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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Where The Caribou Barbies Roam

As always, the editors disavow any foreknowledge of the following events.



I awoke to a foul taste in my mouth, as if I’d been tea bagged in my sleep by Dirty Dick and his merry band of draft dodgers.

I moved. In retrospect this was an obvious mistake. My head strobed with sudden, stabbing pain and my skull was filled to bursting with a grinding irregular mechanical cacophony not unlike the sound of Dirty Dick Cheney’s black clockwork heart. Ka-thump, wheeze, ka-thump, ka-thump, tick tick wheeeeeeze.

A foul stench filled the air. A piquant bouquet you tasted with the roof of your mouth instead of smelling with your nose. Mexican flavored flatulas, reminiscent of a Tijuana donkey show. The stench made me think of John Edwards for some reason. After a moment, I realized it was me…and I then vaguely recalled green chili and refried bean burritos somewhere in the recent past. And tequila. Lots and lots of tequila. For some reason I kept hearing a voice say, “Uno mas, Señor Bartender!” The voice was eerily familiar, it could have been mine. This stench seemed like the natural result of such things and it might have killed a less practiced man.

Well, this awakening was certainly an unpleasant turn of events.

It took a minute to figure out why.

And then it hit me: I was sober. It had been a while, a long while in fact, and I didn’t immediately recognize the condition. I hadn’t been sober since the Swirly Incident, and now I remember why I gave it up. Frankly, I don’t recommend it.

Fortunately, reality is a situation easily corrected.

I crawled into the den in search of orange juice and something to thin it out with – uno mas tess-sqeala aqui, Señor, uno mas tequila para mi!

We were out of tequila.

Oh, sweet buttered baby illegal aliens. No. No no no!

We were also out of the Irish.

We were out of bourbon, and rye, and the emergency jug of Tip O’Neil Special Edition ThunderKidney Gin I keep under the sink next to the drain cleaner, the spare shotgun shells, and my backup copies of The Cannibal Cookbook and The USMC Survival Manual.

We were out of mixers and spritzers and the sparkling wines I keep for Friday night poker games - in case Ted Haggard and his special date stops by (I try not to judge).

Bloody hell, it appeared as though we were out of beer – and what then would I put on my breakfast Fruit Loops and use to brush my teeth? I eyed the drain cleaner…no, I’m saving that in case Anne Coulter ever drops in for cocktails, that and the shotgun shells.

There was no hope for it then, I’d have to either go out or face the world unadulterated.

The Hell. I thought about tucking my Charlton Heston “Big Ten Commandments” Model 10 Moses .50 into the waistband of my boat shorts (just in case those fascist bastards at the liquor store wanted to argue about being open at 5AM like the last time) and then thought better of it. I was sober. Who knows? I might hit what I was aiming at. Instead I found my car keys.

You know the problem with Alaska?

The sun is up at 5AM – which is why I generally remain in a Jose Cuervo fueled state of hibernation until after dinner time (which also has the added side benefit of allowing me to miss the Glenn Beck Gong Show – never say I’m not a multitasker). The glare stabbed me straight the eyes and I lurched blindly around the parking lot waving my arms and screaming a steady string of vile profanity like Michele Bachman finding out Obama had diverted her family Federal farm subsidies to poor black people for low cost pre-natal care and sex education. Eventually I found the car by feel and sheer luck, and crawled inside. Thankfully I had forced myself to memorize the route to the nearest Brown Jug long ago and could do it by feel. I aimed the Dart towards Wasilla, cranked up some vintage Airplane, screwed my eyes closed, and pressed the accelerator to the floor boards…

And I’d have made it too…if it wasn’t for those Tea Party bastards.

I heard the screaming and pried open my eyes to a wall of blue hair, “Don’t Tread On Me” T-Shirts, and waving signs that said, “No Government Takeover of my Medicare!” Holy Canadian medicine, Batman! Where in the hell did these geezers come from? It’s not like there aren’t enough assholes in Wasilla, now they were bussing conventions of them in? I wrenched the wheel to the left, but just then I hit a patch of slick glossy Lifer tracts and the Dart fishtailed right and skidded out of control in a cloud of bible verses and pictures of aborted fetuses. I felt a leaf spring break as the Dodge plowed sideways through a booth selling Chuck Norris action figures, tiny snarling bearded faces pelted the windshield with their little kung-fu grip fists clenched in perpetual rage. I noticed they had the middle finger of one plastic hand upraised in a patriotic gesture, up your ass liberal scum! With Neocons it’s hard to tell if that gesture is an offer, or an irony. I pondered the question as I rotated past and into a phalanx of chanting militia in camouflage. I hit the Minuteman formation dead center but instead of a strike I split the seven and ten - then the bumper came around and with a twist of the wheel I managed to pick up the spare. The tires bit in and the Dart’s boxy rear end swayed ponderously left and right on the broken suspension like Joe Lieberman switching political allegiances, the left rear bumper knocked over a giant plywood crucifix and the right bumper sent a table of Commemorative Bill O’Reilly Kachina dolls flying. I stood on the brakes and the car smoked to a stop in front of a brand new building.

What the hell was this? This wasn’t here before. Where in the hell was the liquor store? What vile alternate reality was this? It’s this kind of nonsense that just gets my goat. See, it’s their own fault, if these people would just leave me to my blissful intoxication we’d have no problems. But they’re always fiddling with things. They’d have no one to blame but themselves for what came next.

I rolled out of the door and turned to face the mob (I was going to say “angry mob,” but with Teabaggers that seemed redundant). I retreated until the building’s big glass door was against my back.

“Howdy, folks,” I said cheerfully, “Hyman Liberalowicz from the ACLU here to talk to you about your future. Say, have you people ever thought about Organizing?”

There was a moment of aghast stillness, and then the crowd howled in outrage.

I released a cloud of that bean burrito with sweet overtones of yesterday’s fermented blue agave fruit, and made a break for the door while their eyes were watering. I’m quick, but like I said I was handicapped by my hangover and I didn’t quite get through the door and get it locked behind me in time to avoid splatter from a thrown crockpot of what looked like moose chili - that angry old biddy in the George Washington powdered wig and Revolutionary War frockcoat had an arm, she should be pitching for the Patriots. Fortunately there was a pile of folded sweatshirts on a table near the entrance and I swapped my chili stained duds out for one of those. I looked around, this sure as hell wasn’t the Brown Jug, those Tea Party assholes had thrown me far off course.

The placed looked like your typical corporate lobby. Somebody was planning a reception. There were rows of folding chairs and tables with Styrofoam plates and napkins. Somewhere the sound system played a muted musak version of Lee Greenwood and I had to stifle the urge to reach for my lighter. Mmmm, promising. Promising. There might be something to drink.

“Excuse me,” said a voice. I jumped like a Conservative Senator caught in an airport bathroom sting. She’d snuck up on me without a sound, like one of the those secret provisions in the Patriot Act.

“Are you the man from the Network?”

“Network?” …why yes. Yes I am. “Sam Savagewood, from the American Patriot Channel Of America.” When in doubt, act like you belong – hell it works for Michael Steele.

“We’ve been expecting you! This is going to be such a great show! What do you think of the new studio?”

“The parking stinks.”

Studio. I looked around. Nice lobby, the polar bear skin rugs had thrown me off at first, but now I recognized it for what it was. The front end of a TV Studio. What in the hell had I gotten myself into this time? And since when was there a TV studio in Wasilla? The hair on my neck stood up and I heard Sean Connery’s voice in my head doing Henry Jones Sr. from The Last Crusade, “My son, we are pilgrims in an unholy land…” I’d heard rumors, but I thought it was a joke. Things didn’t seem so funny now (if I could just find some booze though, things would be uproarious. Alas).

On the other hand, TV people drink like Bill Clinton at an NOW fund raiser. There was bound to be a bar around here somewhere.

“I see you’ve already got yourself a sweatshirt. Nice, huh? We can’t make those fast enough!”

Sweatshirt? Oh, yes, that. I looked down and felt like Fred Phelps caught wearing a gay pride jumper when I realized who was looking back at me. Creepy. The eyes seemed to follow me. That good news was that the shirt appeared to be of the highest quality and made in America – the kind of workmanship you can only get from indentured underage Columbians chained to a sewing machine in a Chicago sweatshop.

“Right this way, Sir. You’re the first one here, that’ll give you time to review the material before She arrives.” The girl nodded towards my uncanny shirt. I began to itch uncontrollably. Pilgrims in an unholy land indeed.

“Would you like something to drink?” She asked.

“Hell yes! I’m not picky, so long as you can make a Bloody Mary with it….”

“In honor of the occasion, maybe a cup of Tea? We have Benjamin Franklin Lemon Zest, Chamomile Patriot, 911 Truth! and Bitter Birther.

