Friday, May 30, 2008

The Way It Ought To Be

I don't know about you, but I'm growing mightily weary of all this intractable debate about "gay marriage". No one agrees on terms, or premises, or anything else -- but what is most fatiguing is that everyone, without exception, totally misses the point, which is: What is the government doing in the marriage business anyway? If you go back not all that far in our history you discover that this thing called "marriage" was, for Roman Catholics, a sacrament, and for everyone else at least a highly significant event, usually with religious overtones -- a rite of passage that had the full cultural, moral, and social support of, and was duly validated by, the church, the community, and the racial/ethnic groups to which the two parties belonged. Go back farther than that (or to the "third world" of today) and you'll find that marriage is the community's way of formalizing, validating, and assenting to a long-term, stable relationship which is assumed to have, as one of its primary purposes, the bearing and raising of children. I mean, let's face it -- if human beings did not come in two basic models (male and female, for those of you in Rio Linda), and if some sort of relationship between those two basic models was not required in order to reproduce, marriage would never have been invented. We would still have friendship, and various forms of at least emotional intimacy, and various domestic living arrangements, but we would not have marriage; it's as simple as that. But the same people who cooked up "penumbras" to justify legalizing abortion would undoubtedly be willing to assent to any degree of "mission creep" when it comes to marriage -- and that is the source of much of the confusion we see today, and of the futility of the discussions on the matter.

When did government jump into the marriage game anyway, and why? Well, of course marriage has always had legal ramifications where property (ownership, inheritance, etc.) is concerned. One could almost see it as a feature of Natural Law that a relationship which is formalized in the interests of family stability should also have implications for property rights... except that communists don't see it that way, nor do many socialists. And the IRS is getting quite shaky on the matter as well -- they can't tell whether marriage should be economically punished, or economically rewarded... so they do both at once. So aside from the assent of the community to bear and raise children, all other implications of marriage have been, and continue to be, a matter of local custom, but also of government policy, which may or not reflect the actual values of the society and the members thereof. For instance, the right to inherit money and property from one's parents is taken for granted by anyone who stands to gain from it... like a member of the Kennedy "clan", for instance... but it is not at all taken for granted by people who would rather confiscate those resources for their own purposes, e.g. to fund a government "program". And when it comes to all the _other_ "rights" that have come to be associated with marriage, those may be even more debatable, from the purely "social policy" point of view. So the collectivists among us have come to see marriage not as a noble institution which plays a vital role in the perpetuation of the race, but as a kind of cash cow and a means through which they can exert more and more power -- and this is the source, as much as any, of the current confusion.

On the contrary, I don't think there is one "right" associated with marriage that could not just as readily be claimed, and validated, and documented, independently of marriage, saving the most basic, namely the right to bear and raise one's own children without interference or harrassment from the government (which, by the way, is the one right that the "gay marriage" advocates don't care to discuss, since they come down on the collectivist side of most arguments). You want to talk about insurance benefits? Find an insurance company that offers the plan you want. Medical decision-making rights? Find the hospital that offers the plan you want. Property rights? Draw up a contract, sign it, get it notarized. I honestly don't see what all the fuss is about. Now of course, there is one aspect of all this that no one wants to mention out loud, and that is that marriage is, traditionally, also a way in which the community formalizes their permission for two people to, um... how can I put this? ... have sex. Aye, there's the rub (if that is the word)! You don't suppose.... well, I'm sure this is way too far-fetched, but... you don't suppose that one of the major things driving the "gay marriage" agenda is the desire to co-opt the community into explicitly permitting the people in question to have sex? (I mean, how could sodomy laws coexist with gay marriage? I'll bet Texas could work out a way.) You don't think there might be just the slightest particle of residual guilt about this issue, which the individuals are seeking to expiate? Well... just a passing thought.

So what we have is a situation where people want what they want because the government won't let them have it any other way. But _why_ won't the government let them have it any other way? This is a question no one wants to ask. In any case, here's my proposal. Let every church, synagogue, mosque, meeting place, stone circle, hippie colony, you name it, define "marriage" any way they please, according to their own beliefs, doctrines, customs, and the needs of their adherents. Let them perform marriage, bonding, "friendship", you name it, ceremonies any way they like -- for "time and all eternity" or for one week at a time. Let the people call themselves whatever they like -- husband and wife, guy and guy, gal and gal, man and dog, woman and snake, you name it. But keep the government out of it -- entirely, completely, totally.

But! If people insist on the government (on any level) providing some sort of contractual services, or a "package" of some sort, let it come up with a form of partnership, just like a business. It could involve, or not involve, any "rights" of interest to the persons involved, like joint accounts, property ownership, inheritance, medical decisions... not child custody -- that would be an entirely different section of law. But take care of all this other stuff that is constantly being brought up to obfuscate the issue. And -- oh, by the way -- this sort of contract or package -- "domestic partnership", whatever -- could be drawn up between any two adults. Read that again. "Any two adults." That means, a man and a woman. Or two men. Or two women. Or a guy and his uncle. Or a woman and her child. Yes! Open wide the doors of liberty! Why shouldn't any two people be allowed to enter into contracts of this sort? But do you hear this possibility ever broached by people on either side of the issue? No. Not ever.

Now, I would expect, if this system were put into place, that many couples (of whatever persuasion) who got "married" or otherwise bonded in a church, synagogue, coffee house, yurt, wherever, would also wind up setting up a legal domestic partnership. But some wouldn't. Similarly, some people who set up a domestic partnership would have absolutely no interest in any sort of liturgy or ceremony -- it would be strictly business, thank you very much.

So that's my plan. I invite your comments. Will it ever come to pass? Of course not -- there are too many vested interests (political, economic, emotional, social) against it. Would it work? Absolutely. Would it make this a freer country? Absolutely -- which is why it will never be allowed to happen. The arguments will drone on... all the agendas will remain hidden... resentments and misunderstandings will proliferate... and we will become less free, and more alienated, with each passing day.

"PC" Now Means "Preacher Correctness"

There was a predictable eruption of indignation last week when it was "discovered" -- a la the Dead Sea Scrolls -- that the Rev. John Hagee had made "derogatory" comments about Jews at some point in the late 1990s. But what were those "derogatory" comments? Simply that he (and, one supposes, his followers) believes that Hitler, in some way, was doing God's work in persecuting the Jews and driving them back to Israel, i.e. the Promised Land, i.e. their homeland. Well, Nazism certainly did succeed where the early Zionists had failed -- that much cannot be denied. It has even been pointed out that the Holocaust was "the best thing that ever happened to the Jews" -- politically. Of course, culturally it was a total disaster -- a true "holocaust" in a sense, since the Jewish heartland in Eastern Europe -- the centers of their traditional culture in the urban ghettos and in the rural shtetls -- was destroyed, never to return. But politically? Well, the Jews, or more specifically Israel, have more political power now than they have ever had in history, IMHO. They have the foreign policy of "the" superpower, i.e. the U.S., by the balls, if you'll pardon the expression, and that is no mean feat, considering the dithering that went on 60 short years ago about whether we (the U.S.) should even _recognize_ Israel diplomatically. Now, one might well say that the Jews have sold their cultural and religious birthright "for a mess of pottage", namely the secular, militant, and, yes, racist state of Israel. But Rev. Hagee doesn't see it that way. He sees the events of the past 70-plus years as a window of opportunity for the Jews to return to the religion of their forebears, and reap the blessings thereof. But now, because he has used the "H word", he is actually being presented as anti-Semitic! Yes, a champion of Judaism and Israel for many years is all of a sudden anti-Semitic; go figure. Because the way he described the recent history of the Jews is not exactly the politically-correct way. So it appears that he must be consigned to the outer darkness and all of his beliefs and claims rejected by all reasonable people, and... but wait! He also fully supports the notion of the U.S. defending Israel at all costs. Will they reject that idea as well? Not very damn likely. And they will not reject the support of all the other evangelical preachers who basically agree with Hagee, but without using the H word. Ah, what fine distinctions are being made for us these days. And what an ever-fraying tightrope our politicians are expected to creep across. It really is too entertaining.

Mars Needs Brains

The Phoenix Mars Probe, despite days of diligent searching, has yet to detect any signs of intelligent life on Mars, according to NASA officials. A spokesman said, "The probe has found the remains of some fraternity houses, an ancient NASCAR racetrack, a country music awards stage set, the blueprints for the George W. Bush Presidential Library, and a complete library of Oprah Winfrey shows, but no actual signs of intelligent life." He indicated that the probe will continue to gather data, on the grounds that "the sample we have to date may be biased in some way. What are the chances that Mars really is a stupider planet than Earth?"

No Sects Please, We're Texan

In a remarkable burst of sanity in "the state where barbeque meets barbarism", namely Texas, the state Supreme Court has affirmed a lower court order to return many of the children who were spirited away from their parents, members of the FLDS group, by the so-called "Texas Department of Family and Protective Services". This agency -- like all government agencies charged with the "protection" of children -- clearly begins every day with the premise that parents (especially fathers) are the embodiment of evil, and that the truth is not in them. Their long-term project is to turn the entire country into a sort of kibbutz, where parents are tolerated as breeding machines but not trusted with the upbringing of their own children, who must be turned over to "trained specialists" and "experts", and "service providers". We can all be grateful for this one rebuff. But in the scheme of things, it is only a skirmish in a much wider war.

Having said that, I still question what on earth those people thought they were doing setting up a colony in Texas. Hadn't they ever heard of Waco? Were they seeking martyrdom? Well, if so, they partially succeeded, but also helped expose the social-control agenda of government at all levels... and for that we owe them thanks.

