A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, September 28, 2007

Equal Justice for All in Jena

Hear ye! Hear ye! The court of arteejee is now in session, and we will be considering the case(s) of all individuals involved in the separate civil rights disturbances in Jena, Louisiana. Please keep in mind, everyone, that this court works under the philosophy that “nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.” Having said that, I can look around at all those involved and safely say that I see lots of victims, but very few 100% innocent angels.

Briefly, this latest civil rights uproar started last year when black students at a high school in Jena were given permission to take shade under a tree on school property that had previously been dominated by the white students on campus. A few white students retaliated by hanging nooses from the tree. Racial tensions at the school escalated to the point where a group of six black students beat up a white student who, it has been alleged, taunted them with racial slurs. The black students were arrested and charged with attempted murder. The outrage over these charges simmered all over the country for months until a massive protest was organized and executed last week.

The focal point of the protests was the disparity in punishment between the white students and the black students. The high school principal originally wanted to expel the white students, but he was overridden by the district superintendent who thought the hanging nooses were nothing more than a prank. The white students were given a suspension. The black students, on the other hand, faced criminal charges. Since that time, the attempted murder charges have been downgraded to aggravated assault. One of the Jena 6 was just released on bail yesterday, even though his conviction has been overturned.

The protests themselves went off without any violence and they did raise awareness of the judicial situation in the United States. Unfortunately, they may also have aggravated the racial tensions in Jena. There were reports of whites riding around the town with nooses after the protestors left.

This is just a bare summary of the events. However I think we can start handing out sentences to everyone involved.


Reinstate their expulsion and charge them with a hate crime violation. Sensitivity training and hundreds of hours of community service should be considered as further punishment.


Dismissal and charge him with impersonation of a school officer.


If proven that he did taunt them with racial slurs, suspension with possible expulsion, charge with a hate crime violation, with sensitivity training and community service as further punishment.


For overzealously charging the black students with attempted murder, disbarment and charged with impersonation of intelligent human beings.


While it maybe true that their response to the racial slurs was just an impulse of human nature, we must remember that human nature is not always moral and not always right. That is why there are other laws in effect that protect everyone from the cruel events of life. The laws – when and where they are enforced properly — apply to everyone.

The charge has also been made that their actions were nothing more than a schoolyard fight that got blown out of proportion. Sorry, I don’t agree. Most of the schoolyard fights I’ve attended in my life were almost always one-on-one. Any more than one person to a side is not a schoolyard fight, it’s a small-scale riot.

We also can’t ignore the probability that if another black student had taunted the Jena 6 with slurs, nothing would have been done about him or her. Since the object of their aggression was another skin color, then we must consider the attack as a hate crime. Therefore, I rule that the original charges should be dropped, sentences reduced to time served, expulsions from school, charged with hate crime violations with sensitivity training and community service as punishment.

For those who believe that I am being unduly harsh on the Jena 6, then my response is: “What part of ‘equal justice for all’ didn’t you get?”

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Silent Tribute

I will have something to say about the Jena 6 later this week, but another event has occurred which I feel I cannot let pass without comment at this time. That event is the passing of the greatest mime of the 20th century, Marcel Marceau. I think many people will agree that he was the supreme master of a very under-appreciated art form. Now, without any further adieu, my tribute:

Thank you!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Short Notes – September 2007


A Nebraska state legislator is apparently as mad as hell about everything and isn’t going to take it anymore. Now he is suing God for unspecified damages. Prayers to God for a comment on the lawsuit have gone unanswered.

First of all, this is so bizarre that it just screams instant publicity, and if that is the sole reason for the suit, then it has accomplished its job. However, if this guy is actually suing the Holy Spirit for financial or spiritual gain, then I think we have a nutcase on our hands. Special note to anyone close to this man: do not make any sudden moves and walk away slowly. Call a psychiatric hospital immediately!

