Thursday, April 30, 2009

Asses of Evil

"They understand I’m not like no politician they have looked at, ever."
I'm not so sure, but I am sure that if Neal Horsley were running as a Democrat, the blowhards would be in ecstasy and the blogs would be brimming over with hilarity enough to last for years and years of giggling.

Horsley, after all, admits to having had sex with a mule.
“You experiment with anything that moves when you are growing up sexually”
says the Georgia Creator's Rights Party gubernatorial candidate. That's the TCRP or T-Crap for short. Of course Neal is all grown up now and that's why his family hates him and he's almost killed his son and he publishes the names of doctors who perform abortions and crosses them off as they are murdered and is willing to start another civil war so that Georgia can secede and overturn Roe Vs. Wade even if it costs the life of his child - or yours.

Is this what's left at the bottom of the barrel the GOP has drank from all these years or is this just a Georgia thang?
“I contend this is really about people’s ability to believe in God. When it comes to that place, when your’re talking about God’s plan to protect himself, then the lives of people become, really, almost irrelevant… in the degree that they result in Him being glorified. That’s the nature of the truth”
says the very Christian Horsley. That's the nature of a scared, vulnerable and weak God who needs to protect himself no matter who gets killed in the process. Glory is important, people are irrelevant and if you don't believe in Horsley's God, then you're irrelevant.

I suspect Neal isn't the sole bat in the Religious Right's belfry. I suspect Sarah Palin is just as bonkers but more reluctant to open her personal can of batshit gumbo to a public viewing.

To be sure Horsely is a long-shot candidate even in the Bible Belt, but with careful handling and sufficient rabble-rousing, there is no reason he can't go far. Just how far he does go will be interesting to observe as a measure of the post-Obama fundamentalist world that continues to lower the bar in their desperate game of Limbo.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Waiting for Ann

Oh goody! The Republicans on the Supreme court have handed down another victory to the Republicans here on Earth who think we need to punish people who say "indecent" things like "shit" and yet want to "move on" when it comes to punishing people for lesser indecencies like torturing suspects to death.

Now any minute now, Ann Coulter will be calling for these "activist judges" to be poisoned, won't she? After all, if it's Communism (or Fascism on alternate Tuesdays) to let a 3% tax cut expire and Fascist censorship to restore the Fairness Doctrine, how bad must it be to allow Federal censorship over broadcast TV? Any minute now, I'm sure. Ann and Godot -- any time now.

Bombs or Buicks?

My hypocrisy detector burned out on overload ages ago, so I can't really tell whether the idea that preserving jobs at GM and Chrysler is an outrageous example of Democratic overspending while eliminating a smaller number of jobs producing weapons systems designed for all-out war with the Soviet Union is an equal and opposite outrage -- even though the overall military budget will increase by $20 billion and even though the plan to halt production of the F-22 super fighter and the C-17 cargo carrier come from George Bush's former secretary of Defense.

It's getting harder to be partisan when the perceived difference between spending and cutting, big and small government no longer relates to the actual budget -- unless, of course, you just cover your eyes and ears and pick a side.

Of course there's a difference between pouring money into consumer products, the use and maintenance of which creates further jobs and into products that create shock and awe and a lot of debris, but if there's any discussion of that, the noise of the turf wars between the military and private sectors may be drowning it out.

The defense industry is trying to hang on to its share of the gravy train, says The Washington Post today.
"Why, they ask, would President Obama push hundreds of billions in stimulus spending to create jobs only to propose weapons cuts that would eliminate tens of thousands of them?"

Maybe because building more jets not only takes money away from systems we need more of, like armored vehicles and armored soldiers, but because every Chevy built supports not manufacturers of the car; of tires and batteries and spark plugs and glass and paint and steel : it supports not only dealers, mechanics, salesmen, gas stations and all the businesses drivers patronize, but it supports every business that needs to transport people and goods and that means virtually all of them. More money travels more places, through more hands and at a higher velocity and that's exactly what we need to save our sabotaged economy.

