Category : idiots

If I were running for president, I would stake my campaign on a single issue. An issue of the utmost importance in our time of existential peril. I’m talking of course, about my plan to give the Statue of Liberty a boob job.

The Statue of Liberty -- See? She's totally flat.Now, I know what you’re thinking: Why is he running on this issue when the economy, the environment and our political system are on all on the brink of collapse? It’s because of that last, actually. Our political system is so fucked up that the candidate that’s making the most sense right now is Stephen Colbert. That’s why giving the Statue of Liberty a boob job is so important. In a system where nothing makes sense, only the absurd can be enlightening.

I’m sure there are legitimate concerns with my plan, such as, What will France think? That’s fair, since they gave us the landmark back in 1886 in return for the cessation of France jokes (oops?). But you know, if any country is going to be okay with sexing up a work of art, I think France is that country. Heck, they banned the burqa over there; so now French women have to show skin. It’s the law! I can’t wait for whatever form of titillation they enshrine into law next. I’m betting on National Bikini Month during June. What a great country!

Here in America, our culture reflects our simultaneous fear of and obsession with sex. Our Puritan past manifests in both our paleo-conservative candidates and our raunchy television, even though nudity is practically verboten. Our brave entertainers have managed to squeeze every last drop of titillation out of our FCC censorship regime. In order to honor Hollywood’s quest to defend liberty and show boobies, it’s clear that we need to give Lady Liberty a Wonderbra and some serious cleavage.

Besides, the Statue of Liberty should reflect our shared culture. We’re pretty crass by this point so we might as well embrace it. So we should make sure to give Lady Liberty a handgun and a cheeseburger while we’re at it.

The whole “liberty” thing is pretty played out, too. I mean, come on — liberty is no longer a priority for our country. If it were, why would we have a not-so-secret torture camp on Cuban soil called Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp? It’s beyond the normal laws of our fair land and exists only to torture and imprison those foreigners we’ve captured — but not tried in a court of law. No, that would respect our (outmoded?) tradition of due process and equality for all. Now that Republican crowds will regularly boo the Golden Rule, peace, gay soldiers, uninsured Americans and the mere mention of Mexico, I think we can put the whole “Liberty” thing to bed. What Americans really want these days is Vengeance. So I suggest we drop the Flame of Liberty (put it in a museum, where it belongs) and give Lady Liberty a battle-axe instead. All the better to behead the terr’rists with, right?

The State of Liberty used to be a mirror of what we’ve achieved as nation. Now it’s an embarrassing reminder of how bad things have gotten, like how an old photo of you (from when you were young and fit) mocks the present reality. We need to bring the Lady into alignment with our present-day existence so we can forget about how out of whack things have gotten. To that end, Lady Liberty is going to need some tatoos (a tramp-stamp, obviously), an Oompa-Loompa-colored fake tan (Jersey is right next door, they should have enough spray-on tan for the whole statue), and a WWJD bracelet that she never looks at.

It’s not easy to be the guy who points out that shit’s fucked up, but I will be that guy (until I get tired) and I will fight for you in Washington (unless you elect a bunch of assholes to Congress — which you do every time) and I won’t shy away from the truth (but the truth will make you shy away from me).

So when it comes time to cast your vote just write in “Vemrion” and then we’ll get going on this boob-job thing. You deserve it, America.

They walk among us. Normal people, like you or me. But inside the corners of their ratty little minds they carry a dark, hideous secret: They own a leaf blower.

I know, I know. It’s easy to hate them, like SUV drivers, sweet sixteen psycho-princesses and those happy-slapping chavs who run around hitting unsuspecting people and filming it. But owning a leaf blower does not make you a shitty person. A crappy one, yes. But not shitty.

It’s not the individuals who own leaf blowers who concern me; it’s the whole problem of Leaf Blower Culture that keeps me up at night (that, and the noise). This is not to say the leaf blower wielders are innocent however. It is their weakness that ruins things for the rest of us. But what flaw in our collective psyche allowed it get to this point?

The Human Flaw
The skull-rattling noise of leaf blowers is the real reason that people use them, I suspect. Far from being the biggest flaw, it’s actually what attracts these weak, pitiful souls to it, desperately wanting to make some impact in the world, wrongly or rightly.

Backpack leaf blowerAlthough commercial grade leaf blowers are spendy at around $500, a small consumer version can cost as little as 40 bucks (plus gas). Like SUVs, the relatively cheap price combined with the vibrant feeling of pure mechanical power gives consumers a drunken sense of maniacal glee.

A few hours after the purchase you can find many people softly, sickly laughing as they swirl the leaf blower around like a bloated magical wand, causing a small wind storm along with an incredible cacophonous noise heard blocks away. Screaming over the monstrous din, they dance through the lawn with their mechanical version of Voldemort’s wand spewing forth a steady stream of devilish noise and blustery fury. Somewhere deep in their gollum-like mind the voice of a mad-man rings loudly in their hollow hearts:

“HAHA!! Yes!! I am making those leaves flee before me! I am invincible with my precious blower! Cower before me, you stupid leaves! I’ll blow you clear across the lawn! MUAAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!!!”

He is no longer a balding and pot-bellied middle-aged suburban dad. He is Leafmancer the Majestic, master of all who cross his path. Dare ye to speak to him over the bilious noise of his quivering instrument of power? Nay, he will not hear your pleas. He does not concern himself with such trifles as your feelings. “Back off, before I blow you off!” he hisses in an inaudible whisper.

A Cost/Benefit Ratio Forrest Gump Could Deduce
This simple device encapsulates everything that is wrong with American culture from a social, environmental and technological standpoint. Let’s look at what a leaf blower does and it’s advantages versus disadvantages.

A leaf blower is basically a reverse vacuum cleaner. It blows instead of sucks. But what goal does it accomplish, what societal need does it address?

It replaces a rake.

That’s it. As far as I know, there is no other common use for a leaf blower than the function that is easily accomplished by the common rake, which can be purchased at hardware store for 20 bucks and requires no fuel or maintenance and operates nearly silently.

The leaf blower does its job extremely poorly — and it does so very loudly — yet people still flock to this useless, feeble technology.