Secondly, how will the defense present its case if this absurdity does go to trial? Will they have to resort to character witnesses — like Pope Benedict XVI - in the event that God is not able to appear? I can just see the testimony from the Pope now:

Attorney: "Holy Father, have you ever met the defendant face-to-face?"

Pope: "Well, uh, no. But I know his work!"

Oh yeah, that would be very conclusive. The true reasons for this suit may eventually become public. In the meantime, only the prospective defendant knows why.


I noted a few weeks ago that Congress had returned from its summer recess. As a citizen of this country, and as a public service, I will suggest that the following bills be acted upon and passed before the session ends:

The Lou Dobbs Immigrant English Education Act

This act would pay for the training and stationing of English teachers at all US borders for the purpose of teaching all immigrants the very basics of survival in our largely English speaking country. The goal of this legislation would allow all immigrants to say and know the difference between the phrases "Cheesesteak wit’" and "Cheesesteak wit’out". These immigrants may still take our jobs, sap our medical resources, and commit a variety of crimes, but as God is our witness they’ll never go hungry again.

The Congressional Democrats Backbone Acquisition Act

The title says it all; no further explanation is necessary.

The Leave No Republicans Behind Act

Passage of this law would automatically make all Republican members of Congress candidates for President next year. This will save a lot of time that the media waste in speculating about who is or who isn’t running. It will also mean the Republican National Convention will run for the entire summer next year as the party weeds out the hundreds of possibilities to find the one viable candidate.

The Ban O.J. From the Airwaves Act

This law would provide severe penalties if any news organization or entertainment program broadcasts any information whatsoever about the life or whereabouts of media pain-in-the-ass O.J. Simpson. Suggested penalty would be death. Any executions carried out as the result of this act would, of course, be made available as a pay-per-view special.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Perils of O. J. Simpson – Chapter 4391

When we last left our hero, NFL legend, television celebrity and all-around model citizen, O.J. Simpson was pursuing the real killer of his wife Nicole and her friend, Ron Goldman, when he realized that some of his property had been stolen. Quickly, he tracked down the culprits to a hotel room in Las Vegas. There he and several associates burst into the room, allegedly brandishing guns in an effort to retrieve his stuff before it could be sold at auction. Suddenly...

Why am I wasting time on this egotistical jerk? Why can’t he stay out of trouble for once? Does he crave public attention so much that he’s willing to break the law to get it? Does he think his lawyers will be able to bail him out again?

O.J. may have a harder time beating this rap. For one thing, his main counsel from the old days, “Rhymin’ Johnnie” Cochran, has gone to that great courtroom in the sky. Also, O.J. may not have the financial resources he had to hire good lawyers as he did 12 years ago. That pesky wrongful death verdict brought by Ron Goldman’s family has probably put a serious crimp in Simpson’s finances.

Actually, my argument isn’t with Simpson. I am more concerned about the dark cloud that will descend into all of our lives if his latest legal battles drag on like the last time. Yes, my problem is not with O.J., but rather with the media. Therefore, the following open letter.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen of the Print and Non-Print Media,

I know this latest O.J. episode is very tempting to exploit and that right now you’re probably thanking the spirit of William Randolph Hearst for dumping this opportunity into your laps. As I write this, you are probably drooling at the prospect of O.J. updates on nationally televised news, breaking news crawls on all the top-rated television shows, news alerts on the Internet, and of course, special O.J. editions from every major newspaper in the country. I hope you will reconsider what you are about to do to America.

Frankly, we can’t take anymore of O.J. We had our fill of him during the last century. Sure we played along then 12 years ago and lapped up every little tidbit you gave us, but, trust me, we are not that gullible anymore. We’re more sophisticated now and we don’t have to buy into every little piece of crap that you try to shove down our throats. In fact, we don’t have to buy anything that you advertise on your shows or in your newspapers. Yes, we could boycott any product you try to sell us as long as you insist on talking about O.J.