“I’d prefer a Long Island.”

“I don’t think we have that,” she said frowning. “Besides, isn’t New York a,” she spat on the new tiles, “liberal state?”

“Just checking,” I said. “The American Patriotic Channel of American Patriots likes to make sure of these things. Don’t want any secret Hillary sympathizers and what in the hell is that smell? It’s like a zoo in here! Good Lord, it smells like Rush Limbaugh’s bedroom – or what I imagine Rush Limbaugh’s bedroom smells like.”

She sighed, “I can only imagine too aahhhh.” Her face got this dreamy expression, like John McCain caught contemplating his running mate’s backside. The hair stood up on the back of my neck and my skin tried to crawl right the hell out of there and back to the parking lot.

Stop that.”

“Sorry.”

We entered the back stage area and suddenly I was thinking of those cages and pens under the old Roman Coliseum where they kept lions and slaves and gladiators – and where I’m pretty sure you could have gotten a goddamned drink. We who are about to die, salute you! But first, Tequila!

Here were cages of Alaskan wildlife. I counted an odd looking badger, a pack of wolves, a bull moose, two meth dealers, and various other large and angry wild life. Not all of which explained the circus tent smell.

“What the hell is this?”

“It’s for the pilot episode.”

“Pilot episode?”

“’The Governor Says Endangered Species Are Sissy Losers!’ didn’t you read the script? The teams will be making Common Sense wilderness stew. From scratch,” she nodded towards the cages.

“I thought that was a metaphor.”

She shook her head seriously and said, “No, that’s a polar bear.”

“Aren’t those endangered?”

Exactly, it’s not like Jesus isn’t killing them off anyway.”

We entered a studio under a banner that said, “Welcome to the Real Alaska!” and in smaller letters “We can see gobs of money from here.”

“You’ll want to review the script, there’s a copy on the table. Feel free to help yourself to a bowl of moose chili and the jerky bar.” She gestured towards a table with a couple of crock pots and plates full of dried meats that reminded me of John Boehner’s leathery countenance.

“The…jerky bar? Who does your craft service? Sportsman’s Warehouse?

“Yeah, Beluga Whale is my favorite. Listen, I’ve got to get back up front. They’ll be here any minute. I’ll make an announcement when She arrives, so you’ll have time to fill out the check. Remember, She likes lots of zeros.” I watched her walk away. She had a nice shape. Given her political affiliation, I figured she’d naturally be into abstinence – i.e. easy – but the thought of the giant black-light Karl Rove poster that was probably hanging over her bed gave me pause and frankly I’ve never had much use for the missionary position, it hurts my back. On the other hand, Republican girls aren’t supposed to enjoy it and they’re too embarrassed to talk afterward so it’s not like the act requires a lot of effort on your part – ninety seconds of friction and you’re out in the car smoking and singing to the BeeGees on the way home. Frankly, liberal chicks are a hell of a lot more work and the next day you’re often missing skin in unusual places.

The smell of bubbling chili beans and jerked flesh pulled me out of my daydream and I started looking for a way out. Enough of this nonsense.

Two things happened simultaneously.

The PA system chirped brightly, “She’s here! Oh She’s here!” Uh oh, party time is over…

…and a whisper hailed me from the direction of the animal cages, “Pssssssssssssst! Hey, Buddy!”

Now I admit that I first thought the polar bear was talking to me – oh right, like you’ve never had the DT’s – before I realized that it was one of the badgers. Whew. For a minute there…

“Hey, come ‘ere! Help a bro out, Dude!”

Wait a minute, Holy Shit! Levi Johnson in a badger suit? “What the hell are you doing here?”

“I got my own reality show, man.”

So, it was the delirium tremens after all. Damn it. Usually when I have these kinds of hallucinations I see Carrot Top dressed up as the shambling re-animated corpse of Ronald Reagan coming at me, wormy skull grinning, and bony hand waving. In a Speedo.

“Sure, Levi, sure. What’s the show called?”

’Levi Johnson in a Badger Suit!’ Rawr, dude. Let me out of here, would you?”

Why not? It beat palling around with Zombie Reagan. In a Speedo.

“Quick, give me a hand with this would you? Before the Queen Bitch of the Universe shows up.”

“What’s the gimmick?”

“An oldie but a goodie - laxative in the moose chili, right before first episode kick-off,” Levi handed me a couple boxes of Newt Gringrich industrial strength Duco-Lax and we slipped back into the studio. “You know her show’s going out live, right?”

“Laxative in the… These are the best DT’s I’ve ever had.”

We stirred the little brown squares into the crock pots. “Hurry! I hear them coming!”

We fled the studio and hid behind the animal cages. The polar bear sniffed the air and sidled to the opposite side of his cage making an odd whining noise, sort of like that sound Michelle Malkin makes when she’s talking about immigration reform. I might have let slip a little of that bean burrito. Hey, it’s not like Jesus isn’t killing the damned bears off anyway.

Watching the big beast I almost missed the excited crowd who went past into the studio.

Peeking past the cage I could see them gathered around the craft table, scarfing down bowls of chili and gnawing on dried meat strips.

“That’s it, Dude,” Levi whispered, “Let’s get out of here before the shit hits the fan!”

We sprinted for the door.

Well, OK, Levi sprinted for the door.

Me? I snagged my brand new Sarah Palin commemorative sweatshirt on the polar bear cage door latch.

The cage door swung open.

The bear shambled out.

He looked at me. I looked at him. Time stood frozen.

Then a little more of that tequila flavored burrito leaked out – pweeeeeeeeeeeeeeee – in the silence it sounded like the GOP deflating after the Healthcare Reform vote.

The bear he snarled and wrinkled up his nose and backed away from me in the direction of the studio door where a crowd of people who smelled strongly of jerky and who had recently bolted down bowls of quick acting laxative laced chili were taking their places in front of the cameras.

The On Air light lit.

The announcer’s voiceover shouted, “Welcome to Alaska!”

The bear entered the studio.

There was a moment of pregnant silence…

 

 

 

 



Eventually the author and Levi found the liquor store. Unfortunately, the fascist bastards were closed, having all gone home to watch the premier of Sarah Palin’s Alaska. As premiers go, it was promising if somewhat gross – until the bear ate a cameraman and mauled the uninsured script girl. Rumors that the bear once worked for the CIA were never confirmed.

The author still has the sweatshirt and enjoys showing it off, though most people consider the “…we reload!” caption to be either poetic justice or deeply, deeply ironic.

- previous adventures of Hunter S(tonekettle) can be found here: Fear And Loathing At An Undisclosed Location

- previous adventures of Levi Johnson can be found here: Turkey Day!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Conversation With My Facebook Friend

For a long time I resisted joining Facebook.

But the truth of the matter is that if you maintain an online persona, it’s almost required that you join Facebook.

So I did.

My impression after three weeks: It’s a lot like Twitter, only a lot more so. It’s an interesting place and so far my experience there has been fairly benign.

Until tonight.

 

Via FB Messenger from a “Friend” I don’t actually know who friended me several days ago: 

Friend: Hey!

Me: Um, yes?

Friend: I’ve got [some kind of something something] zoo animal. You still looking for those?

Me: Uh…what?

Friend: [some kind of some shit that makes no sense] zoo animal. What you got to trade?

Me: WTF?

Friend: Zoo World xeng boing frap zomf wazza wazza (ok, that’s not actually what he said, but in my head that’s what it sounded like and what he actually said made pretty much the same exact sense).

 

At this point I realize that this guy is the guy who keeps trying to sell me Zoo World paraphernalia on my wall. I also suddenly realize that Zoo World is a facebook game, and my new friend is not actually a procurer of exotic animals with a really cool job like John Wayne and Red Buttons in Hatari! 

Me: Dude, I think you might have me confused with somebody else.

Friend: Why?

Me: I don’t play Zoo World or any other online FB game.

 

Longish pause.

 

Friend: You don’t?

Me: No

Friend: You want me to unfriend you?

Me: It’s up to you.

Friend: Well you don’t play games and I don’t like talking to you, so why should we be friends?

Me: I’m good either way, friend or unfriend. I just didn’t want you wasting your time thinking I was being a jerk by not buying your zoo animals or whatever

Friend: Unfriend then.

Me: Ok

 

Longish pause.

 

Friend: Wait, are you really hot?

Still Here I See

Well, looks like Walter Wagner and the anti-LHC crowd were wrong, eh?

Big surprise there.

The LHC is at full power this morning doing record setting high energy science. So far, the earth appears to be unaffected.

However, if the world is destroyed, I'll be the first to let you know.

Stay tuned.

Monday, March 29, 2010

About the Lack of Posting

Been a bitch of a last couple of days, and frankly I just haven't had the time.