But that's just my opinion which hardly counts because I can only vote and I only have one voice to complain with and I don't have the $175 million or so the defense industry spends on contributions and lobbying. I don't have Rupert Murdoch's billions behind me or a huge, underground staff of spammers and swift-boaters and seditious talk radio gasbags hoping to profit from further chaos and collapse.

Am I wrong to expect nothing but the worst?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Navy Seals in the sea of slander

I didn't have a chance to write about it last week. I've been out of town, but even before the rare glow from the successful recapture of the Maersk Alabama and the astonishing rescue of her captain had a chance to wear off by itself, the letter appeared in my in-box. It was signed by Admiral Lou Sarosdy saying that he had it on good authority from Navy SEALS that the rescue had been delayed, and almost didn't occur at all because of the dithering and interference from that weak, incompetent, Nancy-boy in the White House. It had been forwarded to me from someone who does a lot of this sort of thing and believes each and every screed that lights up his screen. He appended a tirade about the weakness of Presidents and about how we need Teddy Roosevelt back again, perhaps to start another war to sell newspapers.

I had my suspicions, as constantly referring to the pirates as "raggies" stinks as though it were intended for the bottom of the barrel audience, so I wrote to, who at that point had nothing on it. After a couple of days research on their part, It turns out that Sorosdy retired 27 years ago, denies having said anything like it and insists he doesn't even know any Navy Seals. Wouldn't you know it, I soon got another copy which now assures me that it came :
"From a Marine that lives just outside Coronado where the Seals train. He uses the Coronado Officers’ club."
Seamlessly we segue from the Admiral to some guy in a bar who heard it from some other guy who heard it from a Navy SEAL.
"Having spoken to some SEAL pals yesterday and asking why this thing dragged out for 4 days, I got the following:

1. BHO wouldn't authorize the DEVGRU/NSWC SEAL teams to the scene for 36 hours going against OSC (on scene commander) recommendation."
I'll spare you the rest because of course it's a lie and probably was constructed in the same basement chamber of horrors where most of the Republican propaganda of the last decade was sewn together like Frankenstein's monster. All reputable sources deny all the claims, of course, but I'm sure the bulk of the recipients will still go on and on about "weakness" and how we need exuberant and gratuitous aggression against all "raggies" just like good old Teddy would do.

It never ends and it never fails to find a sympathetic audience. Walking through a hotel lobby this weekend, I glimpsed Fox News on a giant screen, "Obama is increasing the size of the Federal Government" crawled across the bottom. Later, in the car, John McCain told us that there was an element of political revenge involved in prosecuting torturers. It never ends and if firefighters were Democrats, Fox would tell us every day how much private property had been ruined by pouring water on it while extolling the virtues of smaller fire departments, with smaller hoses filled with less water under lower pressure. While we're at it, let's privatize it and give the contract to Halliburton.

Hey, did I tell you about the e-mail I got from Jesus saying he's not coming back until we waterboard everyone at Fox News?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tough guy Ed Rollins

Well what can we expect Ed Rollins to say when he tries to make a case for Barak Obama's weakness? After all Rollins can't make much of a case for anything but "toughness" in the Reagan administration he worked for or indeed the party he's long been part of. Not that he will get specific about Reagans testicularity, because if a Democrat had "cut and run" in Lebanon, Ed would still be howling about his effeminate weakness. But one can't take Ed for anything but a low key polemicist, an Ann Coulter without the filed teeth, a Lower fat Limbaugh with less gas content. It's all theater; all a continuing part of the fear mongering the humiliated GOP has been using to make us feel good about giving up freedom and prosperity and distract us from the abject failure of all its promises.

