Friday, January 26, 2007


I was going to write about the "bizarre secrecy" surrounding the government's defense of its wiretapping program. Reading about a federal judge asking a Department of Justice lawyer what his security clearance is only to be told that his level of security clearance is itself classified and the government filing papers with themselves seemed like a good Kafkaesque place to end the week. But alas, already had it on their site and I looked for something else to coment on. It's worth a read if you don't have time to plow through "The Trial."

I didn't get much farther since I saw this story posted on as well. If you can't beat them, join them. In Rhode Island a Roman Catholic elementary school has banned talking during lunchtime after three recent choking incidents in the cafeteria. No one was hurt but that didn't stop the principal from turning the place into a monastic lunchroom. Would calling for "help" if your lunch buddy is choking be considered "talking?" Would actual choking sounds constitute "talking" or just "gurgling?"

Maybe God was trying to choke those students to death. You ever think of that? Maybe it was all a part of his divine plan which most of us can't figure out unless you're asking for money on your religious superstation. Maybe you're actually interfering with God's will. See that's the problem with trying to divine what the Divine has in mind. It's just a guess. Isn't it?

Now the next question is what happens if some student chokes on his blessed turkey sandwich? Should the principal ban lunch at lunch or just turkey? I know what I would do now. I'd ban the principal.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Hopeless with Hope

George: "I don't want hope. Hope is killing me. My dream is to become hopeless. When you're hopeless you don't care. And when you don't care, that indifference makes you attractive."
Jerry: "So, hopelessness is the key?"
George: "It's my only hope."

- Seinfeld, "The Fix-Up"

I think we have to have hope now that it's hopeless. We have a president whose approval rating is neck and neck with Nixon at the height of Watergate and insists on sending additional troops into a religious civil war even though everyone except William Kristol and the voices in Bush's head think it's a huge mistake. Even the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, John Warner, thinks it's a mistake and will go so far as introduce a resolution saying just that. "You fell victim to one of the classic blunders!" Vizzini tells the man in black in the film "The Princess Bride" after he drinks from a cup possibly filed with poison. Vizzini then lectures, "The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!" Vizzini laughs loudly and then falls dead over. Add this to the list of famous blunders: Never send more troops into a religious civil war in the Middle East.

And if that isn't enough to eradicate whatever hope you had left how about this example. Dan Tilli, age 81, wrote a letter to the editor of The Express-Times of Easton, Pennsylvania. Tilli wrote about Saddam Hussein's execution and remarked "I still believe they hanged the wrong man." That got him a visit from Secret Service agents concerned he was threatening President Bush. "I didn't say who -- I could've meant (Osama) bin Laden," Tilli said Friday. No matter, he still was questioned, his apartment searched and his picture taken by the agents. Last year, after writing another letter to the editor advocating a civil war to unseat Bush, Tilli got a visit from the FBI. Reminds me of another writer penning the most famous letter to the editor who said, "when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." Knock-knock, Mr. Jefferson, FBI open your door please we have some questions for you.

Jefferson also had some pearls of wisdom like: "He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good," and "He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices," and "He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance," and here's one that might sound familiar today, "He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power." Of course this is all from the Declaration of Independence but we all know that such declarations are overrated as means of political communication. I know Iraq will never be a Jeffersonian democracy but who would have thought it gets you a visit from the FBI here?

So I am hoping I lose all hope about what's going on in the world. It's my only hope.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"Cut and Blame"

Since my last post I got a year older and a bit more cranky. My birthday began with cranky jr. jr. needing a diaper change. Nothing like waking up on your birthday and within five minutes you're up to your elbows in poop. And this wasn't run of the mill baby pooh this was like hardened road tar. Moving on.

I watched our bloodless national security advisor Stephen Hadley on Meet The Press explain how even though they have been wrong about everything from WMDs to war costs to being greeted as liberators they are right about the "surge." The surge is also a joke since the 21,500 additional troops going to Iraq are really only 7,000 combat troops - the rests are support. So the best and brightest running the country think 7,000 additional combat troops into Baghdad and Anbar province is the missing piece to the victory jigsaw puzzle. It's also worth noting that the number or troops in Iraq, currently 132,000, is really only 70,000 combat troops. The rest are support staff. So even the claims of 132,000 troops is misleading. But back to our "strategy" mavens.