5 guys with leaf blowers

To really drive this home, and be fair to leaf blowers, I will now list the advantages and disadvantages of this machine:

Leaf blower pros:

  • Slightly faster? Maybe, but I’ve seen workmen accomplish virtually nothing in an hour’s time, like a retarded monkey pushing around a box of sand
  • Some can suck up and mulch the leaves, but most people don’t have or use this functionality; the device is technically referred to as a “blower vac” in this capacity
  • Although they ostensibly reduce human energy output, using high-powered machines is somewhat difficult and still makes you sweaty. I don’t see many grannies using them

Leaf blower cons:

  • Loud as a fucking airplane
  • Expensive compared with a rake
  • Requires continual purchase of costly fossil fuels
  • Causes air pollution and leaves the stench of gasoline
  • Creates huge plumes of dust & debris, some of which can lodge themselves in your eye
  • Not as good at creating leaf piles as a rake
  • Heavier than a rake
  • Bulkier than a rake
  • Has moving parts and requires regular maintenance such as:
    • Cleaning or replacing the filters
    • Replacing the spark plugs
    • Cleaning the fan blades
    • Cleaning the air intake
    • etc. etc.
  • Doesn’t work without a fuel source yet still requires human control/power
  • If you’re using a leaf blower, you’re pissing off everybody around you

Meanwhile, a rake just fucking works. (Plus, it can be used to sneak up and attack people using leaf blowers.)

Leaf blower mouth

A Cultural Sickness that Reveals Our World’s Rotten Soul
Our world teeters on the edge of economic, environmental collapse and I’m worried about leaf blowers? Well yes, because if we think leaf blowers are a good idea then I weep for our noisy, pointless future. Why does our culture accept and use these technologically gimmicky bullshit tools when perfectly acceptable old-school tools exist? Is it sheer laziness or a delirious lust for auditory power? I’m afraid our leaf blower addiction reveals far more about our society than we would ever want to grok.

Corporate priorities tend to distort things. In recent years the idea that there’s a technological solution to every problem has been driven into the corporate drone’s head. He knows all his competitors are using leaf blowers. He thinks that a rake looks low-tech and that customers are more impressed with technology than simplicity. He expects a lawn care service company to show up with a trailer full of gas-powered goodies, all of which make an unholy racket. It’s part of our cultural expectations at this point: If you’re not making a shitload of noise, are you really doing anything?

Blame it on our Genes
Our monkey brains are helpless before the lure of shiny, noisy tools. If this is the best we can do, perhaps the world would be better off without us. Dolphins don’t have leaf blowers. When they enslave us, they will say it’s for our own good and they might actually be right. That’s what scares me. Still, rakes sit lonely and dust-covered in millions of garages, wondering, like some jilted lover, what it did to push us into the arms of that supercharged demon-mistress next to it. Will America remember the simple, subtle beauty of the common garden rake before it’s too late?

We could certainly use the exercise.

This is one cultural deficiency I can’t blame solely on the Oligarchy (although our elite-encouraged oil addiction is a contributing factor). It’s our own stupid lust for power that led us to this point. If we keep this up I’m gonna start cheering for the goddamn lizard people. Bring on the brainless zombies (armed with leaf blowers, of course).

C’mon, folks: Evolve already!

A Future Fraught with Free Leaves
I’m not the first person to complain about this plague; leaf blowers are illegal in several cities and people have bitched about them for decades. Yet, here we are in 2011 and they’re still fucking here.

The most ironic part is that leaves will win this battle in the end. Leaves will be blowing freely long after humanity has slit its own throat and withered, gurgling and gasping, into the heedless sands of history.

Are leaves such a horrible infestation that they must be removed from our urban green spaces? What about the incredible amount of noise and air pollution that is being added to the atmosphere in their place? We are truly a sick culture if we think this is an acceptable trade-off. I will risk the fucking leaves, thank you very much. Maybe our feral, wretched descendants will use them as currency.

The guy who invented the rake must be rolling in his fucking grave. He’s just lucky he can’t hear it when they blow the leaves off his gravestone.

Booo!! Hissssss!!!!

He said “socialism”! Socialism is evil! Socialism is kinda, vaguely, sorta like communism, and therefore bad!

Seriously, people. Grow the fuck up.

I’m just as much against government waste and intrusion as anybody on this planet. Read this blog; you will find pages upon pages of my ranting, most of it aimed at government stupidity and evil. But enough with the “socialism is evil” crap.

You hate socialism? Fine. But now that you’ve talked the talk you’d better walk the walk.

That means you anti-socialists will support the following minor changes to our way of life — because that’s what it takes to build a Socialism-free America:

  • Kill the Social Security program — Let grandma starve in the woods. Fuck her, she’s a leech on society. Get a job, grandma!!
  • Get rid of Medicaid/Medicare — Let’s say grandma manages to drag herself out of the woods and to the hospital. Laws require her to be treated, but guess what — you, her offspring, are stuck with the bill. Grandma needs an expensive operation and you can’t pay for it? Oh well, dig a hole.
  • Fire Department is now privately run — Just like in Roman times, if you can’t pay for the Fireman to put your fire out — up front — he just lets it burn. (Ayn Rand’s paradise exists Obion County, Tennessee.) Yay for capitalism!
  • Police Departments are disbanded — only private security firms exist, and only if you can afford to pay for them. Because the warlord system of Somalia worked so well, we decided to copy it! (I’m going to join the mafia!)
  • No Libraries – real Americans buy books, you commies!
  • Toll Roads everywhere — including right in front of your house. Wanna get to work in the morning? That’ll cost you 5 bucks. Highways are for the rich; the poor could take the bus, but since transit companies are government-subsidized they won’t exist in our socialism-free uptopia! No more subways either! Yay!
  • No public education system — are your kids going to public schools? Well not anymore, since there aren’t any! Public schools = socialism, kids! Now only the rich will be able to afford private education, while the poor youths will form gangs and wander the streets all day when they should be inside learning! And since there’s no cops there’s no one to stop them! Yay, the best of feudalism and gang-culture! You conservatives really know how to make a first-class utopia!

And thanks to our brave men and women in Congress, there’s already no public healthcare system clogging things up! Our present system works great, so long as you’re wealthy and healthy!

Isn’t this socialism-free utopia great, you guys?! No welfare, no healthcare, no roads, no cops, no firemen, no schools! Wow! It’s like heaven, but with gangs, death and disease in abundance instead of love and harmony! Yay! This is great! The taxes are so low, if I had a job I’d be making lots of money!