I have a number of personal and business obligations that are all due right now and between that and my father in law passing away, well, something's got to go - and right now the only place I can recover time from is writing and blogging. I thought I'd have time tonight, but I've got an unexpected issue that has to be taken care of.

Now, now, don't cry. I expect things to be back on an even keel shortly (mostly). Look at this time as a gift, use it wisely, learn a foreign language, practice that harpsichord you've been neglecting, grow a third arm, or maybe even clean out the fridge.




Smartass aside, one thing I will leave you all with tonight (think of it as a public service announcement): if you don't have life insurance, get it. Get it right now. Even if it's nothing more than the ten grand necessary to cover your own funeral. Seriously. Otherwise you're leaving it for somebody else, namely your family. So, you know, don't.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Latest From the Shop

 

I don’t just turn things on the lathe.

I do other stuff in the woodshop too.

Today’s project is a shadow box for a retiring US Air Force Senior NCO:

image

It’s made from American red oak and black walnut.  The box is designed to resemble the NCO’s rank badge, in this case Chief Master Sergeant (in case you’re not up on your Air Force ranks).  The upper section will hold a folded American flag, which is currently being shipped around the world and flown over all the commands the Chief served at in his long and distinguished career. The middle section will be backed with Air Force blue felt and filled with the Chief’s badges, insignia, and decorations by a professional engraver/award shop in Anchorage (I just do the woodwork, the foofoo stuff is somebody else’s job).  Up top, on either side of the flag are two Air Force Challenge Coins which the Chief asked me to embed in the box.

Not that anybody but a seasoned woodworker would notice: the four corner joints are locking tongue joints cut on the radial arm saw and there isn’t a pin or screw in the entire piece, it is entirely glue joints (I know that doesn’t mean much to you non-woodworkers, but pins, nails, or screws are cheating. Your joints should be well made and precise enough that they don’t need such things.  In a quality piece, I mean – you buy from other people, you get what you get. Caveat emptor, baby, caveat emptor).

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Obits

My father in law, the man I wrote about here, passed away tonight. He went quietly, with a number of his children present.  He’s been in a coma for the last week and we knew the end was near. We were prepared as best we could be. Still, it’s never easy. 

 

One other passing I need to mention.  Stonekettle Station regular, Lauren Uroff lost her long fight with cancer a few weeks ago and passed away on Tuesday, March 2, 2010. Her best friend let me know and I intended to mention it here and somehow got caught up in my own world and let it slide. 

 

Life my friends, is far too short.  They shall be missed.

Fred Phelps, Helping Out Teh Gay. Thanks, Fred

I think this is just plain brilliant.



This should be the preferred response to Westboro Baptist Church everywhere.

Tip of the hat to Alesia Matson on Facebook for this, thanks Alesia.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Eric Cantor, Do You Hear The Words Coming Out of Your Mouth?

Interesting Strategy, don’t you think?

Blaming the victim, that is.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) blamed Democrats for the threats they’ve received since passing the Healthcare Reform bill.  He said Democrats were “dangerously fanning the flames” by blaming conservatives for inciting violence and hatred against those who voted in favor of the HCR. Cantor angrily suggested that if liberal, moderate, and progressive members of Congress receive threats they should just keep that kind of thing to themselves so as not to “invite more violence.”  Cantor elaborated, “Security threats against members of Congress is not a partisan issue, and they should not be treated that way. To use such threats as political weapons is reprehensible.”

Then he went to say, “Well she shouldn’t have been wearing that short skirt, flaunting her feminine unmentionables like that!  It’s her own damned fault she got assaulted, acting like a whore! How’s a man supposed to maintain control of himself if she dresses like that? She was just asking for it! Besides, she probably liked it! They all do, you know. And then to report it? Tell people? Shame! Shame!”

Well, OK, he didn’t actually say that last bit, but his actual statements sure as hell didn’t sound all that different to me.

Democrats shouldn’t make reports of death threats, attacks on their persons and relatives, racism, or threats of violence that make Conservatives look bad public because this isn’t a partisan issue?

I’ve got to wonder if Cantor has been hiding in a cave somewhere. Not a partisan issue?

Hell it couldn’t be more partisan.

These people, led by Conservatives just like Cantor, have spent the last year calling democrats, independents, liberals, moderates, and progressive members of their own party traitors, socialist, fascists, communists, terrorists, tyrants, dictators, Hitler, and the enemies of America.  They’ve spent two years now telling the world that Barack Obama is the actual and literal anti-Christ as foretold in the Book of Revelations and to vote for him or support him in any way was literally to risk not only your very soul but Armageddon and the End Times. They’ve scared the ever living shit out of people.  They’ve spoke of rebellion, secession, revolution, war, the fight, the battle, and taking back their country for their party. They’ve courted the fringe, the nuts, the enraged, and the dimwitted and pushed them right up front to the microphone.

You incite the mob, you hand them torches and pitchforks and you get them all riled up by telling them that the monster is going to rape their daughters and eat their children and then you aim them at the castle – and you get mob behavior.

Honest to God, Cantor, what the fuck did you think was going to happen?

And now that they’re loose you want to call for discretion and gentlemanly behavior?  Reason and restraint and democracy?  And then you blame the victim, but don’t admonish your own followers who are doing exactly what you told them to?

Non-partisan?

Wow.

Hypocrite much, Cantor?

 


* Funny thing, I notice that during Cantor’s admonishment of those who have been attacked, assaulted, slurred and threatened with a good old fashioned conservative lynching, or had their gas lines cut, that he somehow forget to tell Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Anne Coulter, Michelle Bachman, Sean Hannity, Karl Rove, Dick Chaney, Joe Wilson, Randy Neugebauer, Sarah Palin, John Boehner, and the idiot rabble who make up the Tea Party to shut the fuck up.  Odd omission for a guy who claimed that his goal was to end the violence. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Don't Try This At Home

And the Day After That…

 

This is a big fucking deal! - Vice President, Joe Biden

The VP didn’t realize his mic was on yesterday at the HCR signing.

But you know what? Healthcare reform is a big fucking deal and I couldn’t have said it better myself.  Damn straight, Joe, damned straight.

And to celebrate, I ordered myself a T-shirt – which I think I’ll wear to the next Tea Party rally in Anchorage.

No doubt that’ll piss a few conservatives off, so I consider it money well spent. Because, frankly, they’re pissing me off.

True colors, folks, that’s what these frightened Conservative obstructionists in Congress are displaying, their true colors.

The Attorneys General of half a dozen Red States, led by Virginia, have announced they intend to file lawsuits to halt implementation of the Healthcare Reform bill, or portions of it such as the Individual Mandate.

True colors, folks. And that color is a rich dark brown chocolaty shade of bullshit.

Should Conservatives actually go ahead with their lawsuit, no Republican better ever again complain about “legislating from the bench” without getting kicked right in the junk.  Seriously. Any Conservative who thinks this lawsuit is a good idea better never ever whine about “activist judges” again. The stench of hypocrisy is so strong it almost drowns out the cloying stink of Rush Limbaugh’s aftershave.

This idiotic lawsuit is an idle threat at best and really nothing more than sour grapes - and Republicans know it.

Now, it is possible that if the bill had passed the House by the Deem and Pass procedure, conservatives might have had a basis for a Constitutional challenge. Might. It’s unlikely they’d win, no challenge to Deem and Pass has ever been successful in the past (you know, when Congressional Conservatives used the option), but because of the nature of HCR it’s possible that the courts might rule in favor of Conservatives.  You pays your money and you takes your chances before the Supreme Court. Good luck.

However, be that as it may, the HCR Bill wasn’t pushed through the House by Deem and Pass, it was voted through via the normal House procedure.  And, of course, the usual rogue’s gallery immediately started making shrill accusations that bill was pushed through by dirty tricks (Bawaha welcome to Congress), chicanery, or by the liberal media as FoxNews sourly claims today (Bawahahaha, Fox accusing other media of bias. Fox. Bawahahaha don’t step in it), or by Executive fiat, or by some secret evil socialist enchantment (these are not the droids we’re looking for…).  That’s just not the case.  Provably so. President Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi made deals and twisted arms and got the votes they needed, and the bill passed by simple majority vote, 220 ayes to 212 noes. The ayes have it. Simple as that. That is exactly what Conservatives said they wanted, a simple up and down vote, and that’s what they got. That’s the Constitutional process.  Democrats were simply better at vote getting and more convincing this time. Period. Conservatives lost. Again, it’s just as simple as that, and it doesn’t get any more American than that. That’s the way it goes. Tough titty for conservatives and it’s pretty damned hard to see where they have any kind of challenge at all. 