If you won’t do it for us, then please consider doing it for the girls. You know which ones I mean - Lindsay, Britney, and Paris. These ladies thrive on attention just like O.J. Every column inch and every radio or television segment you devote to O.J. is that much less publicity these ladies will have. Their very survival may depend on it! If these ladies don’t get the attention they deserve – good, bad, and embarrassing, but the more embarrassing the better – then they may very well, like, die!

Ladies and gentlemen of the media, we would appreciate it if you would do this for us. I’m sure the girls would be eager to show their appreciation...if you know what I mean. This is all I have to say about you people in the media covering O.J. You’ve been warned. Don’t make us take hostages!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Osama, Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are

This blog has on many occasions taken pot shots at the Bush Administration, but today they will get a slight reprieve. Today I will aim my barbs at someone who has shown himself to be even more despicable than George W. Bush. In fact, his masterminding of the 9/11 attacks made Bush look like the greatest thing since sliced bread. For that reason alone, he deserves our wrath. Of course, I’m referring to Osama Bin Laden, who remains at large and very much alive six years after the attack.

After a three year absence, our bad boy releases two videos with the same old messages: convert Western world, or we’ll send suicide bombers to destroy you, blah, blah, blah. Frankly, I was expecting more from you, Osama, given the amount of time you had to put these videos together. For one thing, there is no music, no catchy soundtrack whatsoever. This video won’t even chart on YouTube. Your delivery is very dry and boring. Hell, your performance was even outdone by Britney Spears earlier in the week, and she was sleepwalking!

Then you insist on speaking in a foreign tongue that we, your intended audience/victims, don’t understand. No wonder we ignore what you say. Listen pal, our attitude around here is, “If you don’t speak English, you don’t get a cheesesteak,” or something like that.

We do, however, have some people who have translated your rants for us and so we do know that you have called on America to convert to Islam. Okay, we’ll give this request serious thought for a second...

Okay, we’re back. We’ve thought it over and our answer is, “Sorry, but no thank you.” You see, Osama, we live in a society that recognizes that many of us don’t necessarily share the same beliefs and we respect their beliefs as long as they don’t infringe on the common good. Some of us may convert to Islam, and we’re fine with that if they feel that Islam can give them the spiritual contentment that they want. That would be their choice. We don’t resort to threats of blackmail and mass murder like you do to convert people to your way of thinking. Obviously, you flunked out of the Dale Carnegie course on influencing friends and associates.

Aside from all that, I don’t think you have much credibility as a fearless terrorist leader. Recent published reports quoted a physician, who served next to you in Bora Bora when American troops were closing in, that you were only concerned about your own safety. Great, you have no problem sending others to their martyrdom, but when it comes to your own kidney-impaired body you turn into a hypocritical coward! Frankly, I don’t see how the other Jihad warriors can look you in the face.

Perhaps you should strap one of those IEDs on your back and see how it feels to be a suicide bomber. Go ahead, put one on and stroll into your encampment with your other warriors. I’m sure they would be very impressed with you. Better still, come out of your cave with your hands up. We promise you’ll get a fair trail – broadcast exclusively on the Fox network – before we find you guilty and get medieval on your intolerant ass!

Meanwhile, back here at home, the slight reprieve for the Bush Administration ends. I have a question for you, Mr. President: why is this man still at large? By all rights, Osama should have been cooling his sandals at Guantanamo by now. We have the greatest amount of surveillance equipment ever in the history of mankind and we still can’t find this guy? I hope it’s not a case of keeping him alive just to keep your “war on terror” arguments politically viable.

It will be left to the American people, again, to demand justice. In the next year, we should hear the following question directed to all of the presidential candidates, Democrat and Republican: “Sir or madam, the Bush Administration's efforts to capture Osama Bin Laden has been a miserable failure. What will you do to bring this mass murderer to justice?” I can hardly wait for the answers.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11 and History

Today we mark the horrific events of September 11, 2001 when terrorists attacked the United States and changed our outlook on the world forever. For that reason alone, the attacks will always be a part of our national psyche. Unfortunately, there will be other lessons that may fall by the wayside as time goes on.

