Monday, April 30, 2007

Your Only Choices Are Fear and Paranoia

I’m glad my job doesn’t involve updating online content.

Because apparently, updating online content is a high-pressure occupation where you don’t have time to think about what you’re doing or if it even makes sense. Apparently there’s an online content supervisor riding your ass constantly, screaming “If you can’t make that survey go live in five seconds, I’ll find someone who can!”

That’s the only explanation I can think of for the survey I just saw at MSNBC.com.

The survey accompanies a story about 18-year-old Allen Lee, a high school senior in Cary, Illinois. Lee carried a 4.2 GPA and had never been in trouble before, but when he wrote an essay for his English class that his teacher and principal considered too violent, he was charged with disorderly conduct.

Yeah. They turned his essay over to the police and the police turned it over to the McHenry County DA, and the McHenry County DA—who must not have a lot to do—decided they’d better bring charges against this dangerous writer. Lee now faces the possibility of a $1500 fine and 30 days in jail.

Folks, the thought-police are here. You missed the announcement because there wasn’t one.

According to the AP story, the teacher who assigned the essay told her students to “be creative,” and that there wouldn’t be any judgment or censorship. She might have forgotten to tell the class that she reserved the right to freak the hell out and have people arrested, but, you know, jeez, you can’t remember everything. There’s a paragraph from Lee’s essay in the news story, and yeah, it contains some violent images. But if the whole thing is as obviously tongue-in-cheek as the sample paragraph, there are some extremely unqualified judges of both creative writing and human psychology in the Cary-Grove School District.

In any event, Lee was a Marine recruit who was looking forward to joining the Corps after graduation, but after his arrest, the Marines released him from his contract. They didn’t want him writing anything naughty about our enemies.

The teacher and the principal weren’t the only ones getting off on their paranoid adrenaline rush. Tom Carroll, an assistant DA for McHenry County, said that “in light of recent events…that makes the reaction all the more reasonable.”

Note to Mr Carroll: The reaction was not reasonable in any sense of the word. Even if Lee had exhibited the same psychoses as the Virginia Tech shooter (which he didn’t), the reasonable reaction would be to prescribe some counseling and some rather intense observation. Writing is not disorderly conduct in any context.

Now, back to the harried online survey writer I mentioned at the beginning of this post. This is the exact wording of the MSNBC.com survey:

Should students face legal action for submitting violent writings in class?
• Yes, such writings must be dealt with severely, especially after the Virginia Tech massacre.
• No, students who submit such writings need help, not jail time.

Those were the only choices! No option for “No, creative writing is never against the law,” or “No, you can’t assume a correlation between violent writing and violent behavior,” or “No, this is a dumbass question that assumes the respondents have bought in to the very culture of fear and paranoia that mass media outlets have been instrumental in propagating.”

Idiots.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Sensitive Mr Rove

By now everyone’s heard about Karl Rove’s boorish behavior toward Sheryl Crow and Laurie David after they attempted to engage him in a conversation about global warming at the White House Correspondents Dinner. I don’t know what part of Rove’s public persona had accidentally given Crow and David the impression that he was accessible and open-minded, but I suppose it was worth a shot.

According to Laurie David, Rove “immediately got combative [and] launched into a series of illogical arguments.” Later, when Crow touched Rove’s arm to get his attention and continue the conversation, he snapped at her: “Don’t touch me!” And when she said “You can’t talk to us like that—you work for us,” he snarled “I don’t work for you—I work for the American people.” (How out-of-touch is an administration that thinks the American people it works for are part of some sort of abstract theory and not actual people?)

Anyway, I get a kick out of any story that shows Rove to be a rotten human being as well as a worthless public servant. Every little bit helps.

* * *

I was going to try to work the phrase “Machiavellian mofo” into this post, but it didn’t work. Feel free to use it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Conditional Omnipresence

This is the expanded version of a comment I posted at another blog. It’s based on a t-shirt that’s popular with people who want desperately to believe they’re being persecuted.

Dear God,
Why is there so much violence in schools?

