Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Has Our Honor Been Restored Yet?

I simply didn't have the stamina to watch that bizarre Glenn Beck civil rights pantomime over the weekend. I've been out of it for a week, and I'm still under the influence of narcotics (see post below) and my prescription label says, "do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or watch Beck rallies." I'm sure some of you must have seen parts of it though?

So I ask you, did he cry? Did he tell us how much he loves his country? Did the Mormon shock-jock call for some kind of vague Christian revival? Was it self-indulgent? Was it pitiful?

I heard about the geese flying in a v-formation over the reflecting pool. I'm concluding from the many awe-struck replies on this YouTube video that most of Beck's fans flunked science, so let me share the secret: that's the way migrating geese fly! Shh!

And here's another little factoid: interpreting the will of the gods by studying the flight of birds is a pagan practice called augury. I think Beck's crowd reached a new level of confused religiosity.

Anyway, if there was a god who busies himself organizing geese, then those birds would have shat on Beck's head.

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This whole self-anointed messiah act is exhausting. I try not to react to every idiot comment coming from Beck, Palin, Limbaugh, etc., but liberals cannot ignore these people into irrelevance. They preach to the choir and their choir is devout.

A recent article by Matt Taibbi articulated the dangers of ignoring the media hate-fest:
In fact if you follow Fox News and the Limbaugh/Hannity afternoon radio crew, this summer’s blowout has almost seemed like an intentional echo of the notorious Radio Rwanda broadcasts “warning” Hutus that they were about to be attacked and killed by conspiring Tutsis, broadcasts that led to massacres of Tutsis by Hutus acting in “self-defense.” A sample of some of the stuff we’ve seen and heard on the air this year:
  • On July 12, Glenn Beck implied that the Obama government was going to aid the New Black Panther Party in starting a race war, with the ultimate aim of killing white babies. "They want a race war. We must be peaceful people. They are going to poke, and poke, and poke, and our government is going to stand by and let them do it." He also said that "we must take the role of Martin Luther King, because I do not believe that Martin Luther King believed in, 'Kill all white babies.'"
  • CNN contributor and Redstate.com writer Erick Erickson, on the Panther mess: "Republican candidates nationwide should seize on this issue. The Democrats are giving a pass to radicals who advocate killing white kids in the name of racial justice and who try to block voters from the polls."
  • On July 6, the Washington Times columnist J. Christian Adams wrote an editorial insisting that "top [Obama] appointees have allowed and even encouraged race-based enforcement as either tacit or open policy," marking one of what would become many assertions by commentators that the Obama administration was no longer interested in protecting the rights of white people. "The Bush Civil Rights Division was willing to protect all Americans from racial discrimination,” Adams wrote. “During the Obama years, the Holder years, only some Americans will be protected."
  • July 12: Rush Limbaugh says Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder “protect and represent” the New Black Panther party.
  • July 28: Rush says Supreme Court decision on 1070 strips Arizonans of their rights to defend themselves against an “invasion”: "I guess the judge is saying it's not in the public interest for Arizona to try to defend itself from an invasion. I don't know how you look at this with any sort of common sense and come to the ruling this woman came to.” That same day, Rush says this: "Muslim terrorists are going to have a field day in Arizona. You cannot ask them where they're from. You cannot even act like we know where they're from. You cannot ask them for their papers. We can ask you for yours. Not them."
  • July 29: The Washington Times asks “Should Arizona Secede?” and says the Supreme Court "is unilaterally disarming the people of Arizona in the face of a dangerous enemy” with the aim of creating a “socialist superstate.” The paper writes: "The choice is becoming starkly apparent: devolution or dissolution."
  • July 29, Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy continues the Radio Rwanda theme, saying, "If the feds won't protect the people and Governor Brewer can't protect her citizens, what are the people of Arizona supposed to do?"
Taibbi concludes that conservatives really don't want a race war, but driving frustrated/broke white suburbanites into a race-hatred frenzy happens to be good business.

So -- though I'm still unsure what "restoring honor" means -- I'm guessing the restoration is not complete... because then Beck's gig would be up.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Put Me Out of My Misery

I've been to the dentist every month this year. Hopefully today was my last visit for a while -- they extracted the tooth they've been trying to save, and the Novocaine just wore out about 45 minutes ago. I'm dying. This is what I sing when I'm dying:

(YouTube video.)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Eat, Pray, Buy Junk

I admit I have not and will not read nor watch Eat, Pray, Love, but it has taught me one valuable lesson: capitalism can consume any cultural phenomenon.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Playing the Martyr, the Sequel

(image via Boing Boing.)
"I want to regain my First Amendment rights. I want to be able to say what's on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry - some special interest group deciding this is a time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates and sponsors." — Dr. Laura Schlessinger.
Where have I heard these distressful cries of victimhood mixed with an unfortunate misinterpretation of the First Amendment before? I remember now. It was from California beauty queen Carrie Prejean in May 2009 during the flap over her beauty pageant comments on gay marriage.