Paul Will Not Appall

It is incredible to me that there is even a hint of tut-tutting about Ron Paul's refusal to endorse John McCain. Basically, it reflects a total failure to even vaguely perceive the significance of Paul's campaign, or of his ideas. "Oh yeah, I guess he was just another dude with a slightly different point of view, and why can't he get with the program and endorse a guy who -- from his point of view -- is not one iota better than Hillary or Obama or anyone else who might have been nominated?" These people just don't get it -- which, I guess, is one reason why Paul's percentages more or less topped out in Idaho with 24%. So 24% of Idaho Republicans "get" what Ron Paul is all about. Thank goodness _someone_ does! Everyone else is just part of that gray, brain-dead mass, like the underground workers in "Metropolis" -- slogging along with an existence about as exciting as unsalted oatmeal, and phobic to the point of hysteria about any discussion of real freedom.

Hillary's Penultimate Chance

A mini-drama -- or maybe not so "mini" -- will take place tomorrow in D.C. with a meeting of the Democratic Party's rules committee. This will be Hillary's chance to claim the bulk of the delegates from Michigan and Florida, and to convince the committee to validate them. If she plays her cards right -- and if the Democrats grovel, drool, and lose control of their bodily functions just from being in her presence -- she could nearly catch up to Obama, and then deliver the final stunning blow at the convention. She recognizes, of course, what even most Democrats fail to recognize, which is that their party is no more a democracy than the U.S. in general is. It's all about hook and crook, persuasion, logrolling, and "fixes", and no one has a better skill set in those areas than Hillary does -- especially in the persuasion area, where she has perfected the art of instilling raw fear in people unmatched since the days of Uncle Joe Stalin. Custom, precedent, and propriety will not prevail -- this is a fight to the death.

According to news accounts of this pending event, it will include "protesters planning to descend en masse." Not mentioned is which side they are on -- possibly both. In any case, the event will be a preview of the convention, which promises to be almost as much fun as the Democratic meltdown of 1968. My favorite quote is from Obama's campaign manager. He said that the Clinton position is "not terribly reasonable... I don't think you can at the eleventh hour argue to change the rules you pledged to live by in a way that unfairly advantages you." Can it be possible that the manager of the Obama campaign still knows so little about whom he is dealing with? Where was he from 1993 to 2001 -- hiding under a rock? Hillary Clinton and her platoon of flying monkeys are _perfectly_ capable of arguing to change the rules, and as to any "pledge" she might or might not have made -- ha! Plus, to see things from her perspective, there can be no such thing as an "unfair advantage". She is entitled to rule the world with an iron rod... she knows it... her followers agree... and it's only a few reactionaries standing in her way who are keeping her from fulfilling her mission. But she'll get them yet, my pretty... just you wait.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Point Counterpoint

I received an excellent comment on a recent post (http://zarathustrasoldman.blogspot.com/2008/05/say-it-aint-so-joe.html) which I'm going to copy to this new post in order to give it, and my reply, a higher profile. The comment was:

Your Nixonian enemy list is extensive- Carter, FDR, JFK, LBJ, Gore, the Clintons, liberals, Democrats, Protestants, etc. Your heroes include Bob Barr and Henry Hyde, co-inquisitors who tried to crucify Clinton. Note that they both have sex infidelities on their records. No Jekyll here, only Hydes. FDR, with the help of your "maggots" brought us out of the depression and steered us through most of WWII. You will say, no doubt, that he started WWII. Carter did bring Israel and Egypt together and he is the only President who made an effort to address the energy crisis. The solar panels he put on the White House were removed by Reagan.I think you will find that the Vietnam war was started by Eisenhower and Dulles. It was escalated by JFK and LBJ. JFK had little time to do much good or harm. He did deal with the Cuban missle crisis, but screwed up on the Bay of Pigs fiasco. LBJ did sign the civil rights act. You gore Gore and must think that global warming is surely dreamed up by a bunch of Prius driving, pointy headed, latte drinking, NPR listening, PBS watching, tree hugging liberal scientists hatched at certain institutions of higher learning. Clinton led us through 8 years of peace and prosperity. What a drag that was! You have added Lieberman to your list. I agree, he is more concerned about the security of Israel than of the US. I shall remain anon as I would rather not have the Opus Dei militia or the Vatican Swiss Guards descend on me wielding crossbows and broad swords.

My response:

I'm glad to see we agree that Lieberman "is more concerned about the security of Israel than of the US." That, of course, was the main thrust of my little "what if" fantasy. But to speak to some of your other points -- yes, I do have an extensive list of targets -- "the usual suspects" as the saying goes. But I think this is perfectly fair because they have all grossly intruded into the lives of all Americans for years, and show every sign of continuing to do so. As one commentator replied when asked why he couldn't just "leave the Clintons alone" -- "It's because they won't leave _me_ alone." Anyone running for office who promises to assume even more control over your life, whether you want them to or not, is fair game, in my opinion. But please, don't call my "enemies list" "Nixonian". Although Tricky Dick is one of my heroes for his fine work against Alger Hiss and all of his co-conspirators, he deserves a failing grade for Vietnam, for taking us off the silver (or any other metal) standard, for price controls, and for many other offenses. He also employed more than the usual quota of sleazeballs and sociopaths in his administration, and the Watergate affair made it possible for Jimmy Carter to win in 1976, which has to rank as one of the greatest unintended consequences in American history.

As to Barr and Hyde "trying" to crucify Clinton -- well, Willie is so slick he would have slid right off any cross they tried to attach him to -- besides which, they were right, he was unfit for office, not least because he opened wide the gates for the Chinese Trojan Horse to enter. This may be his most lasting legacy, in fact -- although we shouldn't neglect incidents like Waco, which set a precedent for government-sponsored domestic terrorism, which is being emulated, albeit in a "softer" way, with the current persecution of the FLDS sect. But aside from all that, Barr and Hyde deserve a "profiles in courage" award because they stood virtually alone against the media and the Democrat/Clinton attack machine. In this, they resembled (again) Nixon vs. Hiss, and McCarthy vs. Almost Everyone. What ever happened to the traditional American admiration for the lone man standing up and speaking truth to power? And how many like these do we see today? Ron Paul and, um.... No, there are still some "Jekylls" around, and frankly I am not up to speed on Hyde and Barr in the "sex infidelity" department. You have to realize that the Clinton impeachment was not about sex, or even about his lying under oath. Those were the things that had the best chance of working -- but his true crimes were much more profound and more serious. Think: Al Capone vs. the IRS, and you'll see my point. No one really gave a damn whether Capone had paid his taxes, but that was something they could get him on, and the rest wasn't such a sure bet.

Now, as to FDR -- I'm no expert, but a considerable body of economic and social history supports the view that his policies actually prolonged the Depression. Did he start WW II? Well, the Japanese fired the first shot, of course, but again it's arguable that we provoked it. The war with Japan was about who was going to control the Pacific, and as such it would have happened sooner or later -- with or without Pearl Harbor. We would have to have invented something, like the Gulf of Tonkin incident, if they hadn't obliged us by attacking first.

As to Carter -- well, as it's said, even a stopped clock is correct twice a day. But I feel that the damage he did to the economy and military far outweigh any achievements he might have made -- intentionally or by sheer dumb luck -- in other areas. However, I have to give Carter this much, he paved the way for Reagan, the way Nixon paved the way for Carter. For that, he gets "major ups".

As to Vietnam -- of course, our post-WW II foreign policy was grossly mismanaged in many areas by both Truman and Eisenhower, the most egregious being our "benign" neglect of China which allowed -- encouraged, even -- supported, even! -- Mao's takeover and the resulting auto-genocide of the Chinese people and the shredding of their culture. (Fortunately, they have been smart enough to pull themselves out of Mao's dark ages and have now embarked on a campaign to return the, um, favor.) JFK was a liberal by 1960 standards but would be considered a "hawk" and even a bit conservative by today's. LBJ's fatal flaw was that he assumed sole ownership of the Vietnam war, even calling in air strikes from the White House. He could no more give up that war than Bush can give up Iraq. So yes, "all have sinned and fallen short".

As far as "global warming" buffs, your description overmatches anything I could come up with. As long as one views the global warming cult as a religion rather than a science, we'll get along fine. As science, it's on very speculative, shaky ground, as evidenced by the number of equally-qualified and credentialed scientists who consider it so much bunk (the "bunk" being of two varieties, i.e. "is it for real?" and "did we cause it?" Those are still two separate and distinct questions, even though they are typically confounded in the media.).

The Clinton "vacation from history" -- no argument! At least he had the sense to not dabble too much in the economy, although he did come right out and say he didn't trust Americans to spend their own money properly. But he was not a "theorist" -- unlike his wife, who has a _plan_ -- yes, for you, me, and all of us. Just wait until you see it! Of course, it is also just possible that Clinton's benign neglect of foreign policy constituted a vacuum that militant Islam rushed into; leave us not forget that 9-11 was a mere eight months after Bush's inauguration, hardly enough time for Bush and his cronies all by themselves to have softened up our defenses (or pursued a foreign policy that irritated the Arabs so much that they felt they had to knock down a few of our buildings). I mean, the conspirators themselves -- i.e., the ones who weren't on the planes -- have said that the idea had been in the works for years.

Now why are you so afraid of Opus Dei? (Don't worry, I find them a little creepy myself.)

And as to the Swiss Guard -- hey, have you ever tried running in those outfits?

And -- as always -- thanks for tuning in. Keep on commenting! And have a good Memorial Day.