Thanks, conservatives! You’ve shown us the error of our ways. Now I know that the only true way to live is like the animals — kill or be killed! Might makes right! The Laws of the Jungle are more important than the Laws of God! Jesus said, “love your neighbor”, but what he meant was “only if your neighbor can reimburse you in cold, hard cash!” Hell, why not murder him and steal his property — he’d do the same to you. That’s what living in this anti-socialist nirvana is all about.

… sigh.

I’m honestly not a big fan of socialism. I lean libertarian, politically, but economic liberty is important too, and it can easily be corrupted by the rich, who then make social mobility more difficult for the poor/middle class. Socialism, regrettably, seems to be necessary for humans living in large, diverse communities. We shouldn’t have to sacrifice our political liberties to make the world a better place for all. But we may have to put a crimp on Goldman Sach’s ability to make shitloads of money off the taxpayers. Corporate welfare, mind you, I am 100% against!

Seriously, can we ascend above the 4th-grade style name-calling and trite platforms designed to generate much heat but no light? If you live in America, you already live in a quasi-socialist system. And I bet you enjoy your highways, libraries and schools, don’t you? Well, then you might as well embrace the socialism moniker, because to do otherwise would be hypocritical, childish and stupid. I’m sure the American conservative movement wouldn’t stoop to that, would they?

We need you, conservatives. We need you to stop playing games and start cutting deals. Your stupid anti-socialist crusades are fucking retarded and don’t stand up to a 5-second analysis. Try being constructive.

Unless we want to be a third-world country we’re going to need universal healthcare. Yes, it’s expensive, but by all measures, it’s less than what we pay now. I don’t understand how paying twice as much for a non-government run system is considered “efficient.” I think when people say that, they really mean “efficient for us rich folk.” That’s what it’s really about — protecting the rich (as if they were an endangered, cuddly baby seal or something). Couldn’t the rich muddle through somehow? Universal healthcare does not preclude a private healthcare system any more than public schools make private school impossible.

It will be okay. The sky won’t fall. We’ll just have less paperwork to fill out since the accounting/insurance snafu will no longer exist. Can’t we all get behind that slogan? Less paperwork, more healthcare. Is that too much to ask?

Probably.

Every now and then I come across a bad science article. And I come across badly done science with disturbing regularity — but today I found both in an article at NewScience.com.

It’s a “study” about why people believe “crazy” things like creationism and intelligent design. The authors of both the article and the study have barely bothered to mask their contempt and disdain for those who believe in anything other than cold, hard science.

But the science and written logic they bring to the table can be described as mushy branflakes at best. Check out the article and see if you can taste the bias. Here’s a sampler:

People continued to agree with false teleological statements, particularly those that endorsed an Earth intended for life.

I was not aware the debate over the beginning of our world was settled. Good to know you can administer a simple true/false test and call people who believe the earth was made for life “wrong”.

This is supposed to be science? It seems to be based on more assumptions than religion! [new readers: I don't believe in religion, but I don't believe evolution's reality settles the debate over our origins -v]

Either they’re trying to use trick questions or they don’t understand the nuance of language. This, for instance, is one of their “false” statements:

Mites live on skin to consume dead skin cells

Well… don’t they? The mites are better off living there than anywhere else. Where else would mites rather be?

The supposed scientists may have been grasping for “Mites exist only to remove our dead skin cells” but they utterly failed. And these people are claiming to be able to accurately and fairly judge me, my logical abilities and the validity of my beliefs??!!

Reminds me of this, more accurate, study.

This is also shoddy, biased journalism. I expect more from a mainstream publication like NewScience. Pro-atheism cheerleading is fine and good, but there’s a time and a place, just like we expect reporters to keep their Christian, Hindu or whatever views out of newscasts, we should expect the journalists over at NewScience and other consumer science outlets to do the same.

This is not an article so much as an attack on teleological thought, a legitimate philosophy of thought. Here’s what Wikipedia currently says about teleology:

A teleological school of thought is one that holds all things to be designed for or directed toward a final result, that there is an inherent purpose or final cause for all that exists.

As a school of thought it can be contrasted with metaphysical naturalism, which views nature as having no design or purpose. Teleology would say that a person has eyes because he has the need of eyesight (form following function), while naturalism would say that a person has sight because he has eyes (function following form).

A classic debate. Y vs. X and yet these supposed scientists are ready to throw telelogical thought under the bus without even investigating whether it might be right. Instead they’ve decided to do a sort of test to see if you think like a commie–..uh, er… “teleologist” in the hopes of one day “curing” it.

A first round of experiments suggested that adults make more teleological mistakes when pressed for time than when not. Yet Kelemen and Rosset also noticed that no matter how much time they had, test subjects tended to endorse false statements implying that the Earth is designed and maintained for life. [emphasis mine]

This is some of the most biased reporting I’ve ever seen, but it could be Ewen Callaway is just regurgitating what he was told. Then it would piss-poor reporting. But even more offensive to me as a rational person is the implicit goal laid bare in this study, which is clearly to find a way to eradicate teleological thought.

That’s the same kind of thinking that led to the Spanish Inquisition. We don’t need any more of that crap. These “scientists” need to learn how to take on their ideological opponents in an intellectual field of battle and quit trying to find ways to cow the populace into submission. If they have proof that the teleological school of thought is wrong, then they should firstly present it, then defend it.

Instead they use mouthpieces like NewScience, which I thought was a reputable publication, but now seems to be nothing more than a bloodbath battlefield between believers and nonbelievers. Here are some recent articles (among the most popular):

I guess it’s all about the page-views and contentious article bring in visitors galore. But then why not try and keep an editorially even hand and write balanced articles? There’s a good reason spiritually-minded folks often sound defensive in those forums. They know they’re being taunted — or else they wouldn’t be there, trying to explain deeply held beliefs to this generation’s most vicious nihilists.

What’s even more disturbing is that the atheists rarely stand up and say, “Hey, I agree, but let’s keep things respectful and balanced here.” Opinion Editor Amanda Gefter is particularly over-the-top. Here’s a typical passage:

Misguided interpretations of quantum physics are a classic hallmark of pseudoscience, usually of the New Age variety, but some religious groups are now appealing to aspects of quantum weirdness to account for free will. Beware: this is nonsense.