What I said about Miss Prejean then applies to Dr. Laura now, but let me summarize. Your free speech rights have not been violated. You haven't been squelched by the big, bad government; you've been told to shut up by the free market. It's not free speech you're seeking; it's freedom from criticism you're seeking. And you rarely find that around here!

But it's okay. Dr. Laura can quit her nationally syndicated radio show in exchange for, I predict, a multi-media blitz of books, FOX appearances, and twitterific political rants just like that other queen quitter, Sarah Palin.

By the way, are Palin and Dr. Laura soul sisters now?

I wonder how Palin would have reacted if Dr. Laura had used the "R-word" instead?

But I don't think this whole controversy boils down to individual word choices. It's Dr. Laura's genuine bigotry and racism that got her into trouble. The "haven't we done enough for you people" attitude and the implication that a black woman consents to racism when she marries a white man is so archaic it should be left to the Old Testament... I'm sure it's all written in there somewhere.

I don't know how Dr. Laura was able to position herself as the victim in this story, but she sure plays the part well.

Monday, August 16, 2010

They Came First for the Building Permits

The fear-mongering over the "Ground Zero mosque" is in full swing now. Never mind that the proposed Cordoba House is not a mosque. Never mind that it's not actually on the Ground Zero site but a few blocks away. Never mind that there is already a nudie bar equidistant from this supposedly holy ground. This is "Republican wedge issue 2010" -- facts be damned!

Tonight, in his special comments, Keith Olbermann clarifies the misconceptions about the Cordoba House community center:

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By the way, remember that other Republican wedge issue six years ago or so? It was gay marriage. And where are we now? Closer than ever to legalizing gay marriage? A positive achievement against such adversity, but you'd think Republican voters would be a little more skeptical over nonsense social matters which their candidates grow bored of once the election is over. And Republican candidates might want to be a little more cautious over the painful divisions caused by their misinformation and rhetoric.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Radio Blah Blah

Of all the batshit insane people you can seek advice from, Dr. Laura Schlessinger is the batshit insaniest! Why, oh why, do people still listen to this fundamentalist harpy?

Earlier this week, one of Dr. Laura's masochistic listeners called and asked for advice on inter-racial marriage. I refer to the caller as "masochistic" because any "long-time listener" should know that every call ends with Dr. Laura telling the advice seeker what a horrible, irresponsible, selfish, sinful person they are. However, Tuesday's admonishments included multiple uses of the "n-word," and a racially-charged political rant against people who voted for Obama. What a treat:

Gee, am I being hypersensitive, or does Dr. Laura have a chip on her shoulder about race? Somebody ought to inform the non-psychologist that racism is bad for your health. And also inform her that her non-apology is crap.

So why don't I tell you how I really feel about Dr. Laura? Here is my recycled post from April 2008 titled Fundamentalist Psychopath:

Dr. Laura Schlessinger -- love her or hate her -- oh hell, you can probably tell I hate her right from the title, huh? Well, she's going to be given a new pulpit on Fox New's Hannity's America. Thanks Fox!

For those who don't know, Dr. Laura (as she is commonly called) is an American radio host, author, and commentator. Her views are conservative to put it mildly. From about 1996 to 2003 she was an Orthodox Jew. Before that she was an atheist. Currently, I'm not certain what she is, but she sure is self-righteous about it!

On a typical day of her radio show, masochistic callers will air their problems about parenting, work, and relationships. Dr. Laura dishes out some harsh advice often invoking "God's Law" and other canned responses that sound like they were written by the religious right. Funny thing is she is not a medical doctor nor accredited in a discipline such as divinity, psychology or sociology. Her Ph.D. is actually in physiology.

Whatever her education or religion, she believes homosexuality is a "biological error." I never understood how this belief is compatible with any kind of religion. God creates errors? Sounds like blasphemy to me! Despite these stupid ideas, in 2000 somebody at Paramount thought it was a good idea to give Dr. Laura a TV show. Outraged activists launched StopDrLaura.com and quickly succeeded. Paramount dropped the show like a fiery brimstone.

Dr. Laura has also taken on the families of children with Tourette's syndrome. According to non-expert Dr. Laura, "[The child's mother] can punish the whole world because of this affliction of her son. She can punish everybody who doesn't want to call this normal. But it's not normal. And it's not nice."

Damn! As I read her sanctimonious bullshit, I keep spewing random curse words. Maybe I'm developing Tourette's too?

Do I have any right to spew bad words or express my opinion? Not according to Dr. Laura. She criticised a 14-year-old's award-winning essay defending free speech on the Internet. Dr. Laura said the eighth-grader's support of the First Amendment was "stupid" and "dangerous." Oh the irony when a radio talk show host does not support free speech!

Many of Dr. Laura's stupid ideas are culled from her literal interpretation of the Bible. People like that always scare me, but what really bothers me is how come these self-professed Bible scholars can't answer a simple question: Why Can't I Own a Canadian? I really want to know.