Which doesn’t mean they won’t try. They, meaning the conservative shit shakers in Congress who have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Conservatives know this, of course.  Virginia’s Attorney General isn’t stupid.  But, AG Ken Cuccinelli has some ambitious political aspirations and this case isn’t about getting the law repealed, or even about repealing the Individual Mandate (the requirement for all Americans to purchase coverage), it is completely and totally about making political hay. It’s about appearances. It’s about damage control and it’s about information warfare. And most of all, it’s about the 2010 and 2012 elections. Cuccinelli and his fellow Red Stater AG’s know they can’t win the court case, but they want to look like they’re trying, a tiny battered David and his pea shooter heroically standing up to the goliath, Obama, for you, oppressed and down trodden Americans, for you. Vote for me! Send us money!

But the truth of the matter is that these so-called fiscal conservatives are going to spend your money, not their money, your money, shitloads of it, and your time and your government assets on this frivolous bullshit solely in order to further their own careers, solely to get themselves elected in 2010 and 2012.  And they’re going to spend more money trying to get themselves elected than Healthcare for their constituents will cost.

That’s the real agenda here.

Meanwhile, back on Capitol Hill:

Republicans, conservatives, have suffered the single most humiliating and devastating setback since the 1960s, when Lyndon Johnson jammed the Civil Rights Act right up their collective poop chutes and then stuffed Medicare and Medicaid right in on top of it and here it is, what? 50 years later? And how many Conservatives are willing to give up either those civil rights or their Medicare? How many? What? You’ll have to speak up, I can’t hear you over all the frightened old seniors screaming about how HCR is going to fuck up their Medicare entitlement. What?  That’s right, for all their bluster about the wants of the “American People,” Conservatives lost.  For all the lies and propaganda and information warfare (Death Panels! Death Panels!) they waged, they lost – and really, if you have to lie to get people over on your side, well then your side sucks and maybe you ought to think about where you’re standing. Really. Which is why I’m not a republican any more.

But what’s really, really twisting the screw for conservatives today is this:

Barak Obama won.

That’s right. 

He won big. Huge. The biggest win ever.  Young. Black. Jug eared. Liberal. Inexperienced. Funny weird foreign name. Elite. Outsider. He promised us healthcare reform, and he did it.  Despite everything, and I mean everything, that Cheney and Palin and Rush and Glenn and Michelle and Sean and Boehner and Joe Verbal Diarrhea Wilson and the Tea Party and the Neocons and the entire might of the GOP and all the money the Insurance Industry lobbyists could throw, he won.  Conservative pundits can rant and rave and spin until they puke, but in the final analysis, Obama beat them all.  Every damned one of them. Talk about David and Goliath.

Hell, that sound you heard yesterday? The one that sounded like thunder? That was Obama dropkicking Chuck Norris. That’s right, Bitches, Looks like Ole Chucky finally has something to fear.

And Conservatives just can’t stand it.

Just. Can. Not. Stand. It.

They told everybody that this damned, uh, well, uh, you know it’s not about race, liberal would fall flat on his face. Instead, he won, he won the election, and he won the biggest political fight in the last hundred years.  Palin? She quit. Obama won. Put that on your Facebook Wall, Bitch. It’s damnably hard, damnably hard, to keep claiming you’re the party of God, when God clearly doesn’t like you. You’d think somebody would get a fucking clue, wouldn’t you? Apparently it’s going to take a couple of plagues and some smiting to convincing these idiots that they are on the wrong side.

Obama has managed to do what no other president has been able to do in the history of the Union, he extended healthcare to nearly every American.

Call it however you like, spin any which way you want, lie and make the Glenn Beck poopoo gesture and shed tears on TV, nothing will change the fact that a guy conservatives wrote off as nothing more than a smile and an empty suit just handed them their ass on a plate.

Not too shabby for his first year in the Oval Office. No, not too damned shabby at all.

So, what are Conservatives going to do about it? Besides sue, I mean?

Well, after extensive study, they’ve decided to panic and run around in circles flapping their arms and squawking like chickens caught in a hailstorm.

Senator Jim Demint, a guy you can always count to do the assclown dance, and a band of his friends introduced legislation to repeal the Healthcare Reform bill and return to the status quo. Not fix the flaws in the HCR, and there are flaws, repeal it and return to the status quo – you know, the one where 47 million Americans get ass fucked by the insurance industry every single day. Now this bill doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Glenn Beck’s hot sweaty asscrack of passing, and it sure as hell doesn’t have a chance of getting past the President’s veto pen – but they filed it anyway.

And do you know why?

I’ll tell you.

Because they fear the next three years more than anything else.  The GOP is deathly afraid of the next three years. They’re more afraid of Obama and the remaining three years of his term than they are of terrorism – and that’s a lot of fear, boys and girls.

Why?

Well, starting today small businesses get a substantial tax credit to make insuring their employee affordable.  That means their employees will be more healthy and less likely to miss work due to health problems, which makes small business more profitable sooner rather than later. And that means small businesses can attract better workers. That means small businesses can provide better benefits to their employees without having to increase wages, which means in general employees will be more loyal, satisfied, and more likely to stay, making small business more sustainable. And that starts happening right away.

Seniors that up to now have fallen through the Medicare Part D prescription medication donut hole will get a rebate to cover their costs – and the donut hole will be closed. Permanently. (Tell me why certain seniors should get screwed on prescription medication coverage and not others, because that’s the current status quo. Please, I’m listening).

From this day forward, Insurance companies will no longer be able to deny people coverage for pre-existing conditions or drop people from coverage if they get sick. (Tell me why you want to give Insurance the right to drop your ass if you get sick, go on, tell me that’s what you want).

From this day forward, Insurance companies are prohibited from placing lifetime caps on your coverage. Restrictive annual caps are also banned. (No seriously, tell me you like the idea of caps on your coverage. Go on, tell me).

From this day forward, every single America has the right to appeal to independent arbitration regarding decisions made by their insurance provider. (Tell me why it’s patriotic to be bent over a barrel by your provider without recourse of any kind).

Effective immediately, there will be a temporary high-risk pool to provide immediate access to coverage for the uninsured denied access due to pre-existing conditions (go ahead, tell me why we should repeal the bill and condemn these people to death. These Americans. Tell me what Jesus would do. Don’t strain yourself thinking about it, take your time).

And effective immediately, young people can remain on their parent’s health insurance until the age of 26. (please, Conservatives, tell me how cutting your kid loose into the world without coverage makes them stronger and teaches them to stand on their own two feet. Fuck ‘em, get a job hippies. Right? Isn’t that your plan for poor people too? Cut them off so they’ll learn to stand up on their own? Say, while we’re on that subject, how come this wouldn’t work for Israel? Cut the parasites off and let them solve their own problems? Well?  I’m sorry, I could hear you over your howling hypocrisy).

That, my friends is what Republicans fear more than anything else, right there. Because in three years, Americans are going to realize that they are far, far better off than they were yesterday – and that they’ve got President Obama to thank for it. Then they are going to go to the polls. 

Americans are going to realize, probably sooner rather than later, that all the lies Glenn Beck told them and the Rush propaganda and Palin’s talk of death panels was complete bullshit and that healthcare for all Americans is a damned fine idea, a damned fine American idea – and a hell of a lot of conservatives are going to end up depending on it.  Just exactly like they have benefitted from every other major piece of social legislation. 

Every one.

Oh? What? You think I’m kidding?

If it wasn’t for the Civil Rights legislation, Michael Steele would be mopping floors at the RNC instead of chairing it.

If it wasn’t for Social Security most of the seniors out there would be too damned busy either working or rummaging through garbage cans for cat food tins to attend Tea Party rallies in protest of socialism – which is why Social Security was passed in the first place and why damned near every single American senior who isn’t Bill Gates depends on it today.

And if it wasn’t for Medicare most of those self same senior Tea Baggers would be dead or dying or too fucking sick to stand on the Washington Mall waving signs all damned week.

And if it wasn’t for Welfare and Medicaid, they’d all be ass deep in sick, dying, poor people like something out of the 1800’s.

You think getting rid of social programs gives you freedom? Hell no, it gives you Uganda, you dumb fuckers.

No, the last thing Conservatives want is to let Americans get used to Healthcare Reform.

Because when it is all said and done, Americans are going to realize they wanted it all along.

This is a big fucking deal.

Yes, it is.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Day After

As Thomas Dewar said on Facebook,

“It’s been twelve hours now since the House passed HCR, and still no jackbooted government agents have kicked down my door to inject me with liquid socialism…”

It’s just a matter of time, Tom, just a matter of time – at least according to the not-so-loyal opposition this morning.  Frankly I’m a hell of a lot less frightened of, oh, say, all Americans finally getting access to healthcare than the rightwing zombies who are losing their worm-eaten minds today.  You can damned well expect to see real Hollywood tears glistening in Glenn Beck’s eyes as he weeps for the Republic today.  I expect Palin’s Facebook page will be a beautiful example of third grade logic and how this legislation is a personal insult to her and poor little lopsided Trig.   Rush, well, Rush will probably need some kind of chemical solace and a stint in rehab, before he leaves the US for Costa Rica as promised (what? You don’t think Rush would welsh on his promise to leave the US, do you? Frankly, I think Rush’s imminent departure from America is the best part of the HCR).  And I expect somebody will have to shoot Michelle Bachman with a tranquilizer dart like the animal control guys have to do with an enraged heifer infected with the Mad Cow.