Free will has been debated for many millennia, but dear old Amanda won’t let us even consider the possibility that… what, quantum physics might be involved somehow? How the hell does she know? She clearly doesn’t because she chose ridicule over reason and neglected to back up her claims. If I print out the Wikipedia article on Free Will, it’s over 20 pages, but Ms. Gefter dismisses it with a warning: Beware!! Don’t read any further or you might turn into a commi- er, I mean “creationist!”

This is all about attacking the philosophical underpinnings of the opponents of strong-atheism, whom include religious folks, anti-religion/pro-metaphysics people like me, and many agnostics and weak-atheists.

It’s sad that people can’t find any common ground on this issue. It’s one of the most pressing of our times, especially with the growt
h of atheism in the young and urban. But it’s still a religious discussion and I remain somewhat aghast that a publication like NewScience would stoop to taking sides in the culture wars. Are they about to fold and need every page-view they can get?

I’d be more likely to read them in the future if they displayed a little more objectivity.

As for the “scientists” who are out to “cure” creationists or anybody who entertains metaphysical thoughts, well, I guess we’d better keep our eyes on them before they try to beat Religion’s high score in the killing game. Studying ways to eradicate thought that doesn’t conform with the scientific establishment’s is really beyond the pale.

I don’t think most atheists think this way. Certainly there is some bitterness about Christianity, the dominant religion in my culture, but few would actually seek to destroy it. They just don’t want fundamentalist Christians (like those that infested the Bush administration) enforcing prayer in schools, Intelligent Design in schools (ID should be in schools — the Philosophy Department) and various faith-based activities.

Totally understandable. But let’s make sure that we don’t end up with the mirror image as humanity gives up its superstitious beliefs. We don’t need fundamentalist atheists running amok any more than we need fundamentalist Muslims or Christians in charge. The extremists are the problem, and they hurt whichever side they are arguing for. Please, people, look for common ground in the culture wars!

Go in peace / Science be praised

This story is too ironic for comment:

After Sony BMG supplied a pirated license code for Ideal Migration, one of PointDev’s products, the software maker was able to mandate a seizure of Sony BMG’s assets. The subsequent raid revealed that software was illegally installed on four of Sony BMG’s servers. The Business Software Alliance, however, believes that up to 47 percent of the software installed on Sony BMG’s computers could be pirated.

These are some pretty serious—not to mention ironic—allegations against a company that’s gone so far as to install malware on consumers’ computers in the name of preventing piracy.

Read the whole article.

The pyramid scheme that is our economy is teetering on the brink of collapse. The subprime loan disaster is looking more and more like the detanator that will nuke the dollar, the banking industry and our economy as a whole.

When US homeowners default on their mortgages en-mass, they destroy money faster than the Fed can replace it through normal channels. The result is a liquidity crisis which deflates asset prices and reduces monetized wealth, says economist Henry Liu.

The debt-securitization process is in a state of collapse. The market for structured investments, MBSs, CDOs, and Commercial Paper—has evaporated leaving the banks with astronomical losses. They are incapable of rolling over their their short-term debt or finding new revenue streams to buoy them through the hard times ahead. As the foreclosure-avalanche intensifies; bank collateral continues to be down-graded which is likely to trigger a wave of bank failures.

Henry Liu sums it up like this: Proposed government plans to bail out distressed home owners can slow down the destruction of money, but it would shift the destruction of money as expressed by falling home prices to the destruction of wealth through inflation masking falling home value. (The Road to Hyperinflation, Henry Liu, Asia Times) It’s a vicious cycle. The Fed is caught between the dual millstones of hyperinflation and mass defaults. There’s no way out.

We are so fucked.

Unless somebody has a new economic system waiting in the wings I’ll have to start learning how to survive on rats, rabbits, squirrels … and probably human flesh at this rate. And that is not my idea of a good time.

The worst part is the feeling of helplessness. I can only watch these “financial experts” make one stupid decision after another. They’re only really experts at making themselves massive short-term profits. They don’t care about the damage they’ve done to the economy, which affects all of us.

The whole affair is depressing and maddening, but if you want to learn more, visit the Market Oracle.

As for me, I’ll be learning to hunt small suburban mammals.

Indict the Media

If I could indict the Media, I would. They need to be brought up on charges. From lying to protect power, shying away from truth, manipulating elections, to corroding our minds with pointless trash, Big Media has a lot of answer for.

But don’t take it from me. Take it from John Hockenberry, former Dateline NBC reporter. Here’s a few nuggets:

Entertainment programs often took on issues that would never fly on Dateline. On a Thursday night, ER could do a story line on the medically uninsured, but a night later, such a “downer policy story” was a much harder sell. In the time I was at NBC, you were more likely to hear federal agriculture policy discussed on The West Wing, or even on Jon Stewart, than you were to see it reported in any depth on Dateline.

Yeah, hard news sure is a “downer”, but you know what? Life sucks, get a fucking helmet. Put it on the goddamn news, NBC!

Hockenberry tackles GE’s acquisition of NBC next, and the bizarre consequences of a company like GE trying to make news the same way it makes lightbulbs or turbines. Six Sigma is a form of quality control popular in the manufacturing sector:

While Six Sigma’s goal-oriented blather and obsession with measuring everything was jarring, it was also weirdly familiar, inasmuch as it was strikingly reminiscent of my college Maoism I class. Mao seemed to be a good model for Jack Welch and his Six Sigma foot soldiers; Six Sigma’s “Champions” and “Black Belts” were Mao’s “Cadres” and “Squad Leaders.”

Finding such comparisons was how I kept from slipping into a coma during dozens of NBC employee training sessions where we were told not to march in political demonstrations of any kind, not to take gifts from anyone, and not to give gifts to anyone. At mandatory, hours-long “ethics training” meetings we would watch in-house videos that brought all the drama and depth of a driver’s-education film to stories of smiling, swaggering employees (bad) who bought cases of wine for business associates on their expense accounts, while the thoughtful, cautious employees (good) never picked up a check, but volunteered to stay at the Red Roof Inn in pursuit of “shareholder value.”

To me, the term “shareholder value” sounded like Mao’s “right path,” although this was not something I shared at the employee reëducation meetings. As funny as it seemed to me, the idea that GE was a multinational corporate front for Maoism was not a very widespread or popular view around NBC. It was best if any theory that didn’t come straight from the NBC employee manual (a Talmudic tome that largely contained rules for using the GE credit card, most of which boiled down to “Don’t”) remained private.