The Republicans, who were thrown out of Congress on their collective asses, have called anyone who oppose the Bush administration's Iraq policy as friends of the enemy and terrorist sympathizers. "Cut and run" was the nicest thing they called the notion that maybe we should stay out of a religious civil war. That "cut and run" crowd that oppose this "surge" includes Oliver North, William Buckley, George Will, Sen. Chuck Hagel, Sen. Sam Brownback, Sen. Norm Coleman, Sen. George Voinovich and the list of Republicans who are cutting and running from Bush and his dead-ender sycophants whispering in his ear increases daily. President Bush has indeed come up with a new Iraq policy. It's not a "surge" it's called "cut and blame." That's the new policy. Send just enough troops to say "we gave it a try" then cut and run from every speech and defiant stance on Iraq over the last four years when it turns out, surprise, surprise, 7,000 additional combat troops isn't just a drop in the bucket it's a drop in the ocean. Then, in Olympic spirit, "let the blames begin!" It will of course be the Democrats' fault for opposing a losing strategy when it became clear it was a losing strategy. It will be the Iraqi people's fault for not thanking us for "liberating" their country and unleashing a religious civil war. It will be the New York Times' fault and the ACLU's fault and Michael Moore's fault and Al Gore's fault and John Kerry's fault and of course Bill Clinton's fault. Because if there is one thing Bush and the Republicans are good at it's fixing blame rather than the problem. An additional 1,000 combat troops for each 1,000,000 people in Baghdad won't do anything but delay our inevitable withdrawal from Iraq until it becomes some other president's problem in 2009. And when that happens the policy of "cut and blame" will have succeeded. At least they'll get one thing right.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Human sacrifice

Today, the House voted to reverse President Bush's ban on government-financed embryonic stem cell research but Democrats were unable to muster enough votes to overcome a promised presidential veto. Embryonic stem cells hold the promise of medical breakthroughs because they have the ability to become any tissue in the body. But the research typically involves the destruction of frozen embryos created for in vitro fertilization, a step that stirs passions over the beginning of life. The argument Bush and the rest of his moral minority use to stand George Wallace-like in the doorway of scientific progess is that an embryo is human life and it's immoral to sacrifice human life to save human life.

In other news, President Bush is sending 20,000 additional troops to Iraq to try a military Hail Mary pass. I don't think the Iraqis are going to catch it. I would call it an "escalation" but Secretary of State Condi Rice disagrees. It's not an "escalation" she tells a Senate panel in testimony today. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel asks her sarcastically if it's a "decrease." The ever unflappable Rice says it's not an escalation or a decrease but rather it's an "augmentation." In any event, this is all being done we are told to protect Iraqis and ourselves from terrorists. In his address to the nation, Presisdent Bush said the year ahead will demand sacrifice and that "[t]he terrorists and insurgents in Iraq are without conscience, and they will make the year ahead bloody and violent. Even if our new strategy works exactly as planned, deadly acts of violence will continue -- and we must expect more Iraqi and American casualties."

So we have to sacrifice human life to protect human life. Unless of course you have a fatal illness and stem-cell research could potentially help you. Then you're an immoral executioner of human life even though the life they're talking about is an embryo smaller than the period at the end of this sentence and will be discarded down a fertility clinic drain anyway. What the President is doing in Iraq and stem-cell research is more like sacrificing reason to protect his political life. It's too late for for the latter. Let's hope it's not too late for the former.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

There is a God

Any evidence of God on this planet? My angel of a wife, Cranky's Wife, is always "Exhibit A" in this search. I'd also make a case for Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries as indicative of a divine being with an intelligent design in mind. After today's MacWorld keynote speech by CEO Steve Jobs introducing the new Apple iPhone, I'm fairly sure there is a God or that Jobs is in fact God. But there is also additional evidence that God exists and is working among us.

Control of the U.S. Senate rests with a Democratic senator now resting at a hospital after having emergency surgery to repair a brain hemorrhage. If his brain explodes or implodes or plodes sideways we are all going to wish we were in a coma in ICU because we would rather sleep through Republican control of the Senate than see what more they could do to wreck this country. I wrote about this recently but to summarize: The Senate is controlled by Democrats 51-49. If Sen. Johnson slips the surly bonds of this Earth then the Republican governor of South Dakota would appoint his replacement and I'm taking a wild guess it would be a Republican. Do the math now. 51-49 Dems becomes a 50-50 tie. Vice-President Dick Cheney would vote on all ties and last I checked he's a Republican so every vote would likely go 51-50 Republican. Not a good outcome if you love life, freedom, justice, civil liberties, hope, fairness and constitutional democracy. So this story entitled, "Senator's condition upgraded after brain surgery" may have given me another bit of evidence in favor of the Almighty.