The GOP and its yappy little non-housebroken lap dog, the Tea Party, have been showing their true colors these last few hours.  For a group of people who claim to be better Americans than all the rest of us, who claim to be great patriots, who carry little copies of the Constitution in their pockets right next to their bibles, and who can misquote the 2nd Amendment with enthusiastic gusto (a well armed militia!), and who claim to be such great admirers of democracy, they sure are sore losers aren’t they?  For a bunch of folks who proclaim the glory of Christ’s compassion, they sure don’t seem to have any for their fellow Americans, do they? Then again, healthcare is like the Christian Heaven or democracy to these people, it’s only good if you don’t let in the riff-raff or the stinky Mexicans, everybody else can burn in hell – which is, of course, what these compassionate Christians were shouting at Nancy Pelosi this morning, “Burn in Hell! Burn in Hell!” 

Jesus, I’m sure, would be so proud of what he wrought with this crowd.

Texas Republican Randy Neugebauer burst out uncontrollably on the house floor last night, calling Bart Stupak a “Baby Killer!”  Of course, Neugebauer was too cowardly to own up to his comment, typical of his kind, full of wind, shit, and excitement and a fiery passion for the unborn and the as yet un-conceived and not one damned shred of compassion for the millions of real live breathing children without access to a doctor. Neugebauer wasn’t wearing the anonymous white sheets of his compatriots, but the Texas GOP closed ranks around him just as effectively as any pointy KKK hood and robe and it wasn’t until this morning that Neugebauer got outed by one of his fellow conservatives and had to fess up.  This morning he shamefacedly said his remarks were “misinterpreted.” See, in Texas “Baby Killer” means “I respectfully disagree with the Gentleman from Michigan.” Courage, Cowardly Lion, courage.

Virginia and half a dozen other Red States have declared their intention to sue the Federal Government and the President in order to halt Healthcare Reform.  The law, say the Red Stater Attorneys General, is unconstitutional because it forces people to buy health insurance (and provides subsidies for those who cannot afford it).  I assume these states will be giving up Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, federal unemployment benefits, and any federal pork derived from tax dollars in order to claim the moral and ideological high ground on this one. I also assume that on Virginia roads at least, auto insurance will now be optional. So far as I can tell, the gist of the lawsuit being that it’s better to spend billions on a lengthy and hideously expensive constitutional challenge than use that money to help American citizens get access to a doctor.  That’s the same kind of conservative logic that says it’s patriotic to spend $2 billion a copy for the B2 Spirit stealth bomber, but it’s anti-American to help out your neighbors.  Can’t you just see Jesus dancing on water over that one? Hallelujah!

Texas, predictably, is making noises about secession yet again – because in the Lone Star State you prove your great American patriotism by threatening to quit the Union every time you don’t get your way.  Texans, like Randy Neugebauer, would rather secede than give one penny to help his fellow Americans.  In Texas the state motto is: “Fine! Be that way! I’m taking my ball and going home! Jerks!” Honestly, I’m all for it.  I say we call their bluff, let’s vote Texas off the island now, rather than wait for them to leave.  Then we’ll build a fence along the state’s northern border – and shoot any pointy toed peckerwood that tries to cross it. 

Here in Alaska, it’s the end of the world.  Civilization is teetering on the brink of the apocalypse.  The ragtag remnants of the Michigan Militia, now calling themselves the Alaskan Citizen’s Militia and led by camo wearing goof Norm Olsen, are polishing their assault rifles and waiting for the liberal hordes.  They wear uniforms like little kids playing at army, except they’re carrying real weapons and they just can’t wait to start shooting people. Olsen said he doesn’t want to hurt anybody – the guns are just for bears (bears in assault carriers and armed with machine guns).  He doesn’t hate the government, “just the people in government.” Viva la Revolucion! Maybe we can get the Alaskan Citizen’s Militia to man the US/Texas border.

Sarah Palin called for repeal of certain portions of the bill. She didn’t say what those portions were though and it’s not clear if she was talking about actual passages in the bill, or fictional provisions that she just made up on her Facebook page.  She said the historic passing of the HCR is a “clarion call” for action and that her followers shouldn’t “let them move on to further 'transformational' steps while forgetting what Congress just did against the will of the people.”  Apparently the will of the rest of America, those of us who aren’t Sarah’s Facebook friends, doesn’t count – because we’re not real American in her eyes. I can see the kind of America she wants to live in from my house, and it makes Putin look like a piker.

Glenn Beck, on his radio show, railed against the Democrats who supported the bill: "Our master is common sense and God. I don't think right now you have either one on your side."  Odd, how did the bill pass then? I mean if God opposes it.  Unless, of course, He doesn’t… Funny how when these people don’t get their way they claim that it’s an affront to God, instead of making them wonder if maybe, just maybe, they’re consistently on the opposite side of what their precious lord and savior would have chosen. Beck invoked the name of God twice, first by claiming yesterday that holding the Healthcare vote on a Sunday was somehow sacrilegious  - no explanation of why votes on other issues don’t make Jesus cry – and then today by claiming God hates healthcare for all Americans. Funny thing though, speaking of Jesus, I seem to remember Jesus talking about feeding the poor (and actually doing so, loaves and fishes if I recall correctly), washing the feet of the destitute, give and you shall receive and like that. He might even have healed a few sick folks too, somewhere along the line.  I don’t remember Jesus ever saying, “Fuck you, Bitches, I got my eternal life! Woot!” My bad, must have been a different Jesus I’m remembering – probably an illegal immigrant, a lot of them there Mexicans are named Jesus.

Rush Limbaugh was less polite, “We need to defeat these bastards, wipe them out.”  If I’m not mistaken, that’s exactly what Osama Bin Ladin said about the United States in general.   Somebody give Rush a turban and an explosive vest as a going away present.  Seriously here, how does is this bombastic ass not on the no-fly list?  He’s threatening Americans, right? “Wipe them out!” Sounds like a fucking terrorist to me. 

Yesterday, commenter cremes told me I was wrong about the Tea Party movement. They’re fine upstanding folks, not crazies or hate mongers or zombie like followers of Glenn Beck. These would be the same tea baggers who called Barney Frank a “faggot” on the Longworth Building steps yesterday, and chanted “Homo Communist!” – what Frank’s gayness has to do with healthcare reform is beyond me. This same crowd spit on Representative Emanuel Cleaver and called both John Lewis and  Andre Carson “niggers.”  That’s right, niggers.  A speaker at an Asotin Country Tea Party Rally in Washington State called for Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) to be lynched. Lynched. Dragged from her home and hung by the neck until dead.  This wasn’t an off-hand remark by some wacko in the crowd, this was the speaker – and the Tea Baggers in the crowd cheered.  Faggot, nigger, lynched.  There’s your Tea Party, right there.  Fine, fine American Patriots these Tea Party types, eh?  Rather than denounce such bigotry and hatred and astoundingly blatant racism and homophobia, Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) supported the crowd and justified their actions by saying “I think that people have every right to say what they want. If they want to smear someone, they can do it.” God bless fine Americans like you, Devin, you’re an example to us all, you are indeed.

A few more comments by the reasonable rational Regular Joes of the Tea Party:

- You're an idiot if you don't think yesterday was a dark day for America. But you're an even bigger idiot if you don't think we are all coming after all the progressives who did this to our country!

- Hate speech is a sign of frustration from being disregarded and ignored. To arms is generally what follows that.

- Im still younge and dont know much but i anna help, what do i do? how do you start a impeach someone,wont that help?

- It’s time to fight the enemy! Socialist operatives are infesting CraigsList.com with their recruiting ads. FIGHT BACK! Go to Craigslist.com, under Jobs /nonprofit sector, open an ad and flag it as spam/overpost. Some will say “Summer Campaign jobs” others “Work for Greenpeace” yeah, you get the idea. Thank you for your help on stamping out progressive recruiting! Some of the worst cities are San Francisco, Los Angles, San Diego, Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston, Denver, New York, Washington DC and Philadelphia. These are liberal/progressive recruiting hotspots. Each time you flag an ad is like stepping on a liberal cockroach. Check collage towns as well, Thank You!

- Democrats are anti-American and corrupt. Republicans are corrupt and ineffective. I must do everything we can conceive of to eliminate them.