Politics Means Always Having to Say You're Sorry

In an unprecedented but not surprising move as the presidential campaign nears its climax, both the Hillary Clinton and Obama campaigns today announced a policy of "preemptive apology". "With apologies, retractions, and 'clarifications' coming out at a faster pace every day," a Clinton spokesman said, "it makes sense to, rather than repeatedly disrupting the rhythm of the campaign with apologies, have the candidate issue a blanket, overall apology on a regular basis -- say once a week -- for anything the candidate might say, in the following seven days, which might offend any group or individual, no matter how far-fetched the offense, or how thin-skinned the individuals affected, might be. In this way, the timing of apologies can be geared to the weekly news cycle and be issued with a minimum amount of disruption, let's say late on Friday evening." An Obama spokesman concurred, noting that "This is one thing both candidates can agree on -- namely, that with the increasing pace of the campaigns and with the overwrought sensitivities of various portions of the electorate, it makes sense to 'package' apologies for the convenience of potentially-offended groups or individuals, and of the media as well." It is expected that, after ironing out a few details, the candidates will initiate the new procedure with simultaneous news conferences next Friday, after having, of course, issued any necessary apologies, retractions, and clarifications for any ill-advised statements they may make between now and then.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Say It Ain't So, Joe

The Israeli state department announced today that Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I - Conn.) has been appointed Israeli ambassador to the United States. While acknowledging that this choice was somewhat extraordinary, a spokesman said "Who out there is in a better position to speak up for Israeli interests than Senator Lieberman, who even went to the extreme of leaving the Democratic Party, declaring himself an independent candidate, and winning re-election anyway, all for the sake of pursuing foreign policies which were of maximum benefit to Israel?" A preliminary investigation by the U.S. State Department and Congress indicates that there are no rules against this in the U.S. Code or case law. A State Department spokesman, echoing the Israeli position, said "We cannot find any precedent for this sort of thing, but that doesn't mean it's illegal, or even wrong. It just appears to be one of those things no one anticipated, so there was never any discussion about it one way or the other." Israeli advocacy groups in this country were, without exception, ecstatic about the appointment. A representative from AIPAC, when a question was raised about "divided loyalties", said, "That's not a problem, since the senator's loyalties have never been divided. He has always preferred Israeli interests to those of the U.S. And besides, those interests are identical -- everyone in the Bush administration says so. And a large portion of the American public -- the Evangelicals, and their leaders -- agrees as well. So is there a problem? We think not." Of course, it is true that Lieberman will serve at the pleasure of the Israeli government, which is experiencing a bit of turbulence at this time, but it is expected that the situation will stabilize before long.

In related news, the largest single order for fallout shelters since the 1950s was placed with a manufacturer in Glendale, California. Although made through a third party, it is widely believed the order was initiated by the government of Iran.

All Fund Raising, All the Time

A local classical music/NPR station has announced a format change, whereby they will devote their entire broadcast day, except for the obligatory mind-numbing 6-hour NPR segment, to fund raising. "We've been getting some complaints about the frequency of membership drives," said a spokesman. "They've gone from annual to semi-annual to quarterly, and we're adding 'mini-drives' in between. We figured it would be more fair to the listeners to just switch over to an all-fund raising format, so they would know what to expect when they tuned in, and not be disappointed when what they expected to be an hour of classical music turns, instead, into an hour of yakking about what a 'good investment in quality programming' your contribution would be." When asked whether a loss of listeners might not be anticipated as a result of this change, he said, "We know there is a core group of loyal listeners out there who are hooked on NPR, since it's their only source of knowledge about the world, or about life in general. They're going to stay tuned in, whether we play music the rest of the time or not. And as for that group of soreheads who listen to the music early in the day but switch stations the minute 'All Things Considered' comes on, we can get along without them. Frankly, we doubt if they donate that much anyway; they're just parasites." Harsh words, coming from a station whose announcers normally speak in hushed, "metrosexual" tones. But it's an interesting experiment, and if it works we can expect many more stations across the country to be following suit.

The Beginning of the End Game

Anyone who's ever done any sailing can tell you that a change in the wind does not always come on in a big way, all of a sudden. Sometimes it's announced by just the slightest ruffling of the jib. It make take a while to change in a definitive way, but it's that slight ruffling that provides the first clue, if one is paying attention. What I am seeing now is a similar phenomenon, whereby the media are starting to pull back a bit from the "it's over" attitude they have been displaying for the past week or two vis-a-vis the Democratic Party contest for the presidential nomination. Reality is starting to creep in, some would say. If Obama is nominated, by Election Day he could be wearing an afro and putting out black power salutes... talking about reparations for slavery... an egalitarian foreign policy when it comes to Israel vs. Palestine... and who knows what other abominations? Rather than being a unifier, he could wind up stuck over in a corner with Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan and, yes, Jeremiah Wright. But he will still be the Democratic candidate, by gosh, and he will be given a drubbing that will make George McGovern look like Rambo by comparison. Of course, this is not what they are actually saying -- it's more like, those Bible-and-gun-toting rednecks he talked about might just decide to go to the polls and vote, and who knew there were so many of them? At least Hillary has had the good sense to keep her distaste for the working man, the petite bourgeoisie, and the kulaks to a minimum throughout the campaign.

In any case, the media are starting to talk more and more like party pragmatists. Now it's all about who can beat McCain, rather than who best represents the utopian ideals for which the Democrats are justly famed (infamed, actually). Suddenly the question of Michigan and Florida is on everyone's mind, and -- yes, just as I predicted -- there are subtle hints that Hillary may try to claim those votes, and succeed! Then there is the question of the loyalty of the "pledged" delegates. (How much is the "pledge" of a Democrat worth anyway? I rest my case.) Then there are the superdelegates, who can, basically, do anything they damn please. I honestly think we're working up to a palace coup by Hillary, and that Obama won't be able to do a thing about it (although Al Sharpton might be willing to get arrested as a token gesture of protest). There is even a vigorous debate as to how many votes are really necessary to win the nomination! (You would think this would have been settled long since, but again, we're talking about the Democrats here, whose innumeracy is legendary.) So no, I think the people who claim that it's "over" are indulging in wishful thinking. I think we're going to see a last-minute, out-of-the-blue checkmate by Hillary that will leave Obama shaking his head in disbelief... and his supporters running for the nearest watering hole to drown their sorrows. I could be wrong, of course... but maybe not.

Show Me the Money !

The latest in successful discrimination lawsuits concerns paper money, which -- it is claimed -- is difficult for a sight-impaired person to deal with, since they can't tell the difference between ones, fives, tens, and so on. OK, fair enough. The proposed solutions include making paper money in different sizes, or including some sort of raised or embossed section. (No one has proposed making fives _smell_ different from ones, but I don't see why that wouldn't work -- we can scent everything else made of paper, why not that?) But all of this is just misguided speculation. I have a much better idea. How about making our currency -- rather than out of paper, which has very little intrinsic value -- out of, say, some kind of metal? Something that is kind of scarce, say, like silver? Or even gold? You could have a standardized design for each denomination, and different sizes of coin for each, which would be easy for blind people to distinguish. It would have the added advantage of making intentional inflation of the currency by the government very difficult, which would in turn have a favorable impact on the balance-of-trade issue and the currency exchange issue. Who knows, it might even help restore some of the respect this country used to have in the international financial markets. I think it's a good idea and I'm going to propose it to the Treasury Department.

Oh, wait... you say we used to _have_ a system like that? Well, what the hell happened?

Stray Thoughts

1. Here we go again. This time, it's "Why can't the U.S. be more like Kenya?" There, a number of people have been put to death by mobs for practicing witchcraft, specifically for "making the bright children in the community dumb". You don't suppose a little bit of this tough love might work wonders for the National Education Association, do you? Just a thought...

2. The last of the "idle rich" has passed on to his reward. Huntington Hartford, A&P heir, who blew most of his $90 million inheritance on pet projects and high living, has died at age 97. (Well, at least he didn't donate anything to the U.N. -- now _that_ would have been a waste.) Apparently he lasted about six months in the family business... I think I'm starting to like this guy! How many rich people nowadays really know how to live in style? I mean, look at Bill Gates with his nerdy sweaters and even-more-nerdy haircut. Look at the Kennedys, who work their butts off, and for what? For a bunch of failed utopian schemes, by and large. The idea that "if you've got it, flaunt it" has always gone somewhat against the grain of American get-up-and-go and the Protestant ethic. But thank goodness there was at least one holdout.

3. It's happening more and more often these days. The locals -- i.e., residents of Pittsburgh and surrounding areas -- are getting stuck and killed by trains. Now, of course, one always has to read between lines in these cases. Most of the time, the person was walking along the tracks late at night, for some unknown reason, although being "shit-faced drunk" might be a possibility. In at least one recent case, the guy had been _lying_ on the railroad tracks -- again, not explained, although he might have been reprising one of those scenes in the old Western movies where the Indian puts his ear to the rail and says something like, "Iron horse come this way, carrying many white-eyes." But in any case, it's remarkable how something that has been an integral part of local life for over a century and a half has suddenly morphed into a major health hazard.

4. It's always inspiring to see the heights to which sub-Saharan Africa has risen since they shucked off the oppressive rule of European colonials. The latest is the series of not-at-all-gentle lynchings of migrant workers by the locals in South Africa. It seems like, as hardscrabble as life in the South African workers' towns is, it's still preferable to life in places like Zimbabwe, where many of the migrants hail from. It's a bit like the troubles we are having in this country with "illegals" from Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. But I don't recall any of them getting doused with gasoline and set on fire. Still, one has to admire the progress that has been made since the, um, dark days of apartheid.

5. It seems there is now a technology whereby the ashes of a deceased loved one -- at least the portion that is carbon -- can be processed into a memorial diamond. It's already been done with a deceased cat, so how long until it's done with a deceased person? Then one can truly say, "these diamonds were a girl's best friend".