Concerned Student

Dear Concerned Student,
I’m not allowed in school.
God

Dear God,
I thought you were all omnipotent and omnipresent and whatnot.
Student


Dear Student,
Oh, I’m one all-powerful mofo when the Dobsons and the Falwells and the Hovinds of the world need somebody to create an entire freakin universe in less than a week. But when they go into “poor persecuted us” mode, I’m a wimpy little deity who can’t get past a second-grade hall monitor.
God

Dear God,
Now I’m confused.
Student


Dear Student,
Sorry. I should have made it more clear that I was joking in my first letter. You think anybody tells me where I can and can’t go? As if! I’m everywhere, man! I’m in the schools, I’m in your house, I’m in the emergency box of condoms in Newt Gingrich’s glove compartment! Nobody gives me permission to go anywhere, baby, because I’m already there.
The G

Dear God,
So why IS there so much violence in schools?
Student


Dear Student,
Well, not to get all philosophical on you, but you’re arguing from a false premise. Anytime some armed-to-the-teeth headcase snaps is one time too many, but if you look at the percentages, you can see it’s still a very rare occurrence. Of course, it’s easy to be misled by the round-the-clock news coverage. I think those people must really get off on scaring people.
God

Dear God,
Then maybe the question should be “Why don’t you do something to prevent the admittedly rare instances of violence in schools?”
Student


Dear Student,
Whoa, whoa, whoa, that’s not the question at all. First off, it’s too long to put on a t-shirt. Second, these self-important so-called religious leaders don’t want you to think about that question because they don’t like the answer. They don’t like to admit that I’m just here to observe. I’m auditing this universe, taking it pass/fail, as it were. I just wanted to see what would happen if I squeezed a bunch of atoms together and let ‘em explode. The results have been fascinating, but I’ve taken a hands-off approach from Day One. If people want to say that means I work in mysterious ways, well—whatever gets you through the night, you know?
God

Dear God,
So it sounds like I’m being manipulated by—


Dear Student,
Sorry to interrupt your letter, but yeah, you’re being manipulated by people who are clinging to the childish notion that because school-sponsored prayer is unconstitutional, it’s somehow illegal for kids to pray in school. Hell, we’re both being manipulated, kid. Believe me, if I cared at all, the only prayer I’d care about was a sincere one.
G

Dear God,
Thanks for the correspondence. Do you have any final words of wisdom for me?
Student


Dear Student,
Pay attention in school, keep a clean nose, and don’t believe everything you read on a t-shirt.
G

Friday, April 20, 2007

Bad Vibrations From John McCain

Well, good old Tissue-in-the-Wind McCain pulled a pretty juvenile move the other day. Addressing an audience of veterans, McCain put new lyrics to the old Beach Boys tune “Barbara Ann” and sang “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran...”

The next day he came out and said that anyone who criticized his little joke should “Get a life.”

Well, because I didn’t have time to post about McCain’s song at the time, and because I already have a life, I’m going to go ahead and criticize his little joke anyway.

1. John McCain has all the sensitivity, maturity, and parody songwriting skills of a pre-teenager. Just because the words “Bomb Iran” sound a little like “Barbara Ann” doesn’t mean you have to put it to music.

2. Why would McCain think it’s funny to make jokes about dropping bombs on a country—even in song? Does he not remember that time we bombed Iraq and killed a few hundred thousand people? Or did he think that was funny?

3. Ronald Reagan once made an equally stupid remark in a very similar vein. Unaware he was in front of a live mike, Reagan said “I’m pleased to announce I’ve signed legislation outlawing Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” Not only is this an irresponsible and flippant thing for the leader of the free world to say, it’s not even a good joke. How could he sign legislation that outlaws another country? Good humor requires verisimilitude, so if he’d wanted to be insensitive, arrogant, and yet somewhat funny, he could have said “I’m pleased to announce I’ve signed legislation that will solve our problems with Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” See? If Reagan had said that, people would have known he was just joking around. He still would have been a dumbass, but gee, being funny will only take you so far.

4. At the risk of throwing up in my mouth a bit, I have to evoke the image of one of the ugliest and most pathetic presidential attempts at humor ever: President Poor Dope "looking" for weapons of mass destruction. That moment--coupled with his fooling around on guitar while people were drowning in the streets of New Orleans--tells you everything you need to know about that smirking dickweed.