Jesus is said to have risen from the dead and proved to all in the Lord. If Sen. Johnson rises from his hospital bed and keeps the Senate in Democratic hands I'll be largely convinced there is a God. But it still might be Steve Jobs.

Monday, January 08, 2007

I have a plan


DR. EVIL: Gentlemen, I have a plan. It's called blackmail. The Royal Family of Britain are the wealthest landowners in the world. Either the Royal Family pays us an exorbitant amount of money, or we make it look like Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, has had an affair outside of marriage and, therefore, they would have to divorce.

(There is an uncomfortable silence.)

NUMBER TWO: Um, Dr. Evil, Prince Charles did have an affair. He admitted it and they are now divorced.

DR. EVIL: People have to tell me these things. I've been frozen for thirty years, throw me a bone here. OK, no problem. Here's my second plan. Back in the Sixties I had a weather changing machine that was in essence a sophisticated heat beam which we called a "laser." Using this laser, we punch a hole in the protective layer around the Earth, which we scientists call the "Ozone Layer." Slowly but surely, ultraviolet rays would pour in, increasing the risk of skin cancer. That is, unless the world pays us a hefty ransom.

(There is another uncomfortable silence.)

NUMBER TWO: Umm, that also has already happened.

DR. EVIL: Right. (pause) Oh, hell, let's just do what we always do. Let's hijack some nuclear weapons and hold the world hostage.


President Bush: Gentlemen, I have a plan. It's called the "Surge." I propose we send some troops into Iraq to defeat evil and win the war on terror.

(An uncomfortable silence)

Number Two: Um, sir, we already tried that. It didn't work.

President Bush: Well, promote whoever was in charge of that plan that didn't work.

Number Two: That would be you sir.

President Bush: Then I'll promote myself to president for life.

Number Two: I don't think you can do that. It's not constitutional.

President Bush: What's that?

Number Two: Never mind.

President Bush: I'll just do it by a signing statement. No worries.

Number Two: Getting back to your plan, don't you think a few more troops now is too little too late? Shouldn't you have sent a larger force four years ago?

President Bush: Four years ago I was young and irresponsible. Now I'm older and irresponsible. Besides, all I'm doing is keeping this thing going for "two or three years" so I can blame the Democrats or the next President for pulling the plug. I have an eye towards history. Not that history will look back and say we turned Iraq into a Jeffersonian democracy but that it will say I didn't lose the war - somebody else did. That's the best outcome now and so I need to send more brave soldiers to the front.

Number Two: What about what the American people think? Didn't the 2006 elections send you a message?

President Bush: I don't read messages. They get in the way of the voices in my head. And those voices are telling me I'm the decider and so messages from the American people only confuse my already confusing decision making process. Is that confusing?

Number Two: Well how are we going to explain this "surge?"

President Bush: We'll do what we always do. We'll scare the crap out of people that if we don't do this they be eaten by wolves. Islamofascist wolves. Yeah that sounds better. I mean take a look at today's headline - "Gas-like odor permeates Manhattan." Could be terrorism, right?

Number Two: Yeah, but New York always smells that way.

President Bush: Good, then we'll always have a terror alert ready to go. Now let the word go forth from this place that I feel the urge to "surge."

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Eight is not enough

This may state the obvious but I think we've reached a tipping point where now there are more people in the world who are insane than sane. I'm watching Nightline and the story about the Quiverfull movement made me realize there are more of "them" than us. The "them" are nuts, not Christians although the Quiverfull people are Christians. This group believes that all forms of contraception, birth control and any family planning goes against God's plan. They believe you should have as many children as the Lord gives you. The Carpenter family from Nashville has eight kids ages one to 15, Nightline tells us. The mother, looking a bit shell-shocked, thinks this is normal and how God intended it to be. When asked if having so many kids is hard on her body and is she concerned about her health, the human baby factory said, "God designed us to have chidren and thankfully we do have good doctors out there for things that come up."