Monday, May 19, 2008

Stop, Look, and Listen

The moaning and hand-wringing started within minutes after the 9-11 attacks: "Why do they hate us?" And of course, none of the answers that was suggested sufficed to explain the situation -- nor was it meant to. The last thing anyone wants to do at a time like that is to take a look at what the "terrorist" organizations have actually said, and written; we know they're just a bunch of lying, sneaky reptiles, so why should we believe anything they say about why they do what they do? But that's funny, since the government has, in the past, spent billions of dollars on "analysis", studying every jot and tittle of writings that came out of places like Russia, China, Germany, and Japan -- and hanging on every public utterance of their leaders. But suddenly, in this case -- i.e. the "War on Terror" -- that method of analysis is considered totally non-meritorious. Could it be that we're more comfortable with the wrong answers than with the right ones? Let's look at the latest statement -- on the occasion of Israel's 60th anniversary, no less -- from The Alleged Voice of Osama bin Laden" -- TAVOL for short. (Well, we know that no one ever actually sees _him_, and no one can prove that any of those broadcasts are actually of him speaking, so we're left with this kind of Howard Hughes-like persona, speaking from the shadows.) TAVOL said that the Palestinian cause "is at the heart of al-Qaida's holy war with the West." What that means -- for those of you in Rio Linda -- is that it's not about oil, or religious discrimination in the U.S. and Europe, or us making fun of Moslem names and clothing and customs, or the Koran, or our "wealth" (which is slowly ebbing away anyway), or our degenerate culture and profligate life styles. No, it's really quite simple -- it's about Israel, and the support we provide for the ongoing Indian-reservation treatment of the Palestinians. Now, why can't our leaders, just once, try listening to this? Well, because that would imply that the quickest way to resolve the "terrorism" issue would be to drop Israel like a hot potato -- and we certainly can't have that. So we continue to fight the "Global War on Terrorism" based on premises and assumptions that we _know_ to be false... and show absolutely no interest in approaching the problem on the terms TAVOL has laid out, time and time again. Now, what happens when you refuse to even recognize the reasons that your enemy has gone to war? It's a whole lot tougher to fight, and a whole lot tougher -- or maybe impossible -- to win. Sure, you can exercise brute force and ignore what's going through their heads. But like with fire, if you remove the fuel it will cease to burn, and that may be a much more efficient strategy. But of course, we could never do that, so...

Scatter Shots

1. It's becoming more and more clear that one of the most dangerous things you can do is get on a charter bus in order to go to some far-off casino. For some weird reason, these gambler's expresses seem highly prone to crashing, rolling over, running into walls, off cliffs, and so on. One might almost think there is some karmic significance to all this. Are gamblers being punished for their gullibility by being consigned to poorly-maintained buses driven by incompetent or impaired drivers? It kind of seems that way... except we all know that's not how things work in real life. Right?

2. Not yet blamed on "global warming", but we're working on it: The mysterious coming back to life of a long-dormant volcano in Chile. And also, the major earthquake in China -- which we know was really caused by the coordinated chanting of thousands of Tibetan monks.

3. It turns out that tits may not be evolving after all. Oh wait -- ha ha -- I meant the "great tits", that's a kind of bird in England that has shown not-all-that-surprising ability to adjust to an earlier spring. I mean, if my forsythia can do it, why can't a bird? But this was originally touted as another "proof" of evolution... as if any were needed, since the government has said that it's absolutely true. So this species of birds has not, after all, evolved in a significant way over only 30-35 years. A crushing blow, indeed... and it also shatters all the hopes of unreconstructed Bolsheviks as to the possibility of creating a New Soviet Man in about the same amount of time.

4. A new museum is opening in Washington, DC -- the "National Museum of Crime and Punishment". And no, it won't consist entirely of Dostoyevsky manuscripts. What it ought to include, however, is large-scale exhibits covering the Carter and Clinton administrations. But no, wait... those were only crimes; there has yet to be any punishment.

5. The main power station in Tirana, the capital of Albania, was disabled by "a cat chasing a mouse". Unlikely? Well... think about it. First of all, we're talking about Albania, where total power consumption up until recently was measured in just plain watts. Plus, what if the cat and mouse were as persistent, and stamina-laden, as, say, Tom and Jerry? Or Itchy and Scratchy? Then it would be less of a surprise. But once again, the media -- by publicizing this story -- have placed still another idea for terrorist attacks right into the hands of al-Qaida.

6. Was the Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid on the kosher meatpacking plant in Iowa an instance of anti-Semitism? It certainly looks that way to me. I mean, of all the places they could have picked, it had to be the largest kosher meat plant in the U.S. I expect the ADL to get on this right away. Sounds like the immigration folks are a bunch of wieners...

7. And speaking of things kosher, there was a very interesting column by Pat Buchanan in the Saturday (May 17) paper, having to do with Israel and demographics: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/opinion/columnists/guests/s_567915.html .
He points out that, although the Jewish population of Israel continues to rise, the Jewish population of the U.S. is declining slightly, and he attributes this to an estimated "1 million lost members of the Jewish community" -- lost, that is, through abortion. I guess it would be in poor taste to speculate that this is one small piece of the "final solution" that the Jews themselves have embraced. And yet -- aside from the Hassidic community, as usual -- the Jewish community overall has been one of the strongest supporters of "reproductive choice" -- include for their own members, apparently. So what they are experiencing is a small subset of what is happening over much of Europe. On the other hand -- back to Buchanan -- the Palestinian population of Israel is reproducing at a high rate, apparently unaware that this is one of the many things they were not supposed to do after 1948. I mean, if Israel was "a land without a people" then it's a bit tacky for all of these non-people to keep producing more non-people, now isn't it? Another paradox Buchanan points out is that the continued failure (on whoever's part) to establish a Palestinian state means that the pressure of increasing non-Jewish populations will continue to be exerted on Israel itself, whereas it could have been confined to the State of Palestine, or whatever they might have come up with. (Think: Mexico and the U.S. Well, OK, don't.) Future historians may well decide that the Enlightenment came a cropper on the rocks of demographics.

8. The latest installment of my ongoing series, "Why Can't the U.S. Be More Like...?", involves Egypt, where a man was sentenced to 1,000 years in prison for doing nothing more than this: "He would promise people that he would invest their money for them and bring them good profits, but he would take the money and disappear." Now, how does that differ from the actions of many stockbrokers and "hedge fund" managers? It doesn't! But do you see them going to jail for 1,000 years -- or at all? I say, we should change the rules to catch up to Egypt. Just don't expect them to do anything about pyramid schemes...

Is This Hillary's "Steely" Moment?

Any movie buff will remember the climactic scene in "The Caine Mutiny", where Humphrey Bogart, playing Captain Queeg under stern cross-examination at a court martial, starts to melt down. He finally takes those ball bearings, AKA steelies, out of his pocket and starts clicking them around in his hand, like the "worry beads" that men in the Near East use. This is a sign that he has finally run up against a brick wall, and that his stories and alibis will no longer stand up, and people are no longer convinced. (It's also a sign that he's a nut.) It is not, however, the final scene in the movie, since later on the "mutineers" get together over brandy and cigars and talk the whole thing over, not without a certain slight, awkward feeling of guilt. The question is, has Hillary reached her "steely" moment in this campaign? That is, has it gotten to the point where the whole business is starting to clearly unravel, and her continued presence on the campaign trail is turning into an embarrassment? According to the last few days' commentaries, that's pretty much the way things are right now. Most of the journalistic wise men have all but crowned Obama the nominee, and they are starting to talk openly about the campaign from here on out as being Obama (and "Whoever") vs. McCain (and "Whoever") -- with, of course, Bob Barr thrown in as a possible spoiler for McCain.

Well... as I've said many times before, don't be so sure. Hillary has more tricks up her sleeve than Houdini, and she is going to fight like a demon for this nomination, right up to and into the convention, _even if_ Obama seems to have enough "pledged delegates" to put him over the top. That's my prediction, at any rate. I've just seen too damn much of these people (Hill and Bill, that is) over the years to expect anything different. I mean, we're talking about people who were so averse to leaving the White House that they tried taking most of it with them. For them -- to paraphrase Vince Lombardi -- power isn't everything; it's the _only_ thing. After being "co-president" for eight years, do you really thing Hillary has been at all satsified with a lowly Senate seat? I doubt it very much.

For one thing, look at that fat pile of "disputed" delegates from Michigan and Florida. Who says that won't be seated after all, and all vote for Hillary? Can anyone guarantee that this won't happen? No. Do the Democratic Party rules keep it from happening? No -- not if they can be changed a bit, by Hillary and her machine. She is all ready to make total fools of the people who are falling all over themselves to jump on Obama's bandwagon.

But this brings up an interesting question. In the event she does not win the nomination, or the presidency, that means her husband will be unemployed again... for an indefinite period. Well, we know the kinds of mischief Bill Clinton can get into when he has time on his hands. This alone might be sufficient justification for voting for Hillary -- since if she gets in he'll at least be confined to the White House most of the time, and not roaming the streets.

To which I'd like to add a great quote from a so-called "Democratic media strategist": "If you strapped Hillary Clinton to a lie detector... she believes in her core that she would be a better candidate in the general election, and a better president." To which I can only add, if you strapped Hillary Clinton to a lie detector it would blow up because of massive overload.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Race You to the Finish

You can mark this day down on your calendar as a date that will live in... well, not infamy, exactly. But on this day, the unthinkable has happened. Pat Buchanan, in his column (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/opinion/columnists/guests/s_567297.html), has come out in defense of... the Clintons! Well, not in the overall sense, but in the sense of, they weren't really "playing the race card" when they called attention to some problems with Obama and his campaign -- just being realistic. Which is true, if you stick with what they actually said, i.e. literally. Of course, one can't help but wondering if the race card was nonetheless being played, in a "stealth" manner. I mean, hey, if almost anything the Republicans say can be called "code" for racism, then surely we're allowed to hold the Democrats -- and the Clintons above all -- to the same standard. Right? But in any case, and as Buchanan points out, "The Clintons are today victims of a double standard that has long been employed against conservatives." All too true! And seeing liberals hoisted on their own petard is a marvelous thing. The liberals', and Democrats', shock troops, for decades now, have been disgruntled blacks who pour into the streets the minute anyone calls any statement on the part of Republicans or conservatives "racist". But the average white liberal never dreamed that he, or she, would wind up toe-to-toe with a black person in a presidential race. And yet, the "street" is so well-trained, and so finely conditioned, at this point, that it is perfectly capable of turning on its masters -- and that is precisely what has happened. Buchanan also warns that if McCain and his campaign are intimidated by all of this, it's going to constitute a considerable disadvantage for them as well. When anything you say, or do, can be called "racist", and used as a political weapon, what is your defense? In most cases, it's some pitiable whining like, "No, I'm not a racist. Some of my best friends are..." Et cetera. This stands aside other unanswerable accusations, like "anti-Semitic" and "sexist" and "homophobic" (which replaced "homosexual" at some point, but no one can remember when -- for a while there the liberals were using _both_), as blunt instruments of political campaigns, which the liberals and/or Democrats have all earned black belts in. So it is good to see these instruments being used by Democrats against each other -- but Buchanan is warning the Republicans to not get cold feet. Well, lots of luck -- I can actually see McCain being willing to damn the torpedos, but how about the rest of the party? Highly doubtful.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Way Things Really Are... Usually