So Barak Obama wants to be loved, says Mr. Rollins. Horrors!
"He wants to be loved passionately and daily"
he writes for as though he could know. As though he learned of the presidents innermost dreams through pillow talk: as though he weren't building yet another straw man, stuffed with pot-pourri and dressed in lace panties.
"He wants to be loved by the Democrats on the Hill and even the Republicans who have still not given him any love." (despite many having voted for him)
"He wants to be loved by the Europeans who have made a career out of badmouthing U.S. presidents and their policies."
which is Ed's way of placing the blame for calling them all Terrorist supporters of the Axis of Evil because they didn't agree about our false assurances about Iraq on them rather than on George Bush glaring weakness of character.
"The real example of searching for love in all the wrong places was last week's lovefest south of the border when, in effect, he appeared to be hugging Castro, Ortega and Chavez who have spent their lives fighting everything the United States stands for."
continues the puffed up patriot, twirling his baton, wacing his flag, wishing you could believe that George Bush's Chavez handshake was fundamentally different than Obama's Chavez handshake which, to a prejudiced eye appeared to be a "love fest" and that these banana republic leaders were, by dint of socialistic ambitions "fighting against everything the United States Stands for." The very nerve of showing basic respect instead of making threats! The very weakness of decency and dignity!

Perhaps they do fight against some of the things we stand for, in their own countries, Like Ronald Reagan's death Squads and the fuedalism of foreign corporations, but as a threat to the security and way of life of our republic, they can't do the kind of damage that's been done by Rollins' party, nor are all the things we've been standing for, like torture, military aggression, supression of dissent and bombing the bejusus out of innocent civilians, all that worth defending. I hate to mention it, but Jesus lost his life fighting against many things we've wasted time standing for, nor did he think love was such a terrible and weak thing.

Still Obama should court respect, says Ed, meaning fear. He should just spit on these spic bastards and tell them in no uncertain terms just how many bombs we could drop on their miserable citizens just for voting against our wishes, like we did in Veet-nam. Fear is what we want, not love: grovelling, abject submission to the will of the American President, through fear.

Now of course appealing to the basest sentiments of the public with slander and libel and a smorgasbord of false accusations as the Republicans have done, is really all about wanting to be loved; only it's more pure by virtue of its dishonesty and hostility.

Consider the torture memos. Obama was weak fo releasing them: weak for allowing the Justice Department to decide who to go after and sorst of all, he looks weak, says Ed, to both the people who wanted to hide the information and the people who are our for Republican blood.
Weak if he does, weak if he doesn't. In fact the courage to ignore the passion of either mob must be weakness, right?
"Weakness is the death knell for a president. With 1,366 days to go before this term is up, Obama's got to get tougher or he will be viewed as a personality who reads well from a teleprompter."
So Ed is already partying like it's 2012 and he's trotting out that shibboleth about telepromters to prove his comfort with the most childish and idiotic of his party's giggling points. Pretty weak Ed, I'm sorry to have to say it.

But that's what America liked about Kommander Guy Bush and Reagan - toughness - reading tough words written for him by arm chair belligerants like Ed. I just wish someone would define the concept well enough to differentiate it from pandering, from intransigence, stupidity, dishonesty, unwillingness to learn -- even to make peace.

I just wish politicians like Ed Rollins could explain to me why it's wrong to expose atrocities rather than be grateful to the perpetrators who have allowed us 1200 some odd days of not being attacked by a dozen or so saboteurs -- and why being so pants-wetting fearful justifies taking our freedom, respect, dignity and prosperity away while he whimpers about Obama being weak.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dishonesty is strength

Dick Cheney is a man of short declarative sentences. He packs a lot of venom and a lot of mendacity into each one.
"What I find disturbing is the extent to which he’s gone to Europe and seemed to apologize profusely, been to Mexico and seemed to apologize there,” said Cheney to Raw Story's David Edwards. “The world out there, both our friends and foes, will be quick to take advantage of that… I don’t think we’ve got much to apologize for."
"Seemed to" shouldn't slip past the reader unnoticed, since it's an attempt to elevate a convenient assumption to the point where his baseless argument can pivot on it. To be equally as curt and declarative: Cheney lies. It didn't seem so to me or to those who listened to all the words, rather than the tendentious extracts wrapped in tactical opinion we got from Republican sources.

It doesn't seem beyond the pale to recognize that swaggering "kiss my ass you dirty wogs -- I'm AMERICA" foreign policy that has been the joy of the thundering classes who see the world as ungrateful and arrogant for wanting some measure of independence. It doesn't seem like an unqualified, abject and grovelling approach when Obama says we haven't been fair to the world all the time either. It sounds, in fact, like honesty and of course to the man of the perpetually undisclosed location, who keeps his lunch and shopping list in a vault, that's a sign of "weakness."