Grandma publishes some magazine and has been advocating this perpetual reproduction theory for years. When asked, "What's wrong with family planning, birth control, natural birth control?" she smiles and answers, "When you stop and think about it it's not natural because we have to go against the way that God designed our bodies. He designed them to be fruitful. So if a couple don't want to have [children] they have to do something, they've got to do something to their body so it doesn't work the way God planned it." Didn't God create man and didn't man create condoms and Planned Parenthood?

How are you going to send 8 or 10 kids to college daddy quiver? What a surprise, he's pursuing and considering an alternative sending them off to college at age 18. And what if one of his kids at age 18 wants to go to college? If God calls them into a profession that requires a degree he'll support it. I wonder what phone company God uses to call people. Daddy quiver would rather his sons wake up at age 21 or 22 with money in their pocket ready to buy a home and take on a family." Translation: he wants the human rabbit breeding to get going for his sons as soon as they can. And what about his daughters? Daddy quiver says, "In no way will we hastely and readily and quickly send our daughters off to State U. college campus." And what about a profession for the daughters, you know like becoming a doctor or lawyer which requires a college degree, a degree you'ld support for your sons? "I don't have all the answers on that John, but I do know this - I think there is incredible noblity, you know, I think a woman's highest calling is motherhood...we want to do everything we can in our home to ready our daughters to be moms." I'm sure they're doing a great job at that. At least they don't wear burhkas, at least not yet.

Part two of the Nightline report was about the role of fathers in the family. "I think a dad ought to be the primary instiller of wisdom and ought to be teaching his sons leadership," says daddy quiver. Translation: I guess someone has to be in charge and it might as well be me. Mommy quiver was asked, "What's your role in this family?" Quivering, mommy quiver said, "Hopefully to be nurturing and loving and submissive to my husband." Hey wait, maybe this movement isn't all that bad after all. Translation: When I want your opinion I'll give it to you my wife.

It's a small story but God called me to blog about it. Something about Nightline's segment just hit me that somewhere along the way we passed some point and now more than 50% of the people on the planet are truly insane. It's going to get harder and harder to avoid these people and in fact they are becoming more and more in charge of things. I'm pretty sure I'm in the non-insane group and I can prove it - I only have two kids.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Meet the new loon, same as the old loon

Goodbye 2006, hello 2007. The more things change the more things remain the same. Of course I'm talking about the escaped mental patient Pat Robertson. He's provided more than a few blog entries for me as his verbal diarrhea is divinely delusional. Take a look here, here, here, here, here and here for a sample of Robertson's contribution to the world of psychosis. So what a surprise to find that my first post of 2007 is about Pat Robertson's latest conversation with God who loves us all but seems to like a good disaster.

Today Robertson said that God has told him that a terrorist attack on the United States would cause a "mass killing" in late 2007. "I'm not necessarily saying it's going to be nuclear," he told his audience on the "The 700 Club" broadcasted on the Christian Broadcasting Network. "The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that." Robertson said God told him about the impending tragedy during a recent prayer retreat. God also said, he claims, that major cities and possibly millions of people will be affected by the attack. In 2005, Robertson predicted that Bush would have victory after victory in his second term and said Social Security reform proposals would be approved. We all know how that ended up. In May, Robertson said God told him that storms and possibly a tsunami were to crash into America's coastline in 2006. Even though the U.S. was not hit with a tsunami, Robertson on Tuesday cited last spring's heavy rains and flooding in New England as partly fulfilling the prediction. "I have a relatively good track record," he said. "Sometimes I miss."

"Sometimes I miss?" I thought these predictions comes from the head honcho, the big cheese, the king of kings not Robertson. So when he says, "Sometimes I miss," what he's really saying is it's the voices in his head that give him these visions of death and destruction, not a voice from the sky. And why is it that the voices, whether divine or deraigned, never predict peace on earth or mass happiness rather than "mass killings?' Probably because there's more money in fear than hope.

Once again I submit that if Robertson were in dirty clothes and saying this nonsense while wandering the streets he would be involuntarily locked-up in a mental ward. As it is, he is a super-rich leader of millions of Evangelical Christians and has real political influence. I don't know which is scarier - the fact that Robertson says the stuff he says or that millions of people believe it. Either way I'm sure I have a quarter of my blog posts for 2007 already written. Their just rattling around Robertson's skull waiting to escape. You know, like a mental patient.