- Boy, I feel your anger because I've been all over the place with moods today from being feeling like I've been shot in the guts, to feeling sad, to crying and then finally to anger like I've never experienced in my life. It's horrid to realize that your individual liberty has just officially died unless something changes to reverse this mandate, etc. I feel as if my country died today. The anger part comes in realizing how many out there are doing the happy dance over this. I was so mad tonight that I punched my computer screen and sent it flying. I've never felt such a rage, but knowing what Obama is doing and knowing what smugness he is expressing just fuels it even more.

- I'm only 21 and I'm getting into politics because I honestly think that if people let this bill pass that this country will eventually become socialist. There will become a socialist government if we don't do something now. First healthcare and then something else and eventually we will become socialist.

- this is not socialism, this is MARXISM, something we destroyed during the XXth century and now is comingt back to "bother" in our own land. We have to act fast and quite efficiently, otherwise THEY will chew out butts.

And so on in endless illiterate and ignorant detail.  All those Tea Party comments come directly from Tea Party Patriot sites (you want to go look for yourself, then do a Google search, I’m not linking to this garbage from here).

It simply astounds me the level of booger eating ignorance, stupidity, hatred, racism, bigotry, and just plain abject insanity of the opposition.  I can see why they fear “the elites” so much, because anything over the intelligence level of a garden slug must be intimidating as all hell to these idiots.

How do I know that yesterday’s vote was the right thing?

Because these people hate it.

That’s good enough for me.

 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go imbibe some liquid socialism. The Irish kind. I feel like I might need a double shot of it.

 


More here: Glenn Beck Killed My Father In Law!

And the follow up post to this one: …and the day after that!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Oh, Holy Hell

The Health Care Reform bill passed the House.

 

You know what that means:

 

image

 

Christ, I hope I can make it to work tomorrow, what with the revolution and all.

Idiots

Every village has at least one.

Here’s ours:

Blackberry 084

Now, since I took this picture with my Blackberry as I was passing through the light at the intersection of the Palmer Wasilla and the Glenn Highways you probably can’t quite make it out.  Allow me to fill in the details: the guy holding the sign is about 50, he’s wearing a Rocky The Flying Squirrel hat, Mukaluks, and a filthy parka. He’s got a short grey mountain man beard and a very red angry face. The sign he’s been waving at traffic for a week says:

LaRouche Says Impeach Obama Now. Go to LaRouchePAC.com

Look, you may not like Barack Obama, but seriously here folks, Lyndon LaRouche? Seriously?  If you’re listening to Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche - the Clown Shoes of Politics, convicted felon, and all around batshit bug eating crazy loon – well, in all seriousness, it’s time to double up on your meds before you hurt yourself.

Wow.

Welcome to the Tea Party, folks. Welcome to the fucking Tea Party.

If nothing else, the Healthcare Reform vote before the House today has certainly brought the fruitcakes out of the woodwork. 

 


Note: Over there to left of the Village Idiot you might notice another odd looking person holding a sign.  That’s the Liberty Tax shill, dressed up as Lady Liberty and waving a sign for the local Tax preparer, she’s a common sight around this time of year. She’s not a LaRouchite, so far as I know.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Danger, Will Robinson, Danger! (Updated)

Since I've retired from the military, there isn't much adventure in my life.

Today: adventure, danger, reckless abandon!

Yes, I'm upgrading my Vista machine to Windows 7.



You folks stay here, keep the home fires burning...and if I'm not back in a couple hours, call the President.

And as long as I'm paraphrasing one of my favorite movies, here have John Carpenter and the Coupe de Villes in a really crappy music video doing the theme song:


UPDATE:

The upgrade appears to have worked perfectly.

The machines is now running on Windows 7, Vista has been consigned to the dustbin of history right next to New Coke.  All of my hardware is working, so is all of my software.

It was probably one of the easiest upgrades I’ve ever done.

Detailed post to follow.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Attention Mozilla

Dear Makers of Firefox,

What. In. The. Fuck?

One of you needs to get slapped upside the head.

 

I upgraded to the latest version of Firefox. 

I was perfectly happy with the older version, but the incessant nagging to upgrade finally got the best of me.

I should have known better.  The continuous reminders to upgrade to the latest version were ominously similar to Microsoft’s constant bullshit, and I should have taken that as an omen.

So far as I can tell, the new version and the old version are exactly the same – except Mozilla has changed certain browser functions for no conceivable reason whatsoever.  And this is pissing me off to a degree you simply can not imagine. 

I use multiple tabs. I normally have anywhere from ten to twelve tabs open at once.  I have a particular set of websites open in a particular order. That’s how I want it.  I don’t give a flying fuck if Mozilla doesn’t like it that way.  I don’t give a flying fuck if you, gentle reader, don’t like it that way.  I don’t give a flying fuck if the President or the Pope or God himself doesn’t like it. It’s my computer and I’ll damned well have my browser session arranged the way I want it. 

Now, since version one, Firefox has always opened a new tab to the far right of the tab bar.  That’s how it has always worked, and that is how I want it to work for now and forever. Period. I open a lot of temporary tabs when I’m doing research and I don’t want to have to fuck around when I want to close one, I just close the far right.

Except, suddenly, for no particular reason other than to just plain irritate the ever living hell out of me apparently, Mozilla decided that Firefox version 3.6 would suddenly change my settings and open new tabs next to whatever tab had the focus when it was called. And there is no control under options to change it back the way it was. Out of reflex I keep closing tabs I want open and leaving tabs I want closed.  I want it to work the way it has always worked, I want my software to adapt to me, not me to it.

God damn it, Mozilla, did Bill Gates buy you out finally?

Changing my settings every upgrade is the kind of corporate assholiness that I’ve come to expect from Microsoft, seeing it happen with Mozilla is a foul and unpleasant surprise.  Like waking up and finding you’ve been ass-raped.  What’s next? Ribbon bars?

 

I’ve looked through the Tab related add-ons, can’t find one that will give me control over this function.  I found a couple that say they’ll give me control, but none do. If any of you can tell me how to return my browser to its previous behavior, i.e. new tabs open far right, I would be eternally grateful.

And you, Mozilla, you should have to wear the Bill Gates Dunce Cap of Shame for the next month. If I wanted you to dictate how I use my browser, I’d use IE.

Keep this kind of crap up, and I’ll be using Google Chrome. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

This Week’s Very Important Question

Pretend you’re a Republican member of Congress.

You’ve spent the past nine months doing your damnest to make sure 47 million Americans can’t get access to healthcare.

First you justified your obstructionism by saying that a healthcare reform amounted to socialized medicine. You fought tooth and nail against any kind of public option.  You fought with every fiber of your conservative soul against expansion of Medicare. And you won.

After you’d won that point, you justified your continued obstructionism by saying that healthcare reform would in essence “kill babies” by providing public funded access to abortion. You spread propaganda to convince the population that healthcare reform would turn grandma and poor handicapped Trig Palin into Soylent Green.  And you succeeded yet again by manipulating public fear and instilling hysteria over non issues so that your pals in the insurance industry wouldn’t have to cover hospice and end of life counseling.  Well done, really.

And then, of course, you played your trump card: Healthcare reform costs too much.  If we allow every American access to healthcare, we’ll ruin it for everybody. We’ll go bankrupt taking care of the freeloaders.  You want healthcare? Then get a real job, hippies.  Right?

 

So here’s the question, now that you’ve made sure that not one dollar of my money goes to pay for an abortion, or end of life care and counseling (and really, thank you for that, People like my father-in-law can now die without access to counseling or end of life care or advice on a living will, afraid, confused, angry – as any real American should) and now that the Congressional Budget Office has shown that the current version of the bill is projected to actually reduce the Federal Deficit by $138 Billion over the next decade how do you justify your continued opposition? 

A) Glenn Beck said we don’t need no stinking healthcare reform, and we don’t like to make Glenn angry

B) Healthcare reform will give illegal alien homosexual atheist terrorists free pap smears and that makes Jesus cry

C) Barrack HUSSEIN!! Obama. Duh!  Terrorists will win!

D) write in your own answer: ________________________

 

Think carefully. As always, the correct response grants you access to the bunker and rationed use of the First Aid kit when the Zombie Apocalypse comes.  The wrong answer means that you’re already infected and you’re wandering the countryside in search of an actual brain.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Stuff

Spent all evening in the shop.

I didn’t have time to write a post, but this SMBC pretty much sums up what I was thinking about:


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Glenn Beck Killed My Father-In-Law

Attention Phoenix Visitor: I see you hitting this post almost every single day. My curiosity is getting the better of me. What is it that you're expecting to see?

___________________________________________________________


I was in Florida last week.

I spent most of that time in the company of a man dying from cancer.