5. Anyone who thinks John McCain was just making a harmless joke is hereby forbidden from using the phrase “Culture of Death” in their efforts to disparage progressives. It was already a ridiculous strawman phrase, but now that your boy is singing songs about dropping bombs on Iranian civilians, I’d say he’s fully embraced a real Culture of Death.

John Cox News Flash

Holy mother of pearl, I got a comment on that last post. It was a good one, too. Referring to my observation that the media would soon ignore Republican candidate John Cox into oblivion, a reader named Anonymous (that’s Greek, I believe) said “The media are ignoring Cox because he can’t raise more than $3000 in three months, and because he’s a loon.”

That’s the second time since posting that I’ve seen a reference to Cox’s lack of funds, so maybe there’s something to it. And I didn’t know anything about him at all until I read the article in the Register, so I can’t attest to his looniness.

Anyway, poor old loony strapped-for-cash John Cox notwithstanding, my point was that it’s too early in the game to anoint the front-runners as if they’re the only choice voters are allowed to have. On the Democratic side, my political beliefs match up pretty closely with those of Dennis Kucinich—but you generally don’t see his name mentioned in the press unless someone’s making a joke about him.

That’s not good journalism, in my opinion. Want another example? January 2004. Howard Dean gets excited at a post-caucus rally at the Val Air Ballroom. He starts listing the states he’s taking the fight to next. He tries for a war cry and falls short.

The media decides to call this “the Dean scream,” and from that point on his campaign is treated like a joke.

I’m still pissed about that. Howard Dean’s strangled war cry didn’t cost him the nomination, but the incessant coverage of such a trivial bit of nothing sure didn’t help.

I don’t think John Cox is going to get anywhere close to a position where he can croak out an enthusiastic shriek. But at this point in the long, long campaign, no idea is a bad idea. Let us know who’s out there, and like my commenting friend Anonymous, we’ll figure out on our own who the loons are.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Nine Angry Men

Well, the Republican presidential candidates invaded Des Moines and spoke at the Lincoln Day Dinner last Saturday night, nine of them in all, each one brimming with fresh new ideas about how to wrest the GOP out of the hands of the warmongers, religious fanatics, and the rest of the Bush crime gang.

Nah, not really. Despite the fact that voters last November made it clear that we don’t want any more American lives lost or American dollars wasted in Iraq, these brave mavericks pretty much toed the Bush line and agreed that the best way to fight worldwide terrorism is to keep a large chunk of our military resources in one central location. Yeah, I don’t know, I don’t see the logic, either.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s hilarious that the Republican Party can’t find one person with the nuts to stand up and denounce Bush as the worst threat to the Constitution in US history. Hell, I think it’s hilarious that they aren’t even looking for someone with the aforementioned nuts.

Anyway.

On Sunday the Des Moines Register printed a page with concise descriptions of each candidate and what he had to say at the dinner. What am I gonna pass that up?

Sam Brownback, US Senator from Kansas
Here’s a quote from the Register: “[Brownback] also said America must focus on things like good manners and courtesy and should go after recording artists and companies that teach children such things as degradation of women.”

Seriously, that’s what it says in the paper. What does he mean, “America should ‘go after’ recording artists”? On what grounds? Is he going to send the National Guard into recording studios? Brownback also has quite a reputation as a fervent pro-lifer, so he knows that women should not be degraded, but rather forced to bear unwanted children.

Also, it was funny enough when Bush said he wanted to be the education president, but here’s a guy who wants to be the good manners president. Glad to see you’re taking it seriously there, Sam.

John Cox, a businessman from Chicago
This guy actually said “We want principles back in our government. We want true fiscal discipline. We want more effective government in Washington, D.C.,” which, I have to admit, is the exact opposite of what’s going on there now. Listen to what John Cox has to say now, because in about six weeks the media will have ignored him into oblivion.

Jim Gilmore, former governor of Virginia
This guy had the scariest picture of the nine, and that’s saying something. According to the Register, Gilmore says America must support troops [see previous post, “A Quick Plug”] and stand by them, adding that “Withdrawing troops is not an option because religious extremists in the Middle East will not give up.”

Gilmore knows the way to a Republican audience’s heart is the scary quote. Of course, he knows scary quotes are most effective when you have to fill in the blank yourself. Here he wants us to believe that religious extremists won’t give up until they’ve conquered the free world. I think he’s talking out his ass and suspect most rational people do too.