It's "weak" to disclose that we tortured people to death and lied about it. It's weak to shake hands with Chavez, says Cheney -- but only if a Democrat does it -- and of course any sign of honesty, humanity or willingness to promote peace that does not depend on unqualified, abject and grovelling acceptance of American Empire can be a fatal weakness.

I have trouble understanding the level of fear Cheney lives with; the kind of fear that drove him and his puppets to military aggression, pathological secrecy and a domestic paranoia that led him to think the suppression of civil rights and constitutional law is "nothing to apologize for." It's harder to understand than starting a war on false pretenses for his own profit.

Paranoia: the feeling that even our friends will take advantage of us if we're not unrelenting in our refusal to admit mistakes and uncompromising in our rage for dominion; law, morality, truth and justice notwithstanding. Quite an opinion and what better place to discuss it than with Sean Hannity and what better audience than the people who still watch Fox News and who are sure to fail to notice just how Cheney and his party equate ganging up on a new administration in time of extreme crisis as patriotism, but of course these are the people who accused the Democrats of caving in to terrorism in 2001 even after they voted unanimously to support George W. Bush.

Accepting the consequences of your actions is so unmanly.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Words and pictures

I generally try to find things to rant write about on my own, but the latest post at The Swash Zone is too good not to pass along -- with permission. We've had a week of demented and dishonest raving about government spending and even some astonishing rhetoric about our current administration being worse than George III of England, about revolution and secession because of the strange inability of hysterical Republicans to distinguish between a tax cut and a tax increase. Words don't work, so maybe graphics will.

Of course it's best to read the entire post, but these two pictures are worth thousands of words. Click to enlarge:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ban the Assault weapons!

If the movement spreads, we may be faced with a movement to ban Jedi-style "assault flashlights" in the United States. After all with some 400,000 or more people in the UK declaring themselves to be Jedi we just have to ban something.

Meanwhile Barak Obama has re-affirmed his support of banning "military style" weapons, which are ordinary rifles that look like the real military rifles that have been banned since 1934 but are not. The plan is to keep Americans from the lookalikes so that Mexico won't have a problem with the real thing. Doesn't make sense to me, but I haven't had my morning loco-weed yet. Perhaps we have to evoke the scary drug-war straw man once again to obscure the lack of evidence that the previous ban had any effect whatever on crime in the US. Evidence to the convinced, after all, is like garlic to a vampire and so must not be talked about.

"The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons--anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun--can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons."
-Josh Sugarmann, Assault Weapons and Accessories in America, 1988-

Sugarman, although he is a licensed gun dealer himself and should know better, seems to have pioneered the tautological term " assault weapon" and admits to using it solely for it's ability to deceive the public, not for reasons of honesty. The concern that police departments are "outgunned" can only be seen as fictitious propaganda (I'm trying not to call it a lie, since I'm such a nice person) when we note that even the tiny town of Jasper, Florida, population 1795, with its seven man police force equips every police car with top of the line fully automatic military weapons: machine guns.

Yesterday, in the affluent nearby community of Palm City, Florida, a woman home alone was assaulted by a man who used a shotgun to blow open her back door. Somehow she managed to use the family .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol to wound and drive off the assailant, who is now in custody. That pistol of course fires a more powerful bullet than the semi-auto 9mm Uzi "assault weapon" the banners would like to ban and has the same rate of fire. Still, we don't call it an "assault weapon" since it doesn't look like one. Pass me the loco-weed please.

Even better: we don't call a shotgun an assault weapon either even though it was used in an assault. Any way, the woman is alive, thanks to her "defense weapon" and the "shoot the Avon lady law" that was passed in 2006 over the hysterical objections of the anti-gun lobby. So far, none of our Avon ladies are missing and Mrs. Russo is still alive.