He's new... he's young... he's charismatic... he's hip... he's with it... he's hot... the Democrats adore him... the lefties adore him... the peaceniks adore him... the socialists adore him... and no, he's not going to get nominated. Hillary's campaign, figuring this "democracy" thing within the "Democratic" Party has gone far enough, has finally switched tactics in a definitive manner. It doesn't matter any more how many delegate votes Obama has, 'cause we're not talking about just the Democratic Party here; in fact, we never were. It was _always_ about who was more electable, not who was more popular _within_ Democratic ranks. I mean, yeah, when that turns out to be the same person, that's OK, but when it doesn't, electability should carry the day. Now of course, one cannot, in all of this, detect the slightest hint of self-interest on Hillary's part, oh no. It's all about the good of the country, and of "the children", and of... whatever other BS she can dream up on any particular occasion. But as an example of political smarts, it does, after all, have something to recommend it. Every time the Democrats nominate someone who represents their real point of view on things, they lose. Take George McGovern, for example. No, really -- you take him, I don't want him. Well, but he represented, faithfully, the "sense" of the Democratic party back in 1972, and since very few normal people share that sense, he lost -- to none other than "Tricky Dick". But beating McGovern in '72 was no trick; it was a no-brainer. And beating Carter in 1980 was likewise a no-brainer; of course he had aleady had four years to drive our economy and our military into the toilet, so all people had to do on that occasion is look at the record. What is starting to dawn on the Democrats now, however, is that if they nominate according to their emotions -- according to the fad of the moment -- they are going to suffer another "McGovern Moment". Yeah, they'll have retained some sort of left-wing "purity", but at the price of an election. On the other hand, if they nominate the candidate who represents the same tired, old, failed liberal crap, they might have a chance -- thus, the paradoxes of American elections. The "dull normal" is preferable to the "radical" and "extreme". It seems that the American electorate is actually quite conservative in this sense -- they don't want anyone rocking the boat from either direction. What Americans consider "radical" or "extreme" in politics is, in Europe, just considered "politics". Over there, you can get people who actually _call_ themselves fascists, or communists, or nationalists, or socialists, running for office. Over here's that's impossible. Our candidates all have to be about as dynamic and challenging as Wonder Bread -- except less nutritious. Could it be that Americans, at heart, have an actual distaste for politics? It seems that might be the case -- certainly compared to our neighbors to the south, who revel in the to-and-fro of politics on pretty much a 24-7 basis, we seem to be willing to tolerate it, up to a point, every four years or so, after which time it becomes a plaything of the rich and idle once again. And I guess that's a good thing. But you won't have heard anything like the hue and cry coming from the Obama camp when the proverbial smoke-filled room grants Hillary the nomination, for the good of... whatever. Once again -- as in 1968, e.g. -- the radical left will have been given the straight arm, and the back of the hand, and they will be hurt, offended, and puzzled. "Isn't this a democracy?" they will ask. And the answer is, yes, sort of, "but". So they will go home in tears, after having burned a few tires on the streets of Denver and vowed to... do something, not sure what, later on. They are the equivalent of the true conservatives who remain in the Republican Party -- hope springs eternal, and a fool and their vote are soon parted. Both parties know how to exploit true believers. They can even make them think they still respect them in the morning... but we know better.

Zapped by the Bug Light

1. A Penny For Your... Inanity

If I were this kid, I'd sue. A 4th grader in Michigan collected a _million_ pennies, which he then donated to his school, which then spent part of the cash on... well, they did buy some AV equipment and maps, which makes some sense. But they also spent some of it on "a concrete bench for the peace garden". Yes, you heard it right -- a grade school -- Catholic, no less -- with a "peace garden". I dunno... maybe I'm just being crabby, but I can't help getting a definite "kumbaya" feeling about all this. I'll bet they also have benefit shows where, at the end, everyone gets up on stage in one big line, links arms, and sways back and forth for some "cause". Hey -- public displays are all well and good, but peace begins with the individual. That was the communists' scam. They tried convincing people that you could be mean and nasty as individuals, but for "peace" as a group. Not so. If the individual does not prefer peace to war, then the group/society/nation won't either. This is where we continue to fool ourselves. We claim -- the State Department repeats this constantly, like a mantra -- to be for "peace". But you ask the average guy on the street, and he's all for kicking ass, wherever and whenever it is to be found -- and that's what gets reflected in our _real_ foreign policy, as opposed to our alleged one.

2. Evangelical Anarchy?

According to today's Robert Novak column (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/opinion/columnists/guests/s_567123.html), there is a splinter movement afoot among Evangelicals to _support_ Barack Obama on the grounds that the American electorate "deserve" the agonies of an Obama presidency, to cleanse them of their sins, which are great and many. Well, my first question is, wasn't the Clinton administration enough punishment? Or, failing that, the Bush II administration? How much more can we take? Some of us haven't gotten over Jimmy Carter yet. To further cloud the issue, there is some suspicion that Mike Huckabee is one of these secret Evangelical anarchists, who believe that Obama has been appointed (not that he realizes this) the Scourge of God. (Al Gore must be getting mighty jealous about now.) This is really quite a remarkable revelation -- and all the more so because it comes from Novak, who is not much of a conspiracy theorist and whose column is generally a bit of a yawner. But now it seems that some people out there believe that "... an Obama presidency is in keeping with the Bible's prophecy." (Not mentioned -- "which" prophecy they are referring to.) Well... excuse my skepticism, but these are the very same folks who think our defense of Israel is in keeping with Biblical prophecy. Isn't it amazing how religion is, far from creeping back into American politics, jumping in with both feet? It's even funnier that the liberal media have yet to figure out just how far this has gone. Maybe it's another one of those "inconvenient truths".

3. Iran, and So Can You

Sometimes I wish this country were more like... Iran! Over there, they have something called "morals police", and they have been cracking down, of late, on "'indecent Western-inspired movements' such as rap music and satanism." Now, imagine how much more pleasant life would be over here without those two annoying and distasteful cultural artifacts. The morals police also target "women who flout rules dictating that they... disguise the shape of their bodies in public." Don't tell me this wouldn't be a good idea over here! Most of the female body shapes I see on the street _ought_ to be disguised. (This is one thing I can never figure out about nudists and naturists -- I mean really, who _wants_ to see most people naked? I sure don't.) So anyway -- I think before we take Hillary's advice and "annihilate" Iran we should take another look -- maybe we can learn something from these folks.

4. Bingo Was Its Name-O

In "unanticipated consequences" news, it seems that the multiplication of casinos in the tri-state, i.e. Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, area is seriously eating into profits from local bingo establishments -- you know, churches, fire halls, etc. The irony, of course, is that whereas "profits" from the old-time local bingo games stayed in the community, profits from the casinos are shipped out to owners who may be hundreds or even thousands of miles away. So "big gambling" makes the rich richer and the poor... well, you know. Now, how many local bingo players are going to make that connection, i.e. between big gambling and their elected "leaders"? Damn few, is my guess. It's an interesting trend, really -- after decades of redistributing income from the middle class (and a few stupid rich people) to the poor, state governments have finally turned the corner and are now enabling, and facilitating, the re-redistribution of income from the poor back to the (smart) rich. Maybe there's some karmic significance to it all. Or maybe it's just plain greed. Which would be your guess?

Will He Walk His Talk?

John Hagee is to John McCain as Jeremiah Wright is to Barack Obama. That's the answer to the new "Miller Analogies Test" question. To expand on this point a bit further -- Hagee is this no-neck, ignoramus preacher who somehow wound up leading a "megachurch" -- defined as a church where you have to catch a shuttle bus from the parking lot to the main church building, which is on a "campus". Among Hagee's many brain farts is the notion that the Inquisition and the Crusades were instituted in order to persecute Jews. Another is that Hitler was a "good Catholic". It's just the standard set of KKK drivel that has been floating around since Martin Luther's day, but has been given a certain raw-boned, American-style cachet by the Evangelicals and/or Fundamentalists. But that's not the point. Hagee supports McCain because McCain promises to keep the war in Iraq going forever, and the reason that's good is that -- as every good Evangelical knows -- the war was initiated for the sole purpose of getting Iraq out of Israel's face, and the only way to _keep_ it out of Israel's face is to keep occupying the place indefinitely. This is all crystal-clear, and quite explicitly discussed, in Evangelical circles, but for some reason the MSM won't touch it with a ten-foot pole. Maybe they're afraid that the rest of the American electorate, i.e. non-Evangelicals, won't take too kindly to that notion of why we're in Iraq and why we have to stay there at all costs. Well, one can hardly blame them, because the whole thing is based on a highly suspect reading of the Book of Revelation -- but that reading has energized the Evangelical community and has, in turn, had a decisive impact on the Bush administration, which means it will also have a decisive impact on a McCain administration. All of which goes to show that this ballyhooed "wall of separation between church and state" is the titanic myth of our time. Our foreign policy is being dictated by a bunch of lowbrow, knuckle-dragging Bible thumpers, and that's all there is to it. Now, of course it would hardly be fair to claim that just becuase McCain has the endorsement of Hagee, that he agrees with all his views... but wait! That's the assumption that everyone is making about Obama vs. Wright, isn't it? What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, right? Good thing Hagee came along at the right time to level the playing field a bit -- gosh, for a while there I was afraid that McCain might not have a "preacher issue". One thing for sure -- Hillary won't ever have one. Maybe we should give her a second look...

A Guy Walks Into a Barr...