Rudy Giuliani, whose name I often misspell
Giuliani is one of the most embarrassing Bush suck-ups on the circuit, having adopted the poor dope’s tendency to say things that wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny in a junior high debate. Here in Des Moines he said the Republicans are the party that realizes “energy independence is a matter of national security.”

So we’ve completely destabilized Iraq in order to keep sucking out their oil, which makes us independent how? I suppose it’s possible that Rudy meant we’re just going to keep overthrowing Middle Eastern governments until all the oil is ours. Bingo! Energy independence!

Rudy also said “How could it make sense to give a schedule for removing troops from Iraq just when you’re going to deplete your forces to your enemy?” proving yet again that the complete disregard for syntax is another fine example of the Bush legacy.

Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas
The Register page neglected to give Huckabee’s position on Iraq, but since it quoted him as saying “I believe life begins at conception and we ought to protect human life,” I can only assume that he’s angry about the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis and strongly opposed to keeping American men and women in harm’s way. You read it here first, folks.

John McCain, tissue in the wind
More scary quotes from the man with no soul. He admits the war has been mismanaged but just can’t remember where he left the cojones required to go the extra mile and say it was mismanaged by a smirking asswipe who wouldn’t know the truth if it bit him in the flightsuit. McCain says that if American troops leave Iraq, terrorists will follow them home. I’ve heard this argument more than once, but I don’t see the logic. If I were a terrorist, why the hell would I want to follow a bunch of heavily armed people? And if they really want to invade America, why wouldn’t they do it while our military is bogged down a million miles away?

Do they not know how to get here? Is that why they have to follow us home?

McCain also asked “Where is the intellectual honesty if you think that you’re sending young Americans into harm’s way in a futile effort?” Jesus H. Load of Brickbats, McCain, at some point you have to look around and try to figure out what the effort is. What’s the mission? What are we still doing occupying this place after four freakin years? Grow some intellectual honesty and ask yourself that.

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts
Romney says we need to send 100,000 more troops to Iraq and increase spending to make sure they have the proper tools and technology. Tsk tsk—another one of those tax-and-spend conservatives.

Can you tell I’m growing bored with this post? Can you blame me for not getting excited about a bunch of guys whose ideas aren’t going to benefit the average American in the least? Ah well. Two to go.

Tom Tancredo, US Representative from Colorado
Tancredo’s pet issue is illegal immigration, and he says illegal immigrants are overcrowding our schools, overcrowding our prisons, and driving our hospitals out of business. Frankly, as long as Tom DeLay’s free to walk the streets I don’t think anyone can complain about prison overcrowding, but that’s another story. Here’s the key with Tancredo: He says “American and Western civilization is in a crisis,” which translates, of course, into “Save us white folk from the Mexican hordes.”

Tancredo equates abortion with “embracing the culture of death,” a meaningless line he copped from Bush or the pope or Scary Quote of the Day dot com.

Tommy Thompson, former governor of Wisconsin
Tommy says he has a common-sense plan to help stabilize the Middle East: Allow territories in Iraq to govern themselves. Then, of course, if they don’t govern themselves the way we want them to, we can always bomb the hell out of them.

Here’s a pretty laughable quote from Thompson: “I am so sick of those pessimists in Congress, those liberal Democrats who get up in the morning and eat grapefruit and suck lemons all day. I want a party with people with…humor and ideas and ideals and that’s the Republican Party.”

The Republicans are the humor party now?! Tell you what, I bet Tommy’ll wish he’d had some lemons and grapefruit when all the Republicans come down with scurvy.

If these are the nine best candidates the Republicans have to offer, can you imagine who didn't make the cut? Ah well. With three pages about these creepy Republicans behind me, I have to go shower.

A Quick Plug

If you get a chance, swing on over to The People’s Republic of Seabrook and read this post called “Hey, Libtard—How About Rooting For America For A Change?” Don’t worry—the title is an ironic poke at the pretend-patriotic ravings of those stubborn dickwits who still think President Poor Dope has a brain and a conscience.

Seabrook blogger Jack Cluth has written an outstanding post suggesting that the phrase “Support the troops” be retired because it’s been rendered “completely and utterly meaningless.”