What's in a name? asked Juliet. In magic-thinking America: apparently a great deal, and unlike the immutable rose, the same firearm can be different things. Whether it's an assault weapon or a self-defense weapon has nothing to do with the weapon or its use, yet we think of one as much deadlier because people are spending a great deal of money making us think that way. Too bad our president has given them his large ear.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Good riddance!

And don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out. Sounds like Texas pretty-boy governor Rick Perry has been smoking too much of that Republican tea and thinks he's intimidating the USA by reminding us that Texas could just secede from the Union if they wanted to. So much for the great depth of that passionate "patriotism" that wafted out of that state like a bad smell during the Bush years. Of course they'll round up their long horn cattle and the attendant bullshit only if
“. . . Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.”
Indeed, who knows -- maybe a bit of sanity and representational Democracy for the rest of us?

Washington thumbing it's nose means restoring the top tax bracket to far, far below its historical levels and giving a tax break to 95% of us if you speak Republican. "Texas is a very unique place" he says. It is: too unique to remain part of the US.

"In God we trust" said Sam the pretend plumber Wurzelbacher to a demented Michigan crowd yesterday.
"Say that too loud in some parts of America and you will be shot. It’s terrible." A terrible lie would be closer to the truth. I have and you won't be and no one ever has been. Hardly anyone cares these days.

What they do care about is the failure of deregulation and massive tax breaks for the really rich to do anything but bring on catastrophe. What they do care about is the betrayal of all of us by the Republicans. Could it be that there's something in all this tea other than a misunderstood and misapplied metaphor? Such flights from reality into mass hysteria usually stand out in history books as markers for events we wish never happened, but if there's any meaning to this repudiation of the blind patriotism traditional with the far right and hysteria about the deficit spending that's been the core of Republican practical economics since Reagan I don't think it's anything but an attempt to take by mob action what they couldn't keep by democratic means. It's proof that the new Right is the old Confederacy without the slaves. This isn't anything like the destruction of tea at Boston harbor, it's like the shots fired at Fort Sumter 148 years ago this week.

So while the third string intellectuals dance about the funny farm with their little tea bags and their big lies trying to distract us from reality, the corporate media continue that American tradition of fomenting war to sell papers and try to distract from the truth by balancing sanity with sedition and dementia.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The tyranny of personal responsibility

I guess that in a time when the definition of a word must be determined by it's most ignorant and mendacious use we will have to accept that "tyranny" now means any change to the tax structure that does not immediately benefit the wealthiest 1%. That is of course the preferred word to describe president Obama's desire to allow W's gift to the wealthy to expire on schedule. My mind boggles when contemplating the many years of 80 - 90% top brackets. What words could we use to describe Eisenhower? Indeed does boggle even cover the dire linguistic lack?

But of course we need "tea parties" so that the Fox puppets can express their concern about the effects of lowering taxes for most people while restoring the top bracket to less than half of what it was back in what they usually otherwise describe as a golden age. Of course the destruction of tea in Boston harbor wasn't about giving the very, very rich a couple of percent more of the burden of fixing the mess the Bush gravy train left on the carpet, it was about being ruled subject to a king by divine right, amongst which was the ability to tax us, control who we could buy from and sell to and make us subject to the domination of a private corporation without having to grant us any representation. It seems that it's impossible for Republicans to understand that "taxation without representation is tyranny" does not in any way mean that taxation is tyranny. We have representation, but the people did not choose the Republican way and so the simpletons seethe and festoon themselves with tea bags from China in defiance of representative democracy while the Republican Fox smiles and licks its lips.

More astonishing than astonishment itself is the editorial in my local Sunday paper piously insisting that beyond the tyranny of taxing the rich more heavily than the poor, our true mistake is in forsaking biblical rules, amongst which is the Genesis requirement to tithe. We should do nothing about the crisis, other than give money to his church, forget the law and turn to God.

No, there is simply no word available for this kind of effrontery and perhaps we're so far into the realm of public insanity, fostered by private greed, that no thing, no words can help us.