I did, however, point out to the corporate-integrity people unhelpful details about how NBC News was covering wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that our GE parent company stood to benefit from as a major defense contractor. I wondered aloud, in the presence of an integrity “team leader,” how we were to reconcile this larger-scale conflict with the admonitions about free dinners. “You make an interesting point I had not thought of before,” he told me. “But I don’t know how GE being a defense contractor is really relevant to the way we do our jobs here at NBC news.” Integrity, I guess, doesn’t scale.

No, I guess it doesn’t. That might be inconvenient. It might even be considered a defect.

Those “reëducation meetings” were for people like Hockenberry. Occasionally a reporter grows a brain or a spine and those “defects” have to be dealt with. Usually, the best way is to drum him out of the company using boredom and inanity. Chairman Mao would’ve simply had him shot, but murder is expensive and doesn’t enhance shareholder value. Ah, how humanity has evolved!

Next, Hockenberry cleverly tries to use the octopus to strangle itself, but probably only managed to get a negative mark on his next performance evaluation.

But GE had long done business with the bin Ladens. In a misguided attempt at corporate synergy, I called GE headquarters in Fairfield, CT, from my hotel room in Riyadh. I inquired at the highest level to see whether, in the interest of bringing out all aspects of an important story for the American people, GE corporate officers might try to persuade the bin Ladens to speak with Dateline while we were in the kingdom. I didn’t really know what to expect, but within a few hours I received a call in my hotel room from a senior corporate communications officer who would only read a statement over the phone. It said something to the effect that GE had an important, long-standing, and valuable business relationship with the Bin Laden Group and saw no connection between that relationship and what Dateline was trying to do in Saudi Arabia. He wished us well. We spoke with no bin Laden family member on that trip.

While, there’s no proof that this stunt helped get Hockenberry fired, it probably didn’t help.

So what’s a guy who likes emerging media and a hard-hitting story supposed to do? Stay the fuck away from the MSM, that’s what. So that’s what he did.

Ladies and gentleman, I have just read the stupidest article ever written. It was awful. So awful I can hardly think; in fact, I think I just lost 5 IQ points… which still puts me 130 ahead of the author of the shittiest, most servile, most idiotic article ever written.

His name is John Cloud and he masquerades as a journalist for Time magazine. He has apparently managed to learn how to read and write, but I have no idea how given his feeble mental faculties.

Many of you may have already read this article, but I just found it today as I was catching up on some reading. Here I am, flipping through Time and I see a story called “The Psychology of Hypocrisy” which is about the recent Republican sex scandals, including Larry “Wide Stance” Craig, the homo-hating Senator from Idaho.

Cloud takes them to task, right? He presents an in-depth analysis of how the perverted mind of sanctimonious fucks like Larry Craig works, right?

No. The “article” is a six paragraph defense of hypocrites like Craig. Cloud claims — with a straight face — that poor Craig is a victim! A victim of his own “moral weakness” and not a hypocrite at all!

The real bad guys — of course — are the evil bloggers and their readers who have tormented poor Larry and his “friends”.

For a legion of bloggers, what’s so delectable about these stories is the apparent hypocrisy, the dissonance between the outwardly conservative politics of these men and their private same-sex behavior. But while these guys may be liars–Craig’s “wide stance” inanity has already entered the world-historical lexicon of political b.s.–it’s not clear that they are conniving hypocrites.

It’s “not clear”? It’s not fucking clear that they’re hypocrites?! If you’re deaf, dumb, blind and live on Mars it might not be clear, but if you have half a fucking brain you know they’re hypocrites! Shit, even the Republicans know that, but Mr. John Cloud is far stupider than a Republican. He’s a Vichy Democrat; you know the kind: The Hillary-voting kind who would let Bush attack Iran with no justification whatsoever. Republicans may be evil, but at least I can respect them; the Vichy Democrats are contemptible, spineless weasels who aren’t worth a pint of warm piss.

Hypocrisy is among the most universal and well-studied of psychological phenomena, and the research suggests that Craig, Haggard and the others may be guilty not so much of moral hypocrisy as moral weakness. The distinction may sound trivial at first, but as a society, we tend to forgive the weak and shun the hypocritical.

Trivial? No, the distinction is utterly fallacious and disingenuous. It makes me think he knows he’s full of shit.

John Cloud is the perfect example of a sell-out journalist hack. He afflicts the afflicted and comforts the comfortable because he’s a boot-licking shill for his corporate masters and has no soul left. Real journalists do the reverse, of course, but I’m not expecting that much from Mr. Cloud. Just a lucid thought or two would impress me at this point.

Assume for a moment that Craig and Haggard actually believed what they said–that homosexuality is sin. They spent most of their lives fighting for the conservative cause. But in Craig’s case, the Idaho Statesman has published allegations that there were at least three other slipups involving men, beginning in 1967. What if, like the radio host who gets fat but commits to losing weight, the moralizers were trying through their “pro-family” endeavors to expiate their lustful sins?

Let me explain this to Mr. Cloud as succinctly as possible since we might be looking at a buffer-overflow if I use to many big words: If you go around saying homosexuality is immoral and a sin while you’re secretly engaging in homosexual activity then you are a hypocrite! End of story. How hard is this to understand?

I certainly agree that people should be forgiven for most moral failures, but this is not just a “slipup.” Maybe Cloud “accidentally” fucks other men in the ass so he and Craig are kindred, klutzy spirits, but most of us do not have that problem (throughout the article Cloud implies homosexuality is indeed a moral failure). But it’s clear that this is a pattern in Larry Craig’s life, going back, at least to 1967.

Here’s a thought: If you have a “moral failing” that leads you to accidentally get blowjobs from other men, maybe you shouldn’t get on a stage and tell people that homosexuality is sinful behavior that only degenerates and Democrats engage in! Maybe if Larry Craig didn’t want to be a hypocrite he could have, I dunno, NOT RUN FOR SENATOR????!!! Maybe he could have (just a thought here) NOT DEMONIZED HOMOSEXUALS AT EVERY FUCKING OPPORTUNITY FOR 40 YEARS!!!!!??