He’s right. It’s become one of those Pavlovian clich├ęs that Republicans use to stir up their gullible flock—but go check out Seabrook and read for yourself.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sucking Up To Power: The Dennis Miller Story

Well, all week long it’s been Don Imus this and Don Imus that, and beyond the fact that I think CBS was right to fire a guy whose idea of humor is cruel, sleazy, racist jokes about the appearance of some young athletes who had never done him any harm, I don’t have a whole lot to say about Don Imus right now. It’s worth a post down the line, but for now I’m turning my attention to Dennis Miller.

Dennis Miller was a breath of fresh air when he moved into the Weekend Update chair on SNL all those years ago. He brought with him a good sense of wit and snark, and he was a master of drawing out whatever absurdities might have been lurking about in the issues of the day. His sciolistic hipness was easily and forgivably construed as deep thought, but hey, he was funny.

That was then, this is now, and now that he’s a Bush apologist he’s not nearly as funny. There’s something sad about anyone who sucks up to power, but it’s even sadder when the ones you’re sucking up to are so criminally incompetent and proud of it to boot. The St Louis Post-Dispatch recently published part of a phone interview with Miller in its online edition, and some of his comments are truly mind-boggling:

Post-Dispatch: Why has your humor taken a turn toward the conservative?
Miller: They bombed those two buildings, remember?

This would be an idiotic comment even if he’d phrased it in a more mature and less patronizing manner. Miller’s assumption—that a terrorist attack should cause all of us to stop thinking and abandon our sense of right and wrong—is bad enough, but his flip, arrogant expression of it is guaranteed to appeal only to those hangers-on who still think President Poor Dope is winning the war on terra. In Miller’s mind, cause and effect are purely random, so when radical Islamic crazies attack, your liberal convictions suddenly become invalid.

Miller again:

I woke up the next day and had an epiphany. I want our guy to go kill terrorists. It's that simple. People think it's some big shift. I can't believe that a good portion of my country doesn't believe that as well.

Millions of people up woke on September 12 with a whole new set of feelings. Watching a bunch of religious freaks commit mass murder in such dramatic fashion has a way of putting things in perspective. It reminded some people that life is fragile. It made people angry and it made people afraid, and it inspired a lot of men and women to enlist in the military. It stirred up feelings of revenge, though for some of us those feelings were tempered by the need for justice.

And that’s where Miller went off course. He says he wants “our guy” to go kill terrorists. But either he forgot that the poor dope gave up the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, or he’s hoping that the rest of us did. Miller wants our guy to go kill terrorists so bad that he can’t see the big picture. He doesn’t care how many non-terrorists get killed in the process. He doesn’t care how many new terrorists are inspired to join the fight, and like the poor dope himself he doesn’t seem to realize that people aren’t born terrorists. You have to give them a freakin reason to adopt this line of work.

Even liberals agreed that hunting down and capturing Bin Laden was the appropriate response to the 9/11 attacks. Actions do have consequences, you know. But when Bush abandoned that effort and focused instead on his pet project of toppling Saddam Hussein, he lost the support of anyone who believes American foreign policy should be grounded in reality. From the non-existent WMDs to the yellowcake memo to Dick Cheney Goebbels’ insistence that Saddam was linked to al-Qaeda, this administration did nothing but lie about its reasons for invading and occupying a sovereign nation—and apparently that’s just peachy with Dennis Miller.

Post-Dispatch: In a sense, does your career mirror Winston Churchill's notion that if you're not a liberal at 20, you have no heart; if you're not a conservative at 40, you have no brain?
Miller: That's exactly the process I've gone through. I'm 53, and I'm a pragmatist. We watched punks blow up our buildings and, what, I'm now supposed to sit around and think about how we wronged the punks? Things get cut and dried as you get older. And what about the people who never, ever change the way they think about things? Those are the people I slide away from at cocktail parties.

Well, Dennis, try looking at it this way: If some punks burned down your garage, I’d expect you to find out who the punks were—not to go around killing every punk in a different neighborhood. And no, you don’t have to sit around and think about how you wronged the punks, Dennis. You can go on assuming you’re the most angelic holy guilt-free curmudgeon on the block.