History is not an exact science; it is left wide open to interpretation. The winners of any conflict usually record it from a specific point of view. The losers, naturally, will see the outcome from a different view. I know I’ve contemplated these ideas before, but this year there is some concern that the 9/11 anniversary will become the victim of event fatigue: many people are tired of hearing about it.

The fatigue is not imaginary; there are some valid reasons for these concerns. For one, the Bush Administration has used the attacks as criteria for many actions, from starting a questionable war to suspending civil liberties. These actions in turn became fodder for all sorts of criticism, debates and late night punch lines. I’m guilty of this myself as I have blogged about the Bush Administration using the attacks to justify their own actions on several occasions. On these occasions, my comments may have been light-hearted, but they should not have been seen as disrespectful to the victims or their families. Any humor derived from the use of the 9/11 events for any purpose other than remembrance and learning historical lessons was intended to be part of the healing process from the shock of the attacks.

Still the lessons that we should learn from 9/11 may be very different from the lessons that will be retained in our collective memory. We should remember that the reasons for the attacks go back centuries to old conflicts that started long before America was founded and will likely outlive all of us. It would be very prudent to take measures to resolve as much of this conflict as we can in our lifetime. Unfortunately, our country has, in the intervening years since the attacks, taken action that aggravated the conflict and perhaps left us open to more violent aggression.

The victim’s families will do everything they can to remember their lost loved ones. Eventually those names and memories will falter and fade away as the survivors die off. It is never mankind’s intention to let this happen, but it does happen given human nature and the peculiarities of the human brain. We have already forgotten to “Remember the Maine” and the Alamo, for that matter. Another example, among many others I could name, is that Veterans Day was originally a holiday to mark the end of World War One. How many of us knew that?

In American public schools, the subject of history has been taught as part dates and events, part civics, and part “Rah, rah! We’re number one!” This is all well in good, but unfortunately it hasn’t always been true. The patriotism part of the teaching would invariably gloss over many issues that should have been addressed. Our genocidal policies towards the Native Americans, and the subjugation of women and minorities are two such issues that immediately leap to my mind. Yes, we do live in a great country, but we must keep in mind that this country is just part of a larger world filled with peoples and cultures that deserve equal respect.

The attacks of 9/11 resulted when members of one of these cultures, feeling that they had a grievance against us, took action that was both desperate and extreme. The people directly responsible for this attack shall be held accountable someday soon, God willing. In the meantime we, as Americans, should seek some common ground between us and the larger God-fearing, law-abiding religious community which these extremists thought they represented. This is the lesson we should learn from 9/11, but I’m afraid that it will once again get lost in the shuffle of everyday living.

So, there’s our challenge, mankind. Please prove me wrong.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Back to Parliament

Well here it is, the first full week after the Labor Day holiday, and everyone is returning from his or her summer vacation. School children everywhere dread this week, but it is an annual ritual that must be endured. Of course, this is also the week that many grown-ups return to the normal grind now that the summer season is ending.

The same is true for government workers. The American Congress returns to work from their August recess, an annual tradition which started when people realized how ungodly humid the weather is in Washington during this summer month. The Iraqi government has now adopted this tradition; members of the Iraqi Parliament are also coming back from their month long vacation.

At first it did not seem that the Parliament would get to leave Baghdad at all. Some criticized the move since our men and women were still fighting – and dying – in Iraq while the ruling class got to skip town. The Bush Administration originally stated that the Parliament would not have a vacation until they met the benchmarks America has demanded. Then the Administration back-pedaled giving the reason that the Iraqi summers are so gosh darn hot with temperatures averaging 110 degrees.