It's safe for rabbits - for now

Whew! What a relief. I expected, now that we have a wuss in the white house who thinks this isn't a "Christian nation"that the Liberal/atheist/fascist/Marxist pansies would begin the assault on Easter I've been expecting for so long. After all, no one would attempt to make Christianity illegal and leave Easter intact.

But it didn't happen. We held a small party for friends on my boat and passers-by wished us a happy Easter and a happy holiday in equal numbers and not a single shot was fired. This morning, I can see two of the long eared symbols of Jesus crazing on my front lawn oblivious to the danger of Constitutional law. No more skulking down back alleys, collar turned up.

Maybe I shouldn't stop worrying though. Even though it's quiet on all fronts of the war, maybe it's too quiet.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Fox and its victims

One of our local solons has scrawled his opinion in the local paper that President Obama is a failure because while engaged in "befriending our enemies" and leading us toward Marxism, Socialism and Fascism in a manner so obvious that anyone who doesn't agree "hates America," he has "no answer for anything -- as is illustrated by having no solution for the piracy problem.

I don't watch Fox News, because I don't support villainy and sedition, so I don't know whether they have covered the US Navy's recapture of the Maersk Alabama from pirates. Yes, the American captain is still a hostage and that's because Obama is too cowardly to be dropped on board the pirate vessel with cutlass and pistol while growling ARRRRRR through the knife in his clenched teeth -- just like Reagan would do if this whole thing were a 1950's B movie. None the less, the US Navy is there despite Obama's pants-wetting cowardice, and reinforcements, including a counter-piracy task force, are on the way.

Meanwhile the wine-besotted surrender monkeys from France have successfully stormed another vessel freeing 4 hostages and killing the pirates. One hostage was killed. A multinational force is assembling in the region as a response to the increase in Somali piracy, but of course "Obama has no answer." Obvious to the Fox poisoned as well, is the fact that Obama has no answer to anything because he hasn't yet undone the damage done by the pirates George Bush sponsored on Wall Street and in the lending industry. It must be cowardice of course, unless it's the Marxist/Socialist/Fascist/Muslim extremist thing. Perhaps it's his cowardice that prevents him from continuing the "Kiss my ass you wog or we'll blow you all to hell" diplomacy, which in Foxspeak means cozying up to our enemies.

"Changes have been made" say a good share of the letter writing peanut gallery and if we don't see the danger we need to wake up. I suppose that means to tune in to all the warnings from Blowhardia on the radio and suck up the toxic twittering of Fox. Unlike the Kommanderguy, Obama is "surrounded by criminals." The end is nigh.

So anyway, the Kingdom of God has not arrived with Barak Obama; something that was not, pace the quick brownshirt Fox, expected by his supporters -- but that's enough to dub him a failure. He's certainly received enough mockery in his first steps down the Via Dolorosa to make Fox's cynical comparison compelling. Of course Jesus was surrounded by criminals and actually was a socialist in the extreme, but the irony -- all irony is lost on the ignorant army of the American Right. The stupid will be with us longer than will be the poor so we might as well accept it, but if only we didn't have the plutocratic pseudo-populists in Fox's clothing to make them the enemy of all things true and just.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Up to our knees in Santorum

"Watching President Obama apologize last week for America's arrogance - before a French audience that owes its freedom to the sacrifices of Americans - helped convince me that he has a deep-seated antipathy toward American values and traditions"
says former (hurray!) Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum in a Philadelphia Enquirer editorial titled The Elephant in the Room. Of course the problem with any elephant in the room is not that it's difficult to notice, but that the room tends to fill up with shit rather rapidly.

Of course nothing helped Sanitorum be convinced of anything, he's just, like any elephant, looking for whatever fodder he can find so that he can, as elephants do, digest it and turn it to dung. Conviction is what you call the straw you're grasping at when you're afraid of drowning.

The fact that president Obama told the French we can sometimes come across as arrogant is a simple statement of truth. We can -- and Santorum certainly illustrates it by pointing out how the French owe us their freedom, while ignoring that we owe the French the same debt. Of course only such an elephant's ass as he would require the French to grovel and eat up such merde as we feel fit to excrete -- and in perpetuity. His own arrogance would be a model for the Sun King.