And by the way, the line “Things get cut and dried as you get older”? That’s absolute bullshit. That’s intellectual laziness. If at the age of 53 you’re too old and feeble to think rationally and make informed decisions and recognize the difference between smart and dumb, between legal and illegal, between Constitutional and unconstitutional, between leadership and megalomania, then get your ass to the Old Comics Home right now.

There was a time when I thought it’d be nice if Dennis Miller would come back over from the dark side, but nah—they can have him.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Random Thoughts on a Tuesday

I have to admit that the ever-lovable rat bastard Newt Gingrich is on the side of the angels when it comes to calling for the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, but this quote from Newt strikes me as a little disingenuous:

“This is the most mishandled, artificial, self-created mess that I can remember in the years I've been active in public life.”

Really? He’s never seen anything more artificial? I could have sworn Gingrich was alive when Ken Starr and the Republican piranha were trying desperately to bring down Bill Clinton.

* * *

Dick Cheney is on record as recently as this past weekend, still insisting that there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Proving, alas, that there’s no fool like an old fool.

* * *


To the mentally challenged bloggers and trolls who insist that certain Democratic presidential candidates are cowards for not participating in a debate sponsored by the Bush/Cheney shills at Fox News, I offer this helpful language tip:

The word “coward” would only be appropriate if a candidate refused a direct challenge to debate. The current crop of candidates has a number of “debates” already scheduled, so it’s not like anyone’s scared of stating his or her position in public. I applaud any public figure who chooses not to legitimize the Republican Public Relations Network.

That said, I assume all the major networks will cover whatever political debates occur between now and the next election. But as lazy as the mainstream media is, and as much as they’re trying to reduce American politics to a contest between front-runners (CBS News has already begun to refer to Obama, Clinton, Edwards, McCain, Guiliani, and Romney as the Big Six), I wouldn’t be surprised to see them cut to a commercial when it’s time for someone like Dennis Kucinich to speak.

If they even to deign to acknowledge him at all.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Maybe They’ll Get Pat Boone To Do Their Theme Song

Are you familiar with the Christian Exodus movement? It’s an organized effort to persuade Christians to relocate to specific legislative districts in South Carolina in order to take over the government. They feel the current federal government has unjustly usurped its powers, and say they want to “return to the model of governance of a constitutional republic.”

A lofty goal. And on the surface, given the autocratic machinations of the Bush regime, one we all might feel a bit of empathy with.

The C-Exers also take a strong stand against religious persecution, noting that “people of all faiths must have the same rights and freedoms guaranteed to them under law.” Neither will they tolerate any racial discrimination in their Brave New South Carolina.

Right on, right?

Not so much. It pretty much goes down the tubes right after that.

Because when you take a close look at the Christian Exodus website, you’ll see that what it boils down to is this: “We need our own sovereign nation because this big mean one refuses to let us force Christian prayers on non-Christian students in school. Oh, and because we need a place where homos aren’t protected by laws.”

Honestly. That’s the gist of it.

They just aren’t into that “liberty and justice for all” thing.

The website is an interesting read, depending on your level of tolerance for unmitigated bullshit. They have a whole list of alleged ways in which the current government infringes on their liberties, so let’s start there:

• Abortion continues against the wishes of many States and in violation of the reserved powers of the States under the 10th Amendment.

This is the first item in their list, and it’s a perfect example of the movement’s rather bizarre definition of liberty, to wit: “We have the liberty to force you to bear children.”

• Christians are denied their rights to free speech, freedom of the press, the display of religious monuments, and other expressions of faith in the public sphere.

Boy, they’re still honked off about Crazy Roy Moore, aren’t they? Dammit, they want the liberty to use everyone’s tax dollars to promote their religion, even if it means taking over South Carolina and turning it into the 5000-Pound Ten Commandments Monument Capital of the World.

• Men, women, and children are involuntarily exposed to the corrupting influences of homosexuality, pornography, and other perversities protected and financed by the national government.

What, we have socialized porn now? What perversities are being financed by the national government? This is a case where some links to actual examples would be helpful, particularly if you’re trying to avoid ridicule. I have no idea what they mean here. In a free society, you’re going to run across some corrupting influences now and again. Whether you choose to be corrupted by them is your business.

That said, I don’t think children should be exposed to pornography, either—but I suspect the C-Exers’ definition is far more inclusive than mine, and that it includes Playboy, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, and the MacNeil-Lehrer Report.