…Just a thought. Clearly, it’s one that John Cloud didn’t think of while he was standing in line at men’s room outside of Larry Craig’s office. Maybe this is all a closeted homosexual thing and cognitive dissonance has set in, but I kind of doubt it. I think it’s more likely that John Cloud is an intellectual whore and his opinions are up for auction to the highest bidder. But even that is charitable. Worst case: the guy really is as stupid as I’ve been saying.

You may think they are wrong about homosexuality (I do), but that doesn’t make them hypocrites.

No, John, they are hypocrites, and no amount of waffling on your part will disguise that. In fact, they are textbook hypocrites.

Hey, I know! Why don’t I consult a “dictionary” (it’s a book where words are defined, Mr. Cloud). Here’s Merriam-Webster’s definition of hypocrite:

1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

Hmmm…. “false appearance of virtue” … does that sound like Mr. Larry “wide stance” Craig?

Craig never said anything like, “Homosexuality is wrong and immoral, but I am not a perfect man. Indeed, sometimes I like to head down to public bathrooms near my house and solicit gay men for sex.” Nope, Larry Craig always implied that he was a paragon of (hetero) virtue. How else do you get elected Senator in a red state?

Clearly, the man has acted in contradiction to his stated beliefs. It’s right there in black & white, but John Cloud is intent on casting a cloud of confusion over the matter when this is probably one of the most clear-cut, bald-faced acts of hypocrisy (that we know about) in modern politics. Only Mark Foley can hold a candle to Larry Craigs hypocrisy.

Is there anybody out there who isn’t convinced that what I’ve described is hypocrisy? Is there anybody out there who actually agrees with John Cloud that poor Larry and Mark are victims of a cruel and fickle public?

How is it that I, a lowly, potty-mouthed, mudslinging blogger was able to tear into this article with such ease? No doubt others have already done the same; how did Cloud’s piece of shit article get past his editor? Do they not have dictionaries at Time headquarters? Budget cutbacks, perhaps?

It makes me wonder if stupidity is actually valued in the mainstream press because stupid people will never investigate how the Corporate Oligarchy r
eally works. Everybody knows what goes on in Washington… Or do we? Without better reporters than John Cloud the Clown we’ll never know for sure.

So what of Mr. Cloud, then? How did this idiot manage to write the stupidest article ever written? Was it training? Nature? Nurture? Luck?

Who cares; the man is a fucking moron. What amazes me is that this guy is a journalist at a mainstream publication and they haven’t canned his ass yet. How fucking stupid can you be and still keep your job? Near as I can tell John Cloud has only one person in serious contention with him for that award and his name is George.

Then again, maybe both of them were chosen for their stupidity, rather than in spite of it. I guess, in both cases, the joke is on us: The morons are in control and livin’ the good life while the rest of us suffer like fools under their mindless tyrrany.

Life’s not just unfair … it’s fucking stupid. Maliciously so.

The intellectual cowards over at the head office of the St. Thomas University adminstration should be ashamed. They have shown themselves to be contemptible weaklings without the guts or the will to hear viewpoints they may disagree with. And this institution is supposed to be a vanguard of academic freedom? For shame.

What am I talking about? I’m referring to St. Thomas’ recent decision to withhold an invitation to Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

St. Thomas never invited Tutu to speak, but declined to approve an invitation as part of the PeaceJam, an event the school has hosted for the past four years. PeaceJam officials have now arranged to have the South African archbishop and activist speak at its April event, which will be held at Metropolitan State University.

St. Thomas officials said that local Jewish leaders they consulted felt that Tutu had made remarks offensive to the Jewish people in a 2002 speech about Israeli policy toward the Palestinians.

Columbia University just made St. Thomas look like a bunch of backwater bush-league pussies. Nobody likes Ahmadinejad; that’s not the point. The point is the free exchange of ideas. If you don’t like what somebody says you don’t try to censor them, you use your freedom of speech to elucidate your opposition to said ideas. The president of Columbia, Lee Bollinger, may have been a dick to Ahmadinejad, but at least he let the motherfucker speak. St. Thomas’ president, the Rev. Dennis Dease, won’t even let a fellow man of the cloth on campus. What a fucking pussy.

His lame-ass excuse “Teh Joos don’t like one speech he made dis one time!” is full of shit. What he means is “Some extreme-rightwing Zionist oppressor Jews don’t want nobody talking shit about the way they fuck over A-rabs in Palestine.” There, fixed it for you, Dease. (You can suck dees nuts)

In fact, Dease has been getting a lot of mail from Jewish groups saying, “Let this guy speak! We’re not anti-free speech! Why’d you listen to those assholes?!” [[ I'm paraphrasing in case you haven't noticed ]]

So, you might be wondering what crazy-ass shit this Tutu guy was spewing that pissed off the hard-right fascist/zionist types. Well, he said the most offensive thing you can possibly say to a warmonger: “Peace is possible.”

Israeli Jew, Palestinian Arab can live amicably side by side in a secure peace. And, as Cannon Ateek kept underscoring, a secure peace built on justice and equity. These two peoples are God’s chosen and beloved, looking in their face back to a common ancestor Abraham and confessing belief in the one creator God of salaam and shalom.

Oh man, that is some whack shit! Who let this guy in here?

Then he reveals his true hatred for teh Joos:

I give thanks for all that I have received as a Christian from the teachings of God’s people the Jews. When we were opposing the vicious system of apartheid, which claimed that what invested people with worth was a biological irrelevance – skin color – we turned to the Jewish Torah, which asserted that what gave people their infinite worth was the fact that they were created in the image of God.

He calls teh Joos “God’s people.” We’re clearly dealing with a loose cannon here, folks.

Seriously, that’s what the whole speech is like. He criticizes the occupation of Palestinian lands, but he clearly has problems with the Israeli government, not the Jewish people.

I with many other Nobel Peace Laureates. I, after taking counsel with the then Bishop of Jerusalem, am a member of the Board of the Shimon Peres peace center in Tel Aviv. I am a patron of the Holocaust center in Capetown. I believe that Israel has a right to secure borders, internationally recognized, in a land assured of territorial integrity and with acknowledged sovereignty as an independent country. That the Arab nations made a bad mistake in refusing to recognize the existence of sovereign and in pledging to work for her destruction. It was a short sighted policy that led to Israel’s nervousness, her high state of alert and military preparedness to guarantee her continued existence. This was understandable. What was no so understandable, what was not justifiable was what Israel did to another people to guarantee her existence. I have been very deeply distressed in all my visits to the Holy Land, how so much of what was taking place there reminded me so much of what used to happen to us Blacks in Apartheid South Africa.