It seems that Bob Barr has finally outed himself as a libertarian -- or at least enough of one to try for the Libertarian Party nomination for president. And of course, the libertarian world has already been debating his authenticity -- his libertarian purity -- for months. For my money, Bob Barr deserves a serious look because -- if for no other reason -- he had one of the coldest, loneliest jobs in town a few years back, namely that of spearheading the impeachment of one Bill Clinton. With most of the media arrayed against him, and with liberals of every affiliation tut-tutting that it was "just about sex", and no more than a witch hunt, yadda yadda, and that anyone who wanted to actually throw our shining, silver-haired boy president out of office was terminally mean-spirited, Bob Barr fought on, along with Henry Hyde and a handful of other heroes, in Congress and the media. Think "Nixon vs. Alger Hiss", or "Joe McCarthy vs. almost everyone", and you see what these guys were up against. But they were driven by a firmly-held belief, i.e. that the country would be better off not being led by a degenerate sex addict -- who also happened to be guilty -- if unindicted -- of numerous high crimes and misdemeanors. And it was their persistence that led to what was, IMHO, one of the most memorable moments in 20th-Century politics, namely Bill Clinton's taped deposition. That event should be enshrined forevermore in the archives of... what? Politics? No -- psychopathology. But in any case, murmurings are already starting as to the "impact" of a Barr candidacy on the Republicans. That party heaved a great sigh of relief when Ron Paul showed no sign of bolting and forming a third-party candidacy. But their relief was short-lived. Now along comes Barr, and all bets are off again. The folks who would have walked, or crawled, a mile to vote for Ron Paul might just be willing to vote for Bob Barr. Or they might not; it depends, to some extent, on their degree of doctrinal purity, vis-a-vis libertarianism, paleoconservatism, and the somewhat uneasy but nonetheless growing nexus between the two. I suspect that most Ron Paul supporters would not feel more than a slight bump if they segued into the Barr camp. And where, after all, are the "purists" supposed to go in that case? I guess the Constitution Party offers an option. But if they were smart they would join forces -- at least this time around -- with the Libertarians. I don't think that's going to happen, but when you look at the platforms you'll wonder why not. In any case, the Libertarians might, this year, perform the same function as the Greens have performed in the past, which is to "sabotage" one of the major parties -- to which I say, richly deserved, and march on!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Forty Years On

Forty years ago this summer, I was sitting in a parking lot in Albuquerque, NM with a friend, listening to bulletins from the Democratic Convention in Chicago on the car radio. His comment was, "It's like a blind queen cruising a glory hole" -- which, in gay parlance, meant "It's an exercise in total futility." I was already politically astute enough at that point to appreciate the "crunchiness" of the Democratic Party's quadrennial love-in being disrupted by protesters against the war the Democrats started and escalated out of all proportion. Now -- forty years on -- it appears that there is a movement afoot to, once again, disrupt the proceedings and expose the Democrats for the hypocritical, sold-out lot of reprobates they are. Among those intending to lead -- or at least inspire -- this action, according to L. Brent Bozell III, is none other then Roseanne Barr -- you know, the gal who the National Association of Fat, Ignorant Cows expelled for being too fat, too ignorant, and too much of a cow? And, of course, let's face it, these folks have a point. They accuse the Democratic Party of supporting "imperialism" and "racism". Well, if by imperialism you mean the war in Iraq, who can possibly argue? The Democrats sold out on this issue years ago, and they continue to do so at every new opportunity. If by racism you mean the permanent relegation of the black race to a plantation run by the Democrats, again, who can argue? (But we know that's not what they really meant; they can't possibly be that perceptive.) A point Bozell makes is that this conspiracy is not being covered by the mainstream media, but only by the Neocons (he doesn't call them that). Well, fair enough. But I suspect this is one party that's going to fizzle. For one thing, we still had a draft in 1968. For another, we were fighting the communists, in whom the left-wing Democrats saw no fault then, nor do they unto this day. (Example: Cuba's the way it is because of the American boycott. Never mind that every other country on the planet enjoys perfectly cordial trading relations with Cuba.) While it's true that the Democrats have sold out -- the "war party" is now both parties combined -- the lefties don't have enough of a cause to take over the "Denver street". Now, the blacks, on the other hand, when and if Obama gets his walking papers handed to him by the DNC -- with the Clintons grinning like Dr. Evil and his cat in the background -- might be a different story. I, for one, will be glad to contribute to the busing of one of Al Sharpton's "rent-a-mobs" out to Denver, just to pour fuel on the fire.

The Invasion of the Brainiacs

I had a first-time-ever experience over the weekend. I attended the United States Chess Federation's 2008 National Elementary Championship down at the Convention Center; the daughter of a friend of mine was competing. The event was run like a well-oiled machine, which is all the more remarkable when you consider the potential for chaos from having 2,100 kids all under one roof -- yes, that's 1050 games all at once, times seven over the course of the weekend. But what struck me as I walked in was that this has to be the most race-, ethnic-, creed-, gender- and color-blind event on the planet, with the possible exception of Rio's Carnivale. I say "gender-blind" even though there are, at other times and places, all-girls tournaments. But that may be the only instance in existence where "affirmative action" (voluntary, that is -- not in response to government decrees) makes sense, since normally these tournaments have about 90% boys. But note -- no one sits around spouting politically-correct -- or otherwise -- theories as to why this is the case. It simply is. (Larry Summers should have attended a junior chess tournament, then he wouldn't be where he is today -- unemployed.) And there are no signs of quotas, "special" categories, or any of the other liberal toxins that seem to infect nearly every other activity in our society -- including, of course, amateur sports on all levels. Somehow, that sort of thing seems to have been held at bay. You don't suppose that it's because chess is all about raw brainpower, no more and no less, do you? Where can politics penetrate, and gain a foothold? Surely an environment like this would have to be anathema to all of our social-change and entitlement pushers -- which is probably why I found it so appealing. No one was worried about anyone's feelings getting hurt, even though, admittedly, each game produces one winner and one loser. This situation, which would be considered horribly "unfair", and "mean-spirited" by the social mavens of our day, is accepted with perfect aplomb by the competitors and their parents. A miracle, truly.

Another observation is that these kids don't fit the stereotype of the pale, skinny nerd with the big head and the thick eyeglasses. They come in all shapes and sizes, and most of them seem quite physically fit. In between matches, the boys are -- what else? -- playing chess, or playing football with those... I don't know what you call them, but they're a cross between whiffle balls and beanbags. In any case, the kids are nearly all quite wiry and very energetic. Oh sure, there are a few wispy types who look like they would dry up and blow away if they were exposed to direct sunlight, but they're in the minority. But the main difference -- as I pointed out to my friend, and she agreed -- is in the walk, and in the eyes. These kids walk straight ahead, totally upright, as if they know where they're going and can't wait to get there -- in contrast to the local public school kids, who do this slouching, aimless, desultory shuffle, or waddle, as if they couldn't care less. And the eyes! The eyes are bright, darting to and fro, eager to gather up as much information as possible -- again, in contrast to the heavy-lidded, half-asleep look of the local kids, who are undoubtedly junked out on sugar, salt, rap music, and junk food (if not actual drugs). So truly, these "chess kids" seem poised to inherit the earth -- whether they are meek or not (and they are anything but). And their parents? Well, some of them seem a bit on the aggressive side -- but nowhere near as bad as "stage parents" or -- heaven forbid -- "soccer parents" (they're the worst). I didn't see one fistfight all weekend! No one was picked up for aggravated assault. These parents seem more concerned with developing their kids' thinking skills than their entitlement-scrounging skills... again, a miracle.

So -- if you want a vision of the future -- the ideal furture, even if the real one comes up a bit short -- show up at one of these tournaments and watch a bunch of perfectly-normal kids who just happen to have supersized (or super-efficient, more likely) brains go at it. Maybe when you see what the human race could be like, and how it could function, you'll have less patience with liberal doom, gloom, and despair. Let's just hope that the Department of Education never finds out about this, though -- then we'll have a program called "No Child Allowed Ahead".

More Rim Shots

1. I love this business of the international community being "outraged" that the government of The Country Formerly Known as Burma -- TCFKB for short -- is resisting humanitarian aid in the wake of the cyclone. Let me see now, is this the same international community that has been basically ignoring decades of starvation in North Korea? Almost seems like it has to be the same hypocritical bunch.

2. Obama "might consider" Hillary as a running mate. Somehow the phrase "when Hell freezes over" seems to have fallen on deaf ears in the Obama camp. Hillary has already been "co-president" for 8 long years -- why take a demotion now? Surely she can't hope to reprise Dick Cheney's remarkable career as "vice president" -- hint hint. Who could? The office is normally synonymous with "Loserville", and with "one-way ticket to total obscurity". Sure, there are exceptions, but Hillary is just not the type to sit still while someone plants the kiss of death on her corpy lips.

3. A little word game -- easily missed -- appeared in a brief article about Pope Benedict's comments on the Church's stand on birth control. It starts out by saying that the Pope "acknowledged that the Vatican's instructions against birth control are complicated..." But the direct quote is "The teaching laid out in the 'Humanae [V]itae' encyclical isn't easy." What's the difference? It's a matter of translation, and what the American media always want to think about the Catholic Church. The opposite of "easy", in this case, is not "complicated". The instructions are very simple and clear -- no artificial birth control, period. And ditto artificial procreation methods. What's _not_ easy is the compliance part, i.e. it goes against the carnal and hedonistic baseline of Western culture, which influences even practicing Catholics and contaminates "liberal" Catholic teachings on the matter. It really boils down to self control, and that is a rare commodity in this day and age. And yet, for some strange reason, civilizations which dominate are, in the long run, characterized by self-control, both by rulers and the citizenry. Civilizations on the way to meltdown are characterized by the opposite. So which side of this divide are the "Western democracies" on? That's your assignment for next time.