Of course he fails to note that Obama also called Europeans arrogant as well, which renders the former Senators "convincing evidence" nugatory as well as dishonest. But what "values and traditions" is Santy talking about here other than arrogance itself if Obama is admitting that yes, we can be perceived as overbearing and pushy?

Actually I'm getting tired of treating this man's shit as worthy of comment -- as though he weren't a tin-horn blowhard without the wit or talent to do anything but cut bait for the Republican dementia mongers. You're an elephant's asshole Santorum; you and the Fox you rode in on.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Who's Hu?

“Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?”
said Texas State Representative Betty Brown yesterday. She was speaking to, or rather at Ramey Ko who had been invited to the Texas House Elections Committee hearing to talk about perceived voting problems involving people with Chinese, Japanese, and Korean surnames.
“Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to deal with?”
said the lady from Texas, forgetting for the moment that Americans of foreign descent might take umbrage at the insinuation that they are not themselves Americans by virtue of their names. Actually Chinese isn't all that hard and it's the world's most popular language, nor do you have to be able to read the Analects of Confucius to say "Hu," you just make an O with your lips and blow.

The idea that Lee or Park or Honda might just be too much for Texans to handle just might be worth a Texas sized guffaw and thigh slap, even to those who don't drive a Hyundai or Honda or Toyota or Subaru, will probably occur to her any time now -- surely before the Scubasziewskis and Popadopoulis' and Krishnamurthy's of Texas stop snickering in their Stetsons and Lucchese boots.

Is there really a problem in Texas, or are the Republicans trying to suppress votes with a voter ID bill as the Democrats tend to think? Perhaps Lee XiaoPing's drivers license says Sam Lee because he's trying to be accommodating in the first place, but if that's a real problem at the polls all that would be needed is to require the legal name to appear on the license. Of course we're getting the traditional "what Brown really meant to say was. . ." follow up, but it still sounds like the same old WASP supremacy ethnic purity shinola to me. It sounds like:
"all you furriners better be on your best behaviour even if you've been here seven generations. Yer still furriners."
Wouldn't it be funny if Ms. Brown came from one of those families of Brauns, Schmidts and Müllers who became Browns, Smiths and Millers during the First World War? I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

One if by land, two if by the internet

Richard Clark has a habit of giving important warnings that go ignored by us and by our government. Had the Bush administration listened to him, there might have been a chance to thwart the September 11th attack or at least to have been more prepared. Critics, of course (read Republicans) preferred to retaliate rather than to take heed. I can only hope that if recent reports are true that our electrical power grid is highly vulnerable to malicious tampering through the internet, someone, this time, will listen -- in time.

I admit that the likelihood of an armed invasion by Russia or China or any country, for that matter is quite small, but the ability to couple one with massive, continent wide power outages is a dangerous weapon all by itself. Many people do not appreciate how dependent we are on the power grid and how communications, hospitals, transportation, water and sewage -- and yes those cell phones also depend on it. Those of us who have suffered through multiple hurricane events are not so sanguine. We know that without power we would find ourselves wishing for Paul Revere to let anyone know who or what was coming. Then of course, there are terrorists. Can you imagine the additional chaos had all power and most communications been off in Washington and New York on that awful day in 2001? Can you imagine the panic had the rest of the country been unable to get the full story? Even without an attack, widespread blackouts could cost us billions -- each time it happened.

Why are we so vulnerable? Because we use the internet to control the power grid and therefore so can someone else. Pull the plug, said Clarke on ABC to Diane Sawyer today. It may cost some money, but it may save us from a huge disaster. Will our new administration listen this time or will it do what George Bush did 8 years ago?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Not with a bang. . .

. . . But a twitter. An e-mail from my Senator Bill Nelson (D. FL) informs me today that he will begin twittering and NASA has announced that Astronaut in training Mike Massimino will be doing the same. They're drawing a line that I will not cross.

I mean, I still have some pride in being adult and being able to read without moving my lips and able to follow something longer than 140 words without my thoughts wandering toward the need for iPodal noise injection and wiggling in my seat. What's next, the congressional record spelled out letter by letter on alphabet blocks by a fuzzy, green sock puppet? Three body orbital mechanics brought to you by the letter N?