This guy sees echoes of Apartheid in Israel. He was there. He expresses viewpoints not too far from middle-of-the-road Democrats in America. When did expressing disagreement with a foreign government become a censorable offense? Oh that’s right; when you’re a boot-licking fascist who wants to kiss the ass of future dictator George Bush. I guess Dease thinks he can become the Tsar of Education under a future King George. (Or whatever. Maybe he’s just a fucking idiot, I don’t know.)

The scary thing here is not the shoddy treatment of a Nobel laureate. He’ll speak on another campus, one not controlled by Nazis. He’ll be fine. No, the scary thing here is how incredibly fucking normal, sane and mainstream his ideas are. If this is how a Nobel laureate is treated by The Powers That Be, how are the rest of the us going to be treated when the other jackboot falls and we’re under martial law? Tutu’s beliefs are almost exactly in line with mainstream Democrats, Independents and even many Republicans. The main difference is that he’s an archbishop, an Apatheid survivor and a international icon.

Where the fuck does that leave the rest of us?

This blog is your leading pants-related resource. Okay, so this is the first time I’ve blogged about pants, but dammit, with a name like Electric Monkey Pants I better have some pants turf staked out, ya heard?

The Threat
Okay, so some uptight folks are trying to introduce stringent pants regulations when we don’t even have decent electronic voting regulations. I guess it’s easier to legislate against somebody who can’t fight back. Pretty much everybody who wears saggy pants is not in a position to pass laws, which is probably part of why they’re wearing the damn saggy-ass pants in the first place.

Check out this article in the Trib:

Proposals to ban saggy pants are starting to ride up in several places. At the extreme end, wearing pants low enough to show boxers or bare buttocks in one small Louisiana town means six months in jail and a $500 fine. A crackdown also is being pushed in Atlanta. And in Trenton, getting caught with your pants down may soon result in not only a fine, but a city worker assessing where your life is headed.

“Are they employed? Do they have a high school diploma? It’s a wonderful way to redirect at that point,” said Trenton Councilwoman Annette Lartigue, who is drafting a law to outlaw saggy pants. “The message is clear: We don’t want to see your backside.”

The bare-your-britches fashion is believed to have started in prisons, where inmates aren’t given belts with their baggy uniform pants to prevent hangings and beatings. By the late ’80s, the trend had made it to gangster rap videos, then went on to skateboarders in the suburbs and high school hallways.

I didn’t know that shit started in prison, but it makes sense: That’s where our (mostly minority) youth are spending a lot of time these days because of insane, pointless drug laws and a prison-state mentality, with GW as the crooked warden.

It’s worth noting that black people face harsher, less forgiving punishments from our draconian drug laws even though the percentage of white & black teens using pot is almost the same.

Shop owner Mack Murray said Trenton’s proposed ordinance unfairly targets blacks.

“Are they going to go after construction workers and plumbers, because their pants sag, too?” Murray asked. “They’re stereotyping us.”

The American Civil Liberties Union agrees.

“In Atlanta, we see this as racial profiling,” said Benetta Standly, statewide organizer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. “It’s going to target African-American male youths. There’s a fear with people associating the way you dress with crimes being committed.”

A Few Questions
There are some questions that popped into my head after reading this story. Let me try to answer them as they come:

Are these laws targeted at blacks? Almost certainly.

Are saggy pants a real problem? Fuck no, it’s mostly a fear-based response by legislators who are terrified of their own kids.

Will there be more laws like this? Of course. Like I said, those wearing saggy pants are generally not in a position to legislate back.

Are these laws going after a deeper problem? Yes, but they’re attacking the symptoms rather than the core issues. The real problem is that our society requires an underclass to clean our toilets, mow our enormous lawns and serve us our drinks.

The Racial Divide
If you’re a rich, white person who has his or her Harvard graduation date marked on the calendar from the day you’re born, you probably have no idea why someone would hang around in the ‘hood all day selling drugs, listening to that “crunk” and sagging your damn pants.

Well guess what, elitists?! They don’t fucking want to live in the ‘hood and sell drugs to get by, but what other options do they have? Are you gonna hire’em? They’re not like you, are they? They speak differently and they have weird customs like the way they sag their pants. (OMG!)

Sagging pants are a way of fighting back against the uptight culture that demands conformity even as it espouses the (vague, far-off) concept of “freedom”. They look ridiculous precisely because that’s the goal. If it pisses off whitebread America, it’s cool. As a way of fighting against the system it’s pretty feeble, but that proves my larger point that the underclass has no other options available to them.

For my part, I would encourage people not to sag too low simply because it becomes hard to run from the cops when you’re sagging down to your ankles. Am I gonna create a law to fight this scourge? Fuck no; I would repeal laws, starting with our drug laws, which seem designed to permanently disenfranchise our poverty-stricken youth. The upper class can buy their kids out of jailtime, but if you’re living in the ‘hood you probably can’t afford Johnnie Cochran.

Black people are especially fucked these days since the elite is coming down on them harder than ever while the Mexicans are coming across the border anxious to take their jobs, eager to be the new underclass. Shit, due to this competition among the disadvantaged, rich people now get to watch labor costs drop even more than they dared dream; meaning they can get their landscaping done cheaply than before (“yay, Capitalism!”). Of course, that cheap landscaping doesn’t pay enough to enable the workers to buy a house and become citizens. Nope; gonna send that money back home (where things are just as stratified by race and class).

The Class Divide
Ah, race and class. Two things Americans hate to talk about, yet the problem stares us in the face every day. Who’s washing those dishes in the restaurant after dinner? Who’s cleaning those toilets? Instead of paying a living wage and giving the underclass a hand up so that they can join the middle class we seem to be focused on keeping them down.

Then we blame them for their position, as if it was all their fault.

The truth is that America wants an underclass. We need it. We need somebody to do the crappy jobs that nobody wants because we’re unwilling to pay a fair wage to the people who break their bodies doing hard physical labor. In many ways slavery, or at least some of the ideas that fed it, carries on today in that the rich like to set up pyramids with themselves at the top. If you’re gonna be on top of a pyramid, that means many, many more people have to be on the bottom, and (most important) you have to prevent them from getting up to the top.