4. I love this. "In Norway, a Vietnamese man lost about $35,000 after he was led to believe that mixing the cash with a special liquid would double its value." So here's my question -- how can someone who's that stupid even wind up _having_ $35,000? A lottery winner, maybe? More likely -- he was the beneficiary of one of the U.S. government's "small business set-aside" contracts.

5. The South Koreans spend more time on the job than the citizens of any other free-market democracy, according to the 2008 Factbook of the Organization for Economic Develoment and Cooperation. They are also second to last in leisure spending, first in suicide, and last in bearing children. Any chance we could air-drop a few million copies of "Leisure, the Basis of Culture", by Josef Pieper, on South Korea?

The Queen of Hearts Rages On

One of the most interesting kinds of historical events are those in which a feared dictator or tyrant is deposed or overthrown in a coup. I'm not talking about assassination here, or "decapitation" -- e.g. by a foreign government, like the way we dealt with Diem and Allende and Saddam, and tried to do with Castro. No, this is where internal pressures build up to such a pitch that people are willing to put their lives on the line in order to get rid of the person at the top, figuring that if they succeed, all will be well, and if they fail, well, it was worth the effort. It does not involve direct violence -- at least not at first. It may simply be a matter of putting the person out on the street, or sending them into exile, or to jail. And in many cases it's a very perilous business. There is the matter of timing -- of convincing the right people at the right time to cooperate, or at least not interfere. There is also the matter of "P.R.", i.e. convincing the citizenry that the time has come for a change. The consequences of failure are grave -- in fact, they might be _the_ grave. Two examples from the communist world are the fall of Beria after the death of Stalin, and the fall of Chiang Ching after the death of Mao. It could have very well gone the other way; but fortunately it didn't. Western democracies don't usually have as many cases of this sort, or on such a dramatic level. But sometimes there are exceptions. Like right now with the Democrats. There is apparently a movement afoot to somehow, by some means, push the Clintons off the throne of power in the Democratic party, because it's felt that they've become a liability and an anchor, and a threat to the future of the party. To which my first question is, hey guys, this has been true since the start of the Bill Clinton administration -- why are you just now waking up to the fact? But never mind all that. It suddenly seems that Hillary is some large, tentacle-laden sea creature, pulling the Democrat boat into the deep, with all on board, like in those old engravings of encounters with sea monsters. And this may very well be the case, and the few semi-clear thinkers in the Democratic Party who see it deserve some credit, I guess. But they have a problem. The Clintons are co-owners of the party. They were given the keys way back in the early 1990s and have never given them up. Bill Clinton is worshipped as a deity by the Democrats; he is held on high, bowed to and adored like the Olympian Zeus, despite all the damage he has done to the party over the years. Hillary, on the other hand, is not so much worshipped as feared. These rumblings and murmurings about her way-too-old campaign have to be kept sotto voce, because who knows, she might wind up winning after all, and then it will be payback time for anyone who ever breathed a word of doubt. This is what they're all afraid of. She is known for grudge holding and having a zeal for vengeance, and for being totally ruthless, no matter the race, creed, color, or party affiliation of her victim. So people have to whisper, and creep about, and continue to defer, because, in a word, she scares the crap out of them. Now, of course, one could argue that their dilemma is richly deserved, since the Clintons are, after all, the two-headed beast that the Democrats created in the first place. And this is all perfectly true. Like the monster, or robot, or automaton, that some scientist created to make the world a better place, once it turns on you regrets set in, but then it's too late. And in Hillary's case, as I've said before, the party insiders know something Obama clearly does not, which is that the Clintons have more tricks up their sleeve, which will only be brandished at the convention. To the casual observer, Hillary's "upset" victory will seem bizarre and mysterious, but to those who understand how party politics really work it will be no surprise at all.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

And That's the Way It Isn't

These media types just get me. We know that they thrive on strife, dissension, protest, and rebellion -- there would hardly be any news stories otherwise. We also know that they have learned to fine-tune their victims, er, "customers", with just the right amounts of fear and anger, to which they respond with just the right amounts of reassurance and promised justice, with the result that the public is kept in a constant state of general unease and anticipation, and hence ready to patronize the next "news cycle", and so it goes, world without end. So tension, non-resolution, and ambiguity are the basic nutrients the media feed on. And if this is true, then why is it that with each passing primary, there are calls for one (or both!) of the Democratic candidates to quit the race, in the interests of "party unity", and the ultimate defeat of those nasty old Republicans? Doesn't it make a much better story if Obama and Hillary fight it out to the bitter end -- which they show every intention of doing? (I've heard that if Obama loses the nomination, he's going to run as a third-party candidate, under the banner of the newly-formed NBNGNBNW Party. That's the "Not Bitter, No Guns, No Bibles, Not White" Party.) Ah, but then you would be forgetting that, for the liberal media (and yes, that's a redundancy), this election cycle represents the reductio ad absurdum of liberal politics, and thus their worse nightmare. They must be saying, "To think -- after all those decades of identity politics, race-mongering, political correctness, and victimology -- it should come to this! Why, we never actually _intended_ that a black man should run for president; that was all just rhetoric! And the idea of a woman running -- maybe not quite as rhetorical, but still." So the Democrats continue to grind their teeth, and the media pick up every rasping note. And now George McGovern has added his namby-pamby voice to the cacophony. It would be easier to relish all of this if the Republican candidate were not every bit as scary as either of the Democrats. But still, to see liberals finally run up against the consequences of their own ill logic and treacherous strategies is a fine thing. Plus, just like the reasoning behind "global warming", each side sees every result as evidence that they are destined to come out on top. And think, half of those attending the Democratic Convention will have their delusions crushed before it's over. Suicide-prevention and grief counselors will be standing by.

Rim Shots

1. "FRAT"-ricide

Didn't I just say that the heat was on when it comes to fraternities? Today's story is that members of a fraternity at Tulane (in New Orleans -- bet you didn't know they had re-opened) have been charged with "felony battery" for having subjected new recruits to a hazing ritual that involved burning them with hot water and pepper spray. (I guess they misplaced the Tasers.) And apparently the hot water was augmented by crab boil -- well, that's probably the only tasteful thing they've ever done. But here's my question. This all sounds like pretty standard stuff in the hazing line. There's no mention of any alcohol, or any water poisoning. No sexual humiliation of the Abu Ghraib variety. So what's going on? Don't tell me the authorities are starting to wimp out, and not give the frats a free pass on anything they might choose to do to prospective members (or their members). This may turn into another of those "watch this space" topics.

2. Why a Duckbill?

Once in a while the truth creeps into a news item where one least expects it. Today's example is a piece about the duckbilled platypus and its DNA. For one thing, it has ten sex-determining chromosomes rather than the usual two. I guess that makes it the unofficial mascot of Greenwich Village and "art colonies" all over the East Coast. But listen to the language. "...evolution made its first stabs at producing mammals"; "... they struggled to build a system of fertilization and gestation..."; "...the platypus represents a shift in strategy..." Now, all of these expressions seem to hint at some purpose -- at plans and goals. This, of course, is very anti-Darwinian. Evolution, strictly interpreted -- as everyone from the Supreme Court to public school tots is required to do -- has no purpose, no plans, and no goals. It's strictly a matter of what works in a competitive environment, and what doesn't. What works is what survives. If evolution were future-referenced, we would not have evidence of massive die-offs of many species over the eons. Something would have "known better" than have dinosaurs as big as they were before that nasty old meteor showed up, or before global cooling (sic) set in. And yet there is something in the human psyche -- yea, even that of journalists -- that can't quite help thinking in those terms.

3. A Dog's Life

On the local front, a young man who shot and killed a police dog was, in turn, shot and killed by the police. At least that was the original story. An updated version is that the guy shot at the police and hit the dog by mistake, so he was actually shot for having shot at the cops, not for having killed the dog. But an instant "meme" set in, and he is now known, and will ever be known, as the young man who was killed by the police for having shot a dog. And as usual, the family comes forth with testimonials that make one wonder why the guy wasn't already over in England on a Rhodes Scholarship. Problem is, he already had a rap sheet longer than Jimmy Carter's jowls. He pulled a .357 Magnum on the police, and/or the dog, but his family says he didn't have a gun and was not known to carry one, so I guess it must be true. So the gun they found and the bullets from that gun in the dog -- that's just someone's fantasy. On the other hand, let's allow as how the cops tend to overdo it a bit on this K-9 issue. The dog is called "a partner". They are flying the flag at half-staff. Yes, for a dog. (Is that even legal?) They are wearing black bands over their badges "to signify they are mourning a fallen officer." (Hell, even Otto, the dog in "Beetle Bailey", is only an NCO.) And planning a memorial service and burial. (Please tell me they aren't hiring a bagpiper. Please. I'm begging.) Now... isn't this the sort of thing that is likely to further inflame the sentiments of the local community? One of their own is killed, but the dog gets the flag, the black bands, and the memorial service. Couldn't the police just maybe consider cooling it a bit with the "Lassie Come Home" sentimentality? Guess not...

4. Mazel Tough

Reading between the lines in accounts of Israel's 60th birthday celebrations, we find that at least a few myths surrounding Israel's founding have been quietly laid aside. First and foremost is the myth that Israel was "a land without a people for a people without a land". You have to understand that this has been absolute gospel for many years now. The British, with the consent of other European powers and the U.S., supposedly turned an absolutely unpopulated piece of Palestine over to the Zionists. And yet somehow, mysteriously, that act generated hundreds of thousands of refugees. This has never been satisfactorily explained -- but at least now the reality of the refugee problem, and how it got started, can be referenced in the public press. My question is, since Europe and the U.S. gave the Zionists the green light to invade -- oops, I mean "settle"-- Palestine, why didn't they also provide new homes for the people who were displaced as a result? Ah, but that's what that whole "land without a people" myth was all about -- to relieve Europe and the U.S. of any responsiblity for what happened to the former residents. Pure word magic -- but it worked, for decades.