Sure I'm interested in what Nelson has to say and I am interested in space technology -- but. Haven't we had 8 years of the dumbing down of everything already? OK, so maybe it's not quite how the world ends, but it sure looks like the way adulthood ends and as far as I'm concerned, NASA and Nelson and all the other bird brains can twitter this, for all I care.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

This is a test

Well it happened, just like the campaign ads threatened it would -- that three AM phone call. OK, so it was 4:30, but close enough. The phone call from the Press Secretary woke Mr. Obama to say that North Korea had launched a multi-stage rocket which shortly afterward crossed over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean.

It's not quite the Cuban Missile Crisis, but it woke the president, who presumably was not reading about goats and didn't sit frozen in fear for 7 minutes. Instead, he talked to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James Cartwright, National Security Advisor General Jim Jones, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and various other intelligence officials. You know, president stuff.

As the launch was advertised as a communications satellite experiment it must be seen as a failure, since it did not enter orbit at all, much less the 22,500 mile orbit it would need to be geosynchronous. As we recall, their nuclear test was a bit of a dud as well, although it did go bang, but the DPRK ( I won't insult the Beloved Leader by calling it D-PRICK) like certain American presidents of recent memory does not admit to failure. They've declared it a success and I'm sure that in the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea nobody will act like the Dixie Chicks and show shame.

Does the DPRK now pose a credible nuclear threat? It doesn't look like it, but they're trying. It doesn't look like we're going to give the John Wayne response we might have expected by that same president of recent memory, but much will be made of Obama's reaction and his ability to communicate our disapproval in a way that the Little PRK in charge of North Korea won't be able to refuse. I'm sure jaws will be flapping and huge Palm Beach billionaire behinds will be bouncing up and down in radio studios over this, making conclusions and drawing inferences and expostulating on myriad ramifications, but this is a test -- a real one, and unlike Mr. Limbaugh, real Americans hope he succeeds.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

When trolls attack

"How's the hope and change thing working out for you, moron?" reads the comment. If you're a blogger outside the red tribe, you're used to this sort of thing. You're used to the cut and paste pop culture snark bombs: how's the _____ working out, I don't think so, Hello, etc. Of course trying to rule while wearing only the hollow crown of cynicism only exposes the nakedness and weakness of someone who has to rely on mimicking sitcom characters to simulate insight or wit; and of course the smartest people around are called morons more often than the rest of us; far more often than actual morons are. It's a fact.

Of course if you look back at every post I've made in the last few years, you'll not find a single "hope and change"slogan. In fact if you have the patience and stomach to read all or part of it, you'll note that I'm most consistently a doom and gloom nihilist with no hope for or expectation of change, unless it be decay. Still, I'm sure the armchair assassin thinks he really scored and perhaps he's getting his 5$ per post bonus from the GOP to boot. There's nothing to be done really and as I said, I'm a nihilist and a pessimist; I expect no better from my fellow apes.

If I did, I would have to feel insulted by the assumption that I was stupid enough to think a new president -- any new president -- could reverse the damage of decades in two months: two months of sabotage and opposition by people who ran the ship aground and pay sticky-fingered troglodytes to ask how the hope and change is going for us. Need we ask how the election went for them? or how the supply side, zero regulation market thing is going? Those tax breaks for Wall Street tycoons making you rich? Hello! I don't think so!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Der Flughaven

The average flight delay at FKI is 30 hours longer than next worst airport and the customer service help line connects you to a hat store in Stuttgart, but that's just a minor criticism of Prague's Franz Kafka International Airport. Corridors end in the middle of nowhere and you're likely to spend an eternity in the security check, or should I say Czech.

No, I'm not making it up. You can't make this stuff up, unless you actually are Kafka and of course you couldn't pick a better name for the labyrinthine, frustrating and surreal airport. Czech it out and maybe next time JFK won't seem quite so bad!

And for heaven's sake, don't put FKI on your itinerary on April 1st!