The pyramid theory of society has been tried many times and it always fails. Weren’t we trying something new in America? Weren’t we trying to level the playing field and give everybody a shot? Somehow that got lost as the rich set up their system of control so that a free people became bonded by economic manipulation far beyond their control.

Political freedom means nothing if you have to work all the time just to keep food in your belly. What the underclass wants is economic freedom. It may be too late since the rich already control everything of value. What’s left but revolution?

We Know Best
If sagging pants are our biggest problem we should consider ourselves lucky. Surely there’s more important things to consider, but these laws against clothing point to some deeper issues. So, should we ban those baggy pants?

I’ll tell you what: We can ban saggy-ass pants if those who like their pants baggy also get to pass a few rules and regulations of their own. I foresee an ordinance that requires people wearing suits to loosen those ties. After all, if you wear your tie too tight you risk cutting off the circulation to your brain, leading to an increase of shitty laws like this one.

Some Mornings are Death Metal Mornings

Have you ever had a Death Metal Morning™? It’s when you need a fix of super-loud, super-fast death metal in the morning when most sane people are listening to light music to slowly wake the hell up.

As I was pulling out of my driveway this morning I couldn’t find anything decent on the radio so I switched to a CD Andy gave me – Nile. I figured it might be a death metal morning. Boy was I right.

Not three seconds after putting on the CD I turned onto a road not more than 100 feet from my house and was nearly driven right off the road by a vehicle coming at me at extreme speed.

This is a neighborhood, mind you. Kids are all over the place around here, and this street was a residential road (one lane in each direction) with a speed limit of 30 mph, which most people actually follow. Not dumbshit though. She/he was going at least 50 miles an hour. Although the car was coming right at me I managed to make it up to 30 before they caught up to me. You’d think we’d be cool, right?

No. Dumbfuck swerves and passes me, crossing the double yellow line (no passing) and into oncoming traffic (there was none. This is a quiet neighborhood…or it was) and gives me the finger as if this is all somehow my fault.

No way, muthafucker. Not in my neighborhood. So I follow the little bitch and lay on the horn. We come up to a stoplight and we have to wait at least 30 seconds, thus negating any time dumbshit might’ve saved by speeding 50+ mph in a residential zone.

Muthafucker should be thanking Jesus I didn’t have a fucking baseball bat in my car or there would’ve been trouble. She/he would’ve seen a well-dressed office drone jump out of his car with a bat and death metal blaring. I would’ve proceeded to beat the fuck out of his/her nice-ass SUV (of course it was an SUV) while screaming, “Not in my neighborhood, MUTHERFUCKER!!!” repeatedly. It would’ve been quite a sight.

Luckily, I don’t have a baseball bat in my car, but life is a mosh pit and I’m thinking about getting one. We live in a death metal world and if you’re not ready to fight back you’re gonna get your face stepped on.

Nile, by the way, is perfect for working through a spasm of rage in the morning. It truly was a Death Metal Morning™.

Proving once again that they value partisanship over America, freedom and informed debate, the sellout hacks at DailyKos have “warned” anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan that if she posts more about her independent candidacy she will be banned.

I can’t post here anymore because my potential run for Congress is not on the Democratic ticket.

If Speaker Pelosi does her constitutionally mandated duty and I don’t run, then I can come back and post.

DailyKos is shameful. The site is bathed in hypocrisy and founded on partisanship.

The two-party system has destroyed America and put us in the current mess, and DailyKos and other Yellow Dog Democrats are part of the problem. They care about Democrats first and America second (just as the Republicans look after themselves first and America… well, okay they don’t care about America at all).

That said, there is still some hope that Pelosi is just being strategic, but where has trusting the Democrats to hold Republicans accountable got us so far? I can see Cindy’s point; what’s the purpose of having the Democrats in charge of Congress if they won’t impeach? 50% of the nation is pro-impeachment (46% for Bush, 58% for Cheney) and the Democrats aren’t even talking about it. Once the real investigations start and we find some dirt the numbers will go higher. But will the Democrats have the balls to do it?

Only if it doesn’t harm their precious party, or the two-party system.

Ironically, many DailyKos regulars are the best enemies Bush could hope for: weak, timid, divided and fucking stupid. They proceed with undue caution and fret that attacking Bush could make them look like big meanies. They make excuses rather than try and build a consensus on impeachment, and they are far more concerned about their electoral chances in 2008 than in actually holding the illegal Bush/Cheney administration accountable. In short, they are Bush’s enablers.

Sheehan gets points in my book for being against the Federal Reserve, which many Kossacks think is a Republican position (it’s not), so, unthinkingly, they reject it like the fucking mindless borg shitheads that they are.

Opposition to the Fed is generally an independent position (Ron Paul is the exception here, but he’s so hated by his own party that I think it only strengthens my point), and is generally the province of informed, independent-minded folks who don’t follow marching orders of the Washington establishment oligarchy.

The sad truth is the there’s nothing progressive about DailyKos; it’s about as regressive and unimaginative as you can get. These people are too wrapped up in the sports team mentality (“Gooooo Dems!”) to realize that their party is as much a part of the fascist oligarchy as the Republicans.

DailyKos is decidedly mainstream, and worships at the altar of pragmatism, not freedom, liberty, or truth. Their only goal is victory (and they admit as much), although they still like to pretend to be anti-establishment nothing could be further from the truth. When Kos casts himself as a revolutionary, he doesn’t mean to change the system. He merely wants to sieze control it and use it for his own selfish aims… Just like everybody else in politics.

The Democrats, for their part, have accomplished exactly nothing in Congress. Not that Bush would sign their reform bills anyway, but isn’t that all the more reason to impeach the stonewalling, lying, election-stealing fascist bastards? Apparently not.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There’s only one party — The Business Party, and Democrats and Republicans are merely factions of that monolithic party. We don’t live in a democracy, we live in a constitutional republic that is quickly shedding the “constitutional” part for fascism instead. And what are the Democrats doing to stop it? About as much as they’re doing to stop the war: Nothing but a few bellicose speeches for the choir.

Still, the Kossacks will continue to support the Dems, no matter what. Blind loyalty is their modus operandi and they show no signs of changing it. So, how are they any different from the Republicans who support Bush no matter how many laws he breaks?

Partisans on both sides are the same. They all think it’s okay to break a few rules in order to achieve their party’s higher goals. What’s best for America doesn’t enter into it.