5. The Sharpton Image

Well, Al Sharpton has finally been forced to make his long-overdue frog march to jail. The occasion was the previously-discussed (http://zarathustrasoldman.blogspot.com/2008/04/for-whom-sean-bell-didnt-toll.html) shooting, Bonnie and Clyde style, of Sean Bell, and the inevitable aftermath, which included "civil disobedience" as led by Rev. Al. At least he had the insight to realize that New York City traffic _could_ get worse. Of course, they're making life in NYC an even more hell on earth in order to pressure federal authorities. Don't they realize that the feds hate NYC and all it stands for? Mess with NYC, and the feds just sit down in DC in their seersucker suits and laugh.

6. Show Me Dem Money

Oh yeah, and BTW, Democrats in the House of Representatives, under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi, are uniting in support of a bill providing funding for the war in Iraq through next spring. Of course, they will change their minds instantly in the event either Obama or Hillary takes office in January. "Not!"

Philly and the Pitts

The state government of Pennsylvania is notoriously biased against Western Pa. -- particularly Pittsburgh -- and biased in favor of Philadelphia, a social basket case second only to Detroit. I guess there's something about all that victimhood and dependency that appeals to the wise men of Harrisburg. For all of its current economic woes, Pittsburgh at least has a reputation as a place where people work for a living, and are proud of it. They'll take handouts in times of dire necessity, but the baseline is one of sweating brows and dirty hands. Philadelphia, on the other hand, has morphed over the years into a kind of hotbed of tax receivership, not to mention political corruption that rivals that of New Orleans, bureaucratic haplessness, and chronic random violence. But that seems just fine and groovy with the state capital crowd, who still use the rest of the state as a cash cow to maintain "Philly's" sinful ways. And what gets me is that Philadelphians can get downright snobbish about the whole thing, as if Pennsylvania stopped at the Appalachian ridgeline. Pittsburgh is over the mountains, "out there somewhere"... in the Midwest... and almost in West Virginia, to boot! Clearly no place where anyone with breeding or good taste would ever live. People live there who go to their grave with dirt under their fingernails. And it's full of prosperous peasants ("kulaks", in Stalinist parlance). Now, of course, there may be another side to the story, as there usually is. I'm amazed at the number of people I've met who have lived in this area their whole life, but have never been to the East Coast, to say nothing of New York or Boston. And the few who have have only been to the Outer Banks (seemingly the blue-collar vacation destination sans pareil, once you eliminate Branson, Missouri, Las Vegas, and Atlantic City). And they see Philadelphia as one of those cities that represent the reductio ad absurdum of liberalism -- along with D.C., Detroit, and large chunks of many others. Well, I guess this is one of those wounds that's never going to heal. Who knew the Appalachians were so high?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

News From the Dark Side

1 -- We already knew that the Taser, AKA "stun gun", has emerged as the preferred method by which the police can legally execute suspects without having to go through all the red tape of a formal arrest, and then having to turn the "perp" over to the courts, where he will be coddled and defended at great public expense, and then probably put back out on the streets to sin again. But it is still startling to see this method validated and written into law by none other than the judicial branch itself. A judge in Ohio (a place where habeas corpus never recovered after the Kent State shootings) has _ordered_, mind you, a medical examiner to remove any references to Tasers in autopsy findings, even when it is obvious that the stun gun was the cause of death. This open-air whitewash is, of course, a means of protecting policemen's "rights", i.e. to do whatever they please without fear of consequences. The case was brought by -- who else? -- the manufacturers of the Taser, who were, after all, only trying to protect their product from discrimination and defamation. What is remarkable is that a judge can actually order a medical examiner (who is not part of the judicial hierarchy) to change an official report. I don't suppose it will be very long until handgun manufacturers will succeed in getting mention of their guns deleted from homicide reports. This will be followed by victories by the makers of kitchen knives, axes, clotheslines, and dental floss.

2 -- War drums are sounding in the mountain fastnesses of Georgia. No, not the state, silly -- the country. Because Russia has supported the Abkhazian separatists, and even sent troops in, Georgia is now threatening to go to war with Russia -- which makes about as much sense as "our" Georgia going to war with the U.S. (Well, actually, they did, once. I forgot about that.) But isn't it a good thing that Georgia isn't in NATO yet? Because if they were, we'd have to go to war with Russia too. Whew, that was a close one. Now, if only they can hold off for another year or so, they _will_ be in NATO, and we'll be obligated to back up any hare-brained military adventure they undertake. Any lingering doubts out there as to whether our politicians are fond of war?

3 -- But back to our very own Georgia, the Peach State and also the Pit State, if you remember that Jimmy Carter is the only president to hail from down there. Georgia is the first state to jump back into the execution biz, now that the Supreme Court has declared the "three-drug cocktail" not to be cruel and unusual. (I know some bars where that would be debatable.) I guess now we can expect a landslide -- well, a trickle, at least -- OK, a handful of executions around the country. But here's something that is never brought up, by anyone. As much as I hate to say it, the most humane method of execution ever devised was the one used -- quite extensively -- by the French Revolution, namely the good old guillotine. I mean, think about it. It's instantaneous... it's painless (as far as we know)... it always gets the job done... and it has a certain historical cachet. I mean, who wants to be strapped to a "gurney" and poked with a needle by some geek who would rather be back at the clinic performing abortions? Wouldn't it be better to be transported to the place of execution in a creaking tumbrel, with a rag-tag mob cheering on the sidelines? Even the Taliban had a better idea than ours -- they turned executions into public spectacles, like bullfights in Spain and Mexico, except without having to pay for the bull. But seriously, if it's "humaneness" you want, bring back the guillotine. Anything else is just cruel, if not unusual.

4 -- The authorities in San Diego have finally figured out a way to put the hurt on fraternities -- you know, those weird organizations of sociopaths and degenerates that one finds on college and university campuses, where the members spend four years fornicating and drinking themselves into a stupor, all at public (or their parents') expense? You know, those places that invariably look like ghetto housing, with broken windows and trash in the yard, and loud music playing all day and all night? And with the "muscle cars" parked in the street outside? Yeah, those places -- those dens of iniquity that deface and pollute the world of academics in America. And it is a disgrace that nothing has ever been done about them -- nay, not for generations. But now something has been done, and that is a massive drug bust by San Diego State police and the DEA folks. Now, normally I put the DEA into the same category as the Puritan witch hunters. But in this case, they deserve major "ups" for having delivered a body blow to a few fraternities. This could be the start of something really big. We might, some day, even be rid of those morons. They could be sent back to the farm where they belong, and put to work hoeing turnips (rather than turning ho's). A brighter day dawns...

5 -- What? Another "apocalypic sect"? I thought we were rid of all those. Now it turns out there is one in New Mexico, and that its leader has been arrested on charges of -- what else? -- "criminial sexual contact of a minor". And this time he's not just a sect leader but the actual Messiah -- or so he claims. (And people think the Catholic Church is neurotic because it requires a vow of celibacy from priests.)

6 -- You know, it's a funny darn thing how every subpoena, every investigation, every inquiry, that has to do with the administration's policies or activities over the past few years is directed not at the White House or at the President's office, but at the Vice President's office. Doesn't that strike you as a bit strange? I mean, if the President is really in charge -- really running things -- and the Vice President is just a back-up, why does Congress always act as if it's really Cheney who's running the country, and Bush who's sitting there like one of those "Boys' State" nerds? Hmmm? What do they know that we don't (or do, but don't want to admit)?

7 -- I won't say "I told you so", but sure enough, nothing has changed since yesterday's primaries, and the candidates have run off, neck-and-neck, to the next battlegrounds, wherever they might happen to be (I've given up on keeping track. Have the Marshall Islands voted yet?). Now, that "filly" that broke her legs in the Kentucky Derby and had to be shot might be seen as a bad omen for Hillary. She (the horse, that is) had come in second, and a few minutes later she was dead. And the winner was "Big Brown". Wow, that is _really_ scary. But Hillary will ignore all of these signs and wonders and race on, not least because she has the biggest jockey of all on her back, namely a guy named Bill.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

You Might Be a Pittsburgher If...

-- Your motorcycle is worth more than your car.
-- You consider a Primanti’s sandwich a “snack”.
-- Your idea of a balanced diet is a different pizza place every night.
-- Every one of your family recipes ends with the sentence, “Top with melted cheese.”
-- You wear a Steelers jersey to a symphony concert.
-- Your waist measurement is the same as it was when you were sixteen – 45 inches.
-- Your grandparents are Irish, Italian, Polish, and German.
-- You can’t go more than ½ mile from home without going through a tunnel or over a bridge.
-- The sight of flat land gets you all confused.
-- You had your “sweet sixteen” party at Eat ‘n’ Park.
-- Your basement is higher than your neighbor’s chimney. (or vice versa)
-- You’ve never voted for a Republican because there are never any on the ballot.
-- You served Iron City beer at your wedding reception.
-- You had your honeymoon at Kennywood.
-- You look for the holy water font in the Cathedral of Learning.
-- You’re not aware that there is another Carnegie Hall (in New York City).
-- Your mother, your sister, and your wife all work in beauty parlors.
-- You’ve eaten Thanksgiving dinner at Tom’s Diner.
-- You set off fireworks for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.
-- You never go outside without a hat.
-- You never go inside without a hat.
-- You’ll have a tailgate party during a blizzard.
-- The “Zombie Walk” looks like any other night on the South Side.
-- You live in Pennsylvania but have never been to the East Coast.
-- Your union hall is on a “registered historic sites” list.
-- Every place your father worked has been closed and torn down.
-- The only wine you ever drink comes in a box.
-- Your grandfather commuted to work on the incline.
-- You can spell “Allegheny” and “Monongahela” but not “Ohio”.
-- The “cultural district” is where you park to go to the game.
-- The church where you were baptized is now a condo.
-- You got a gift certificate to a tattoo parlor for your birthday.
-- There’s a toilet seat next to your basement workbench.
-- You use the term “yinz” when talking to just one other person.
-- Your kid had so many piercings she needed a blood transfusion.
-- You sing along with elevator and supermarket music.