Either way, if you’re keeping score, none of the items covered so far actually infringe on the liberties of the members of the Christian Exodus movement.

• Sodomy is now legal and celebrated as "diversity" by order of the U.S. Supreme Court rather than condemned as perversion.

Aside from the rather hysterical notions that a sexual position can be “celebrated” as diversity and that the Supreme Court has ordered it so, and aside from the fact that decriminalizing sodomy in no way infringes on the liberties of those who choose not to perform it (bringing the total of infringed liberties to a solid zero), this item is a classic example of something these people spend way too much time thinking about. Have you noticed that? They’re obsessed with sodomy. They’re obsessed with other men’s rear ends. I’ll bet they have secret copies of Naked Lunch with their favorite sections dog-eared and highlighted. Hell, I’ll bet I don’t spend as much time thinking about women as these moral crusaders do thinking about men (and yes, the board of directors of the Christian Exodus movement, the ones who presumably wrote their creed, are all men). Folks, it’s none of your business. Grow up.

• Children who pray in public schools are subject to prosecution.

The nice thing about the internet is that when you have a point to prove, a point that might require some sort of evidence, you can just link directly to it. In this case, the Christian Exodudes could have linked to that famous story about the police busting up the big school prayer ring and the DA indicting all those kids on prayer charges.

Of course, maybe there’s no link because there’s no such story. And maybe there’s no such story because children who pray in public schools are not subject to prosecution.

I think the Christian Exodus movement is counting on the fact that the audience they’re trying to reach aren’t exactly known for their critical thinking skills.

• Our schools continue to teach the discredited theory of Darwinian evolution.

It’s worth pointing out that the only people even trying to discredit the theory of evolution also believe there were dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark. And that there was such a thing as Noah’s Ark.

Now, the Christian Exodus website also says that if they can’t achieve their goals within the United States (in other words, if the law gets in the way), they’d consider seceding from the union as a last resort.

Well, if you must, you must. Don’t let the Constitution hit you in the ass on the way out.

Some Final Thoughts

I don’t have the capital to pull this off, but if these people manage to secede from the US and have their own little Aren’t-We-Holy Land, I have a feeling that some entrepreneur could make a tremendous fortune by setting up booze-and-porn emporiums all around the borders in North Carolina and Georgia.

And by the way, even though they say on their website that they have no desire to establish a theocracy, you can find evidence to the contrary just a few paragraphs away. I found this a bit confusing, so I called the CE headquarters to see if they could enlighten me.

Runes: Hello there. It says on your website that the Christian Exodus movement is not interested in forming a theocracy—
CE Guy: That is correct. No interest at all. No theocracy for us.
Runes: But it also states your intention to rewrite the state constitution to include such things as recognizing the Ten Commandments as the foundation of law.
CE Guy: You bet.
Runes: Doesn’t that sound like a theocracy to you?
CE Guy: A theocracy? No! That’s crazy! Wait—a theocracy is slices of ham, turkey, and bacon between two slices of bread, isn’t it?
Runes: No, that’s a club sandwich.
CE Guy: Oh. Well, maybe we do want a theocracy.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Won't Someone Please Think of the Nylon?

I was all set to lambaste Iowa Republicans this morning, but after exploring the issue further I learned that both parties deserve the razzberries. Pardon my strong language.

Last week a U.S. district judge ruled that Iowa’s flag-desecration laws are too vague to enforce and thus unconstitutional. That made sense. Obviously no one should be allowed to take someone else’s flag and “deface, defile, mutilate, or trample” it, but if you pay your hard-earned money for a flag it’s yours to do whatever you want with—and that includes using it to make political statements.

So this morning in my groggy state of barely-awakeness, I heard on the radio that some Republican state representative had introduced a bill to clarify the law and make it easier to enforce. Typical, I thought—leave it to the Money Party to spend their time protecting pieces of nylon.

But later I checked out the story on the Des Moines Register website and found that I’d misheard the story. What actually happened was that the house had voted 95-0 to add an amendment clarifying the flag law to a bill that establishes a counseling program for veterans. So instead of moving to just repeal the law and standing up for the freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, Iowa Democrats joined the GOP in treating the flag like a human being—a delicate, fragile human being.