He’s my father-in-law. He’s 65. It’s not very likely that he’ll live to be 66. He’s got it bad.

It started in his lungs. A dime sized carcinoma, no doubt caused by decades of heavy smoking. He did it to himself, true, but even so they might have cured it then, back when he first noticed the shortness of breath and the discomfort in his chest, back when he was reasonably healthy and had enough strength to survive the treatment - but he didn’t have medical coverage. He could have seen the VA, but he lives in the Florida Panhandle and the closest full VA facility is three hours away in Biloxi, Mississippi. He lost a leg to peripheral artery disease a couple of years ago, he’s on a very limited income, and he doesn’t have the most reliable of transportation – Mississippi is a major trip. And getting an appointment at the Biloxi VA is problematic unless you’re coughing up blood or a Medal of Honor winner. The place was badly damaged in Katrina, it’s underfunded and understaffed and overcrowded and it’s flooded with dying veterans from any of the last seven decades of war and Cold War and conflict. He maybe could have seen a local doctor, he qualifies for Medicare, but he doesn’t have the money for the co-pay and the inevitable prescriptions, and he’s too proud to ask.

So he kept putting it off, figuring whatever it was would get better.

Instead it turned out to be cancer, and by the time he was sick enough to go to the doctor and damn the cost, it had metastasized.

It spread throughout his body, lungs, brain, digestive system. It’s in his back. It’s in his chest and abdomen. It’s in his skull. And it’s eating him alive. He can’t eat. He’s dehydrated. He’s down to about eighty pounds and he’s nothing but skin and bones and haunted eyes. He’s in constant pain, he’s nauseated, and disorientated and he looks like a holocaust victim. It’s horrible and horrifying.

We rented a car and took him to Biloxi and the VA hospital there, more or less against his will. My wife forced him to start chemotherapy. But it’s too late. We all know it, and so does he.

We brought him home after three days of chemo and intravenous feeding and hydration. He felt better for a day or so – mostly the effects of nutrition and liquids in his system for the first time in weeks – and he was looking much more alert by the time we had to leave for Alaska.

Then the chemo kicked in with predictable results, and he stopped eating again. And he wouldn’t take the medication. Chemotherapy takes a heavy toll on a reasonably healthy body, in his wasted state it’s devastating. But there really was nothing else to try, and now either the chemo will kill him, or the cancer will. Leaving aside medical miracles, death is inevitable at this point.

Today as I write this, he’s back in Biloxi, my brother-in-law took him there, again against his protests – and we don’t know if he’ll ever leave the place.

Before his illness, and throughout it, and even now as he lays dying in a VA hospital in Mississippi, he still watches Glenn Beck and FoxNews every single God damned day. He rails against “ObamaCare” and the “socialist takeover of healthcare” and protests “government run” healthcare at every turn. He paraphrases the blatant misinformation propagated by the likes of Beck and Rush and Palin and somehow the astounding irony of it escapes him in as much as the only thing keeping him alive at this point is a government run medical facility. And if it wasn’t for that government run medical system he would have absolutely nothing, nothing, and would have been dead weeks ago – before his daughter and grandson could have visited with him one last time. Even Medicare wasn’t an option, the co-pay for a year of full blown aggressive chemotherapy runs into the tens of thousands of dollars – and there are strict limits.

So, it’s the VA in Biloxi or it’s nothing.

But you see, my father-in-law is one of the lucky ones. A veteran with access to a VA medical facility. As I said, if it weren’t for that, he would have nothing.

Nothing – just exactly like 47 million Americans right now. Nothing. No access to medical care whatsoever.

And this, right here, is Glenn Beck’s crime.

He’s killing people. He’s killing Americans. He is conspiring with the likes of Palin and Limbaugh and the Teabaggers and the Party of No to let 47 million uninsured Americans die. More, he’s brainwashed thousands of people to commit slow suicide. He has convinced them that they don’t want healthcare, that no healthcare at all, that death, is preferable to healthcare reform.

Glenn Beck has managed to convince the slaves to willingly and enthusiastically lay down their lives for the Confederacy.

Beck, and others of his stripe, have brainwashed hundreds of thousands of the nation’s most needy and desperate into killing themselves for the status quo, for a Health Insurance Industry that won’t even let them in the back door, and for rich parasites like Beck himself and Palin and Limbaugh who have made tens of millions, hundreds of millions, off of the poor and the destitute and the foolish and those Americans who will die in agony convinced that they are doing it for Beck’s perverted version of patriotism. This capering bastard will never, ever, have to want for the very best medical care - whenever he needs a yet another detox or a pedicure or chemotherapy he will have the very, very best that all his millions can buy. A private room, with a personal doctor and a pretty nurse to wash his fat ass, with all the finest specialists at hand. He’ll never have to worry how to fill the prescriptions, he’ll never stand in line at a public clinic for generic substitutes or be denied because he can’t afford the medicine. He’ll never have to cut pills in half to stretch them until the next check, or do without food so his kids can have antibiotics, or drive to Mexico in order to afford medicines to save his own life or the lives of someone he loves (assuming that Beck is capable of loving anything other than himself). Nor will Limbaugh. Or Palin. Nor will the obstructionist Conservatives and Yellow Dog Democrats in Congress who will never spend one damned day in a VA waiting room after driving three hours to get there. Not one of these sanctimonious sons of bitches will ever sit in a waiting room full of dying one-legged Vets, or a clinic full of poor Americans, or a hospital emergency room.

And neither will the billionaire insurance company executives who are spending billions more to fund a campaign against healthcare reform and the Administration and who hide behind the skirts of such worms as Glenn Beck.

Glenn Beck is a liar of extraordinary proportion. A rabble rouser. A charlatan. A hypocrite. He is a gross swollen pustule on the ball-sack of humanity. He epitomizes everything that is wrong with pandering to the lowest common denominator. It is no wonder that he despises and ridicules the educated, the intellectuals, the reasoned, the skilled, the compassionate, the honest, the trustworthy, the honorable, the duty bound, the courageous, and the altruistic – he has none of these traits. He’s a self centered travesty of a human being. And any station or network that would broadcast his foul rhetoric is guilty of killing Americans through the weapon of information warfare. What Beck is doing is no different, no different whatsoever, than those sick and twisted Imans and Mullahs who pervert their religion to convince the gullible to strap on explosives and martyr themselves for an insane ideology. Beck grows rich and powerful and more and more grossly corpulent at the expense of the weak and the foolish and the gullible and those most desperate.

And Fox grows ever more powerful.

And Rupert Murdock grows ever richer.

And the poor? And the uninsured? Those who listen to Beck? Those unwitting dupes? What happens to them?

They die, convinced like those Islamic martyrs that they’re dying for God and Country and a higher cause.

But they are not.

Instead they are just another casualty to a grossly swollen ego - the veritable Jubba the Hut of egos - and an unbridled thirst for power, to lies, and twisted half-truths, to unlimited greed and gluttony, and a stupefying hypocrisy writ so large that it nearly defies comprehension.

I sat in my father-in-law’s house and watched this episode of Glenn Beck.

Damned near every single statement that spattered from his clownish mouth like explosive diarrhea was provably false or, at best, a half-truth twisted to support his Attention Deficit Disorder-like stream-of-unconsciousness dialog.

He started out with a screed against Obama’s “land grab” in the western United States, he put up maps to show the areas of Federal lands and compared that against a resource map – which purported to show that the government was only interested in lands that contain the country’s natural resources. Then he directly accused the Federal government of stealing America’s riches from the poor, poor citizens, apparently in order to run up the national debt. Because, you see, “The West is Fort Knox” and if the government got out of the way of industry why we’d pay the debt right off. Somehow, Beck completely failed to mention that those lands by definition are owned by the citizens of America, and that the resources there are not the exclusive domain of robber barons or corporations. Beck implied that those resources are locked away by the Obama administration, and somehow failed to mention that in most cases the exploitation of those riches are leased to private interests, who pay the America citizen for the privilege of use though taxes and leases and permits. Beck failed to mention that when such a system is not in place, when private corporations are allowed to take what they want without regard to future or the average citizen, that they almost always indulge in wanton rape and pillage of the land, leaving behind barren moonscape and desolation and vast toxic wastelands that the taxpayer must clean up. This has happened over and over and over again. Beck fails to mention that a great deal of public owned land in the west is used to graze privately own cattle herds – which produce the steaks that his fat ass consumes with such gusto.

Beck acts as if the Government is stealing the land from us. The fool proclaims the greatness of America and yet disregards that which makes it great – we are the government. You know what happens when we don’t protect the land? When we let industry do what it wants? This. This (I’ve been here, and a more foul place you can’t imagine). This. And this.