I think there was more to it than the weather. My own theory is that the Administration was blackmailed; perhaps someone in the Iraqi government found a discriminating photograph of Dick Cheney wearing a burqa. Or perhaps they had a photo of Cheney in hunting togs posing next to the carcass of a hapless paralegal. I don’t have proof of this, but it doesn’t matter. In the end the Iraqi Parliament left town for their month-long holiday.

I really don’t envy the Iraqi government taking a vacation. The choices of where to go and what to do are limited when you live in a war-torn country occupied by a bunch of people that you didn’t invite. Honestly, how do you get around the highways clogged with your fellow countrymen running for their lives to the border – any border! And we have the nerve to complain about the traffic backing up going to Wildwood!

Then there is the condition of the highways themselves. Are they even passable, given all the bombs set off by the Sunnis or the Shiites or whoever-else-is-pissed-off-at-us today? All in all it might have been safer for the Iraqi government if they had stayed put in Baghdad for the month.

Fortunately, everyone is back in their rightful place doing the work that they should be doing to make the world safer for everyone. By everyone I mean Christians, Jews, Muslims, gay Senators, not-at-all gay Senators, and even Dick Cheney. Poor guy doesn’t realize how fat he looks wearing that burqa. Welcome back everyone!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

After All, This is America

It was reported a few weeks ago that Senator Larry Craig (R–ID) has pled guilty to committing lewd acts in a Minneapolis airport men’s room. The incident and the pleas happened months ago, and the Senator hoped that by doing so, the matter would get swept under the carpet. Instead, it is the Senator who got swept under the carpet. The story leaked out anyway, and one week later the Senator resigned from government amid pressure from his own party to leave. I don’t know what the Senator expected; after all, this is America.

I’m surprised at how quickly the GOP members of Congress reacted to the news. Within one week, he was stripped of his leadership positions on congressional committees, then shown the door. Jeez, the Democrats didn’t even get a chance to convene an ethics probe. It’s as if the Republicans are in denial, “What possibly homosexual Senator from Idaho? There’s no one here except us forthright, upstanding, family value conservatives.”

The GOP is no fun anymore. I have to wonder why they dealt with this issue so quickly. There are several possibilities:

1. The Senator did plead guilty to the acts described in the complaint. True, but our maxim for American justice is that the accused is innocent until proven guilty. The Senator may never get the chance to prove his contention that he was entrapped, now that he has resigned. Also, many people recant their original guilty pleas and their cases are allowed to proceed through the judicial system. Why is the Senator being treated differently?

2. The Senator is a closeted gay even though he has always presented himself as a champion of family values. Okay, so this makes him a hypocrite. What else is new? There would be very few people left in Congress if we applied this hypocrisy standard to everyone serving in Washington.

3. The Senator is gay, period. This is unforgivable in the eyes of the conservative Republican leadership, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the real reason Senator Craig was kicked out so quickly. Honestly, this sort of thing makes any otherwise sane man want to go and bang Tucker Carlson’s head against a restroom stall. Mind you, I’m not anti-Tucker Carlson or anything like that, heaven knows.

4. The Senator is not gay and is a victim of entrapment, but the Republican Congressional leadership doesn’t want to be bothered pursuing this since it will take attention away from their other problems. Okay, no one believes this for one second, but I thought I should throw it out here since we’re considering all the angles of this story.

So, the Senator will now spend his time clearing his name. Good luck with that, ex-Senator! You do realize that you’ve hired Michael Vick’s lawyer, and we all see what an excellent job he did with that case!

Otherwise Americans have now been deprived of lurid talk about the scandal around the water cooler, endless hours of congressional testimony on C-Span, and repeated accusations and counter-accusations in the media. There is, however, one thing we can do to keep this story alive. Men can go into the restrooms at their respective businesses, widen their stance over a commode as Senator Craig claims to have done, and see how far they can stretch their legs under the wall of the adjacent stall without falling over or allowing their scrotum to hit the water inside the bowl. Yes, this sounds childish and exactly the type of stupid thing men would do after a few beers, but after all, this is America.