Saturday, May 31, 2008

And don't get me wrong...

Left-wing hacks are no less smarmy than right-wing hacks.

A hack is a hack.
And left-wing groups, like, and their 527 ilk need to back off as well.

all need to stay out of the process and stop hiding behind claims of free speech. Free speech is a right given to individuals, not to non-profit groups with enough money to build a giant megaphone or to corporations with enough money to buy phalanxes of lobbyists.

From the left or from the right, it's just wrong no matter from what direction it comes.

Not that he cares, but...

...I'm losing respect for John McCain.

When he was presenting himself as more of a moderate, I liked the guy: his positions were less extreme; his behavior less bellicose, less erratic. He claimed in the media, recently (via his wife Cindy), that he was going to run a clean campaign, but what he's doing is quietly standing by as Sean, Laura, Ann, Bill O, Bill C, Rush, and others, nip at Obama's heels in hopes of eventually taking him down in a cloud of off-topic "issues" that amount to pretty much nothing (and this doesn't even consider the right-wing 527 groups that will go after Obama when the real campaign starts this summer).

And they're not attacking Obama for his positions on the dollar, on the economy, on Iraq and Iran, on health care, or on political reform, but on the church he attended and on the pastors who speak there. They're using their own special brand of hate speech to decry what they claim to be hate speech.

Since when have a candidate's religious views been a metric for the presidency? We're not a theocracy, and the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence set things up to preclude this from happening. But we're moving toward a theocracy, nevertheless.

The irony is that these same attack dogs, don't even like McCain, but the thing they like even less than McCain is the idea of a Democratic administration in November. So, they're willing to subordinate their already low ethical stances by being even more unethical just to have a Republican, any Republican, in the White House.

Obama is no saint. His relationship with Rezko was probably not terribly bright, and he might have other skeletons rattling somewhere as well, but who doesn't. Saints have to be officially canonized, and last time I checked, the papacy hadn't ruled on Obama. And what about our current president's and vice-president's questionable associations throughout the years? What of McCain's lobbyist "problems?" Why are these exempt? Why don't Sean, or Bill, or Laura, or Rush spend half their shows talking about these?

John... please... tell these lackeys that you don't need their hateful interference.

Be the stand-up guy you were in 2000 and 2004.

Let your straight talk be the straight truth.

Put these jackals back in their kennels.

Friday, May 30, 2008

RIP Harvey Korman...

Mr. Korman died yesterday, and I would have liked to tell him how much I've appreciated his contributions to my sense of humor.

He was Hedley Lamarr, Rat Butler, the Great Gazoo, Professor Auguste Balls, Dr. Charles Montague, and always funny.

Although he was usually the straight man
to Mel Brooks or Carol Burnett his lines were usually great, telling Nurse Diesel (in High Anxiety), "More bondage, less discipline," or Slim Pickens (in Blazing Saddles), "My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives," or "'Ditto?' 'Ditto?' You provincial putz?"

He was great.

Rest in peace, Mr Korman, and thank you.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Of bottle tops and toasters...

Please explain to me how we can put spacecraft on the surface of Mars, build enormous dams and bridges, and cure all manner of diseases, but we can't seem to make an olive oil bottle top that fits tightly on the bottle.

Perhaps it's a conspiracy within the olive oil industry to have olive oil go rancid, forcing us to buy more olive oil.

And as long as I'm talking about food, why can't anyone make a toaster that doesn't suck?

Please give me a toaster that works and an olive oil bottle top that stays on tight.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another "Pit?"

If anyone remembers the Frank Morris novel The Pit, we seem to be entering a phase similar to the one Norris describes in his early 20th-century work, in which commodities traders trade in such things as wheat, for their already-rich clients who often make mere pennies per trade.

The direct parallel that Norris draws is that as greed-driven wheat prices rise — traded ever higher in the Chicago Commodity Exchange — and the rich get richer, the little people who need the bread made from wheat, suffer.

Morris's title refers to the literal trading pit in which brokers work and to the metaphorical pit of despair into which the poor fall as prices and hunger rise. The current parallel is, perhaps, undeniable.

Instead of wheat, however, we have corn's increasing use for biofuel production (principally, Ethanol) driving its price ever higher (250 percent since 2006, by some estimates). Further, corn is already used in so many products (in its syrup and other forms) that our reliance on it as a food is clear.

What effects, then, will commodities brokers and the people for whom they trade, have on corn's price, on its availability as a food source? And might there be another crop — on which we don't rely for food — that could instead serve the biofuel needs of our over-driven nation and leave corn to be used primarily for food?

Sadly, the answer might be seen from the opposite direction: if it was discovered that there was a food that could be made from oil, do you really think a dime would be spent in its development?

Oliver Stone's Gordon Gecko said, "Greed works," but the question is, for whom.

Friday, May 16, 2008

It takes a village...

First, read this piece, then come back.

Now, tell yourself — honestly — that you're not horrified by it.

Sure, there's any enormous number of currently horrifying things available to consider (Iraq, Darfur, tornadoes, cyclones, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.), but this is the horrifying thing I'm considering here, and I am horrified.

Lives are snuffed out to protect the "honor" of a village? How in the world is this honorable? How can this be justified by
anyone? What sort of sick mind(s) thought this one up?

Please, don't argue this savage practice should be safe under the rubric of religious freedom. All manner of religious "freedoms" have gone down under the force of societal scrutiny and pressure. Christianity and other religions have been responsible for all manner of horror, but no matter who carries it out, it's still murder and is never justifiable: not state-sponsored murder (i.e., death penalties) and certainly not religiously-sanctioned murder.

If the belief in karma
is to be taken seriously, every member of this village will come back as a pregnant woman who falls in love with a man in her village, or as the man who loves her, or as the innocent baby they share.

These ignorant honor murderers can then be victims of honorable murder and allow this absurdly dishonorable cycle to continue.

I'm well aware this proposed outcome is not at all honorable of me, so I'll go on with my day as a sign of respect for the idea of religious freedom, even though, sadly, I'm moved to thoughts of murder, as we might just need freedom from religion as well.

But it takes a village to commit a murder of morality.