Once he instilled the fear that Obama was taking away our land, Beck then unleashed the bogyman of Russia and China in an obvious bid to stir hysteria:

The Obama administration is pursuing 13 million acres through 11 states in the West in the name of "national monuments." Maybe we'll get one of Chairman Mao? How about Stalin? He was good at controlling the lands, I hear. And they are doing this without telling anyone. It's executive order. They don't care about what you think about it.

Actually, for the record, Stalin was pretty damned good at destroying the land, the environment, and the lives of people in the name of unrestricted economic growth – I mean if we’re going to use him as an example. Mao wasn’t much better.

Beck completely failed to mention that public debate over the use of these lands, and the creation of these monuments has gone on for years, decades in some cases. Or that the administration solicited public input and opinion through a wider variety of means than any previous administration – and that it continues to do so. Subscribe to the White House Twitter feed for example, not a single day goes by that the Administration doesn’t ask for input from common citizens. The level of public input into the process is in fact unprecedented. Beck blatantly lied.

And he just kept right on lying:

Here's another one: Do you like to fish? Well, enjoy it while you can because it looks like special interests once again are trumping common sense and the voice of the people. A new report says it's a move to appease environmental groups and, just like before, without the consent of the people and by executive order. We told you he would do this. Heck, The New York Times said he'd do it. The report claims that Obama will "no longer listen to the public" as he tries to prohibit U.S. citizens from fishing on some of the nation's oceans, coastal areas, Great Lakes and even some inland waters. So, because a couple of environmentalists want to save the fish, people could lose rights.

It’s far more than a “couple of environmentalists” and we are in immediate danger of losing critical fish stocks to overfishing – believe me, I live in Alaska. I doubt Glenn Beck has ever seen the devastation when the salmon run doesn’t come in. And Beck clearly doesn’t understand what an “Executive Order” is, either that or he is deliberately fanning the flames of hysteria and hatred and obstructionism (frankly I’m not sure which way to bet on that). An Executive Order is not a federal law, it holds power only over those actions and operations of the Executive. Obama could issue an Executive Order to immediately halt all fishing, but the only people who would have to obey it would be government employees who happen work for the Executive Branch of the Federal Government – and then only when they were on duty. That’s the way our government was designed – specifically to prevent the capricious and arbitrary abuse of power of any one person. For a supposed Patriot who waves the American flag so damned much, and for a group of listeners who think they are the only true Americans, they sure as hell don’t know much about their own country, do they?

Beck next took a bizarre swipe at folk legend Woody Guthrie (Woody Guthrie – Communist!)* and the song This Land Is Your Land. Beck called the song a “song about a progressive utopia land with no ownership of property.” He claimed that the song was an “indoctrination,” he didn’t say to what but his gullible listeners no doubt still had “Communist!” ringing in their ears. Beck quoted a couple of verses, verses that were never part of the mainstream release of the song and have long since faded into obscurity:

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Beck very, very carefully emphasized the phrase “relief office,” stopping to raise his eyebrow significantly – he was also very careful not to mention that the song was written at the height of the Great Depression when soup lines and relief offices were a common sight across the land and that the song wasn’t implying that such things were desired but rather were specifically included as an ironic observation that was the whole damned point of the song in the first place. Guthrie was known as the Dust Bowl Troubadour and his songs were observations on the American condition of that time. This Land Is Your Land was originally written as a biting ironic ballad. Guthrie sang of the beauty of this vast continent, of opportunity, and riches, simple and shallow and patriotic on a sixth-grade level – and then abruptly slapped the listener out of his sense of complacency and mindless patriotism by throwing up images of the Great Depression and asking “is this land really made for you and me?” You and me? Us, the poor, the disenfranchised, those without means? Those standing in soup lines, and lost in the Dust Bowl?

How ironic that Glenn Beck would talk over and over again about taking back America for Americans, and condemn this particular song. It was American victims of the Great Depression who inspired Guthrie to write the song in the first place. The same exact sort of people to whom Beck himself is appealling now.

How ironic that Glenn Beck would emphasize Guthrie’s communist sympathies but completely fail to mention that it was because communism was new then, many folks sympathized with the philosophy – until they saw where it inevitably headed – and that in this case Guthrie saw communism as a way to fight fascism, a far, far greater threat in 1940. And in fact, Guthrie’s guitar was decorated with a bold and prominent sticker which proudly proclaimed, “This Machine Kills Fascists!” Then again, fascism being an extreme rightwing position, perhaps Herr Beck has some sympathy for it.

How utterly ironic that Glenn Beck would use this particular song as a lead-in to healthcare reform.

Then, just like the song above, Glenn Beck cherry-picked sound bites from Nancy Pelosi’s recent address before Congress – he didn’t actually have a point, he only used the video clips to make derisive clown faces and to segue into his final rant against preventive medicine and healthcare reform.

I don't want government controlling my diet. I like being able to decide whether or not I stuff my face with Doritos. And how does a health care bill help me eat right? Will there be food police ready to cuff me if I take an extra doughnut? Here in New York they have proposed a salt ban.

Again, for a guy that claims to be a better American than all the rest of us combined (well, except for Sarah Palin anyway) he damned sure doesn’t seem to have a clue about how his own government works. The healthcare reform bill says nothing about “controlling” Glenn Beck’s diet (though that might not be a bad idea). The passage Beck was bloviating about deals with nutritional and health education – you know, the kind of stuff kids get in school, the food pyramid, eat right, don’t smoke, exercise. A huge (heh heh) part of our national healthcare costs are because Americans are fat and out of shape and diabetic and dying of fucking lung cancer. The easiest and cheapest, most immediate and most long term method of directly reducing healthcare costs – and therefore taxes – is to address these preventable problems through education.

Will there be food police? Beck damned well knows better, but he’s engaging in the same kind of hysterical rabblerousing hyperbole that appeals directly to the same dimwitted mob as Sarah Palin did when she coined the phrase “death panels.” It’s a complete and total fabrication, but it speaks directly to the fearful and the ignorant and the very people who have the most to gain from such education.

And that last bit, the salt ban in New York, again Beck demonstrates a profound lack of knowledge when it comes to the basic function of our government. A dozen goofy laws are proposed every single day, at the Federal, State, and city levels. Almost none of them ever get out of committee, let alone get to a vote and are signed into law. And should something like this silly salt ban be signed into law through some perverse freak of fate – it would be almost immediately challenged in court and almost certainly vacated. For a guy who thinks he’s the world’s bestest American, Beck seems to have no faith whatsoever in the American system of law.

There's a place in New York City that makes twice-fried cherry pie. It was banned because it had trans-fats. This pie was made for you and me. Want fatty-fat fat pie? Go to the ChipShop in Brooklyn: 383 5th Ave. You could drop dead of a heart attack, but you'll have a smile on your face. Eat one while you still can!

And again, a lie. The pie was never banned – the menu takes some liberties in the interest of promoting the shop’s stock in trade, namely fried food. The ChipShop is famous, world famous, for everything from Beck’s beloved patriotic twice fried cherry pie to deep fried Twinkies and Snickers bars. ** And it’s doing a booming business – New York’s dietary laws seem to have little effect on the profitably or availability of fried food.

You are being bypassed. Do you see what's happening here? The president can't achieve what he wants by going through the proper channels — so he's just going through the backdoor: reconciliation; executive power. One man, taking it on himself — no Congress, no process, just him and his pen

And bullshit again. No process? No Congress? What the heck have we been doing on Capitol Hill for the last year then? Back door? How’s that? How many damned times does the President have to reach across the aisle? He sure as hell has done that orders of magnitude more than his conservative predecessor – in fact, reaching across the aisle to the opposition is almost his trademark. How many times must he address the public on this issue? Back door? He couldn’t be any more up front. There is nowhere you can’t turn that the President and members of Congress aren’t discussing this. Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, primetime interviews, and Larry King. On TV, on the radio, and on the internet. This is how our government works.

But again, facts and reality simply do not matter to Glenn Beck. What matters to Glenn Beck is money, power, fame. The man is a whore in the cheapest and most self-debasing form of the concept, he sucks the public dick for money and he’ll do the donkey show as long as the johns keep throwing dollars on the stage.

He stands up there every day, spewing his falsehoods and his propaganda and filling the minds of his listeners with stupidity and ignorance and hatred.

And as a result, people are dying. His followers are dying.

And Glenn Beck is killing them.

Go to Biloxi, Mississippi and see for yourself.


* One wonders what Beck would make of a song written by an avowed pacifist poet lawyer like, oh say, Francis Scott Key, who defended terrorists such as Richard Lawrence after Lawrence’s attempted assassination of President Andrew Jackson. I wonder if Beck would call the Star Spangled Banner an attempt at indoctrination?

** On this Beck and I agree, the ChipShop’s twice fried cherry pie is awesommmmmmme.