with this reality, the left-wing commentariat and think-tanks aren't offering anything compelling to counteract the shiny objects spun out by the right.

As JJ puts it, the left "has lost the ability to create a compelling narrative that the nation could get behind."* In other words "we have to study the issue and create a multi-layered approach to the problems in Iraq" isn't as convincing as "we're going to eliminate terror." This line of thought is based on writings by media observers like Douglas Rushkoff and the like. The idea of media virus as political platfrom is a pretty damn useful one.

Hell, often you don't need your own political platform. Karl Rove has proven endlessly the value of using a media virus as a means to rattle your opponent. Swift Boat, anyone?

As that example shows, the thing is that by the time you create your own narrative in response to something like this, it's too late. They've moved on to something else. The ideal solution, would be to use their narrative to mutate it into your own, seeing as you can't just avoid their narrative...either way, you're engaging a tar-baby.

This is just too long term for my liking, especially in these immediate times. The Dems/left should definitely be thinking along these line for the big race in '08...They won't, but they should be. (Instead they're courting the likes of Barack Obama, who is just too young right now, as much as I admire his approach. Not that I wouldn't vote for him, though I imagine a fate not unlike John Edwards'...Too far away, too freaking far away right now.)

Another school of thought is the most alarming to me: Do nothing. Curb your desire to cry out against injustice, merely note it and let it go. Do your best to prevent anything unholy (like the whole Habeas Corpus thing, and we saw how well that worked). The piper will have to be payed eventually; let it run its course, in this way, we could just slide in when the time comes.

The Contrarian over at, sums up this line of thinking rather well. Taking it even further, there's yet another school of thought that suggests that the Dems shouldn't try to take over the Legislative arm this use this time to regroup and refocus for '08.

The problem, as I see it, is that this does nothing to address the issues facing us right now. Legislature has just given the CIC broad and unlimited power in determining who is an enemy of the state and what happens to that person. I'd be remiss if I didn't remind you that this is no walk in the park. Is it too paranoid to think that now that this has been established, it is merely a hop, skip and a jump away from deciding that giving a massage to an Arab Muslim means that you are providing comfort and succor to the enemy?

Are we supposed to just let something like this just happen? Without any rancor? When do we get to ask "Sir, have you no shame?"

History has shown us that without an outcry, things will continue to get worse. How long was the Red Scare a blight on this country? How long were Civil Rights a necessity? How long was the Vietnam Sham allowed to go on?

There comes a point where "give 'em enough rope and they'll hang themselves" just becomes a lazy approach to a problem. I'd say we're long past that point now.

When you hear something similar to "just sit back and watch it happen; we'll make our changes when we win," I want you to remember their unspoken corollary: "That is, if we win."

I recently praised Bill Clinton for showing us how to comport ourselves when faced with the lies that the right has been disseminating since September 2001. I now want to remind you of something just as momentous (if proven frail in the time since it took place.)

Can you tell me that the first time you heard the phrase "George W. Bush doesn't like black people," it didn't feel like it had the ring of truth around it? It's a simplistic statement, and the right equivocated it to death (often by bringing up Condi "Signifying Monkey" Rice)...However, wasn't it fun to see the right rattled in its cage? Wasn't it satisfying to smell the fear, instead of smugness, coming from the right?

The right only seems strong, and they have more weaknesses that need to be plumbed.

Just saying.

*I paraphrase.