I also want to know how Dr. Laura, being such an expert in moral, societal and spiritual matters, can raise such a monster for a son? Dr. Laura has referred to herself as "the proud mother of a deployed American paratrooper." She is talking about her son Deryk who is serving in Afghanistan. It seems little Deryk had an incredibly salacious MySpace page. [Link changed from original post.] The actual MySpace page has been deleted, but those who saw it were shocked at the contents:
...cartoon depictions of rape, murder, torture and child molestation; photographs of soldiers with guns in their mouths; a photograph of a bound and blindfolded detainee captioned "My Sweet Little Habib"; accounts of illicit drug use; and a blog entry headlined by a series of obscenities and racial epithets.
But wait! There's more!
"Yes . . . F---ING Yes!!!" said one blog entry on the Schlessinger site. "I LOVE MY JOB, it takes everything reckless and deviant and heathenistic and just overall bad about me and hyper focuses these traits into my job of running around this horrid place doing nasty things to people that deserve it . . . and some that don't."
I'm so glad he was raised in a household with strong family values. Just imagine how bad he could have been!

To be fair, the military investigated the situation. The conclusion was that the MySpace page was not created by al Qeada or other enemies, but "the Army will only confirm that the investigation is complete, but will not discuss whether Schlessinger was at fault or whether he was reprimanded." And then the story disappeared from the media.

And oh I wish Dr. Laura would disappear too... along with her sponsors. However, free speech lover that I am, I still believe in her right to say dumb stuff.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Book Burner By Any Other Name

"If you don't want a man unhappy politically, don't give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war." Fahrenheit 451.
They call themselves the "Digg Patriots," but they're a conservative wingnut community conspiring to bury liberal posts on sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, YouTube, and Facebook. Of course, it's not difficult to up-vote/down-vote articles on social media sites. It never was difficult to burn books either. Censorship has always been the inarticulate grunt of asses and fools.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

In-Flight Entertainment

Amazingly* nobody got a video of the fed-up JetBlue flight attendant who cursed at an unruly passenger, quit his job, grabbed a beer, and exited via the emergency slide, but here's an animated reenactment:

(YouTube video.)

Of course, what the video doesn't show is that the flight attendant, Steven Slater, was later arrested at his home in Queens and charged with felony counts of criminal mischief and reckless endangerment. He has since been released on bail.

And what about the jerk of a passenger? Aren't we all sick of this type on flights... or anywhere actually? Okay, I might sound a little vicious, but I can't wait for the passenger to be identified!

However, I'm still not going to call Slater a hero, but I will say if you're going to have an on-the-job meltdown, it's best to take the nearest exit rather than resort to violence.

*Or not so amazingly. Looks like JetBlue has previously threatened passengers who take videos of in-flight altercations.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Getting Our Priorities Straight

I should have seen this coming. A small political movement with strong anti-tax, anti-establishment sentiments, and many angry, heartless, selfish supporters is running out of money. Yeah, I'm talking about the teabaggers again:
Some leading tea party activists are concerned that their efforts to reshape American politics, starting with the 2010 elections, are being undermined by a shortage of cash that’s partly the result of a deep ambivalence within the movement’s grass roots over the very idea of fundraising and partly attributable to an inability to win over the wealthy donors who fund the conservative establishment.
Apparently their fiscal myopia combined with the blatant opportunism of their leaders is draining their coffers. Do we need any more proof that they're really neocons?

And do we need any more proof that their ideas about taxation are the bane of this country? Paul Krugman recently wrote about how all this anti-government rhetoric is harming us:
The anti-government campaign has always been phrased in terms of opposition to waste and fraud — to checks sent to welfare queens driving Cadillacs, to vast armies of bureaucrats uselessly pushing paper around. But those were myths, of course; there was never remotely as much waste and fraud as the right claimed. And now that the campaign has reached fruition, we’re seeing what was actually in the firing line: services that everyone except the very rich need, services that government must provide or nobody will, like lighted streets, drivable roads and decent schooling for the public as a whole.
He calls is an "unlit, unpaved road to nowhere," but while Republicans stand strong against the tiniest of aid to state governments, Americans in Afghanistan get paved roads and more for their Humvees.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Gay Day in California

Today Judge Vaughn Walker overturned California's Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage.

You can read the entire 138 page ruling on Scribd. Ultimately, the judge concluded the following:
Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
The constitutional obligations refer to the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment which prohibit state and local governments from depriving people of life, liberty, or property without the process and proceedings of the courts of justice. For example, taking away somebody's right to marry.

Coincidentally, the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution also has that Citizenship Clause we've been hearing so much about lately. Some congressman (Lindsey Graham, Chuck Grassley, I'm looking at you) are hyperventilating over "anchor babies" and are radically suggesting that birthright citizenship is a mistake and that the Amendment should be transformed or even repealed. This would of course create a permanent underclass of immigrant workers... exactly what the Fourteenth was designed to prevent!

At one point in history, Republicans viewed passage of this Amendment as an accomplishment. However, 144 years later, they're having second thoughts.

But hey, if they can repeal it now, they can re-institute slavery and block same-sex marriage all in one move! And though I don't like conspiracy theories, I wouldn't doubt that these are the exact intentions of some members of the Republican party.

Anyway, if you want a same-sex marriage in California, you better do it before they overturn the overturn.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010