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

My Photo
Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Revenge of the Nobama Mamas

Last week, I wrote about my reasons why I didn’t vote for Senator Hillary Clinton in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary. Space and time did not allow me to write about how wonderful it was that Clinton made it this far, and how exciting it was that we had the chance to vote for a woman in the primary. I want to rectify that situation now.

So far, we have had two wonderful choices in the Democratic primary this year. The outcome was destined to be a first regardless who won. It would have been either the first African-American or the first woman to run for President. We should appreciate that this will be a historically important election in our nation’s history. Unfortunately, there are some people who are not happy that Clinton lost to Obama.

My thoughts today go out to the Clinton supporters who are now being called “Nobama Mamas” (by because they are vowing not to vote for Obama in the fall. These Clinton supporters naturally have every right to feel slighted at the primary results, but I hope that they can turn their hurt feelings into positive energy. Now I don’t intend to influence your vote and tell you to vote for Obama or else this November. After all, this would not be ethical, and besides, it is your vote and you should choose how you want your vote to be cast. Nor will I cheapen myself and resort to subliminal messages (VOTE FOR OBAMA) carefully inserted between the lines of my text. No, this won’t do, and besides, it would not be fair to these wonderful, intelligent people who previously supported Hillary Clinton.

I should remind the Clinton supporters that while it would have been a great achievement for a woman to be elected President this year, it just isn’t the right time for this event to happen. Every great event in history does not occur all at once. Instead, the landmark events happen one step at a time in small increments. (VOTE FOR OBAMA)

Let’s use this same topic of a woman elected President as an example. During the first 150 years of this country’s existence, there were a number of events culminating in a movement to give women the right to vote. This was finally achieved in 1920. Another small increment was reached at the 1972 Democratic Convention when Shirley Chisholm ran for the nomination. The next step happened in 1984 when Geraldine Ferraro was tapped to be Walter Mondale’s running mate. This brings us to the next level when Hillary Clinton ran a significant campaign for the nomination this year.

Now the Clintonites might respond, “Well, this is all well and good, but the fact remains that males have ruled many cultures and societies in world history down through the centuries. Does this mean they achieved their leadership positions one small step at a time?” My answer to this question is, “Well, no, probably not.”

In fact, I will dare say that the male of the species achieved their leadership positions in world history, not by such niceties as democracy and elections, but rather through aggression, guns and warfare. In other words, we cheated. I’ll illustrate my point by just listing the titles of various time periods of world history: The Trojan War, The Hundred Years War, The War of the Roses, The French and Indian War, the McCartney/Mills marriage...I hope you’re seeing a pattern here. (VOTE FOR OBAMA). I have never heard of a historical time period given a title like “Peace and Serenity All Over the World”, and if there was it wouldn’t sell many history books.

Anyway, I’m way off topic now, but my point is that the Clinton supporters should find some sort of consolation in supporting Barack Obama. Of course, if you want to be spiteful about it and seek revenge by voting for Grandpa McCain, then by all means go ahead and throw your vote away. After all, it is your vote and only you can decide how you want it to count. (VOTE FOR OBAMA) Just don’t come crying to me when things go horribly wrong in this country...again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Genius of the Counter Revolution

George Carlin, who passed away over the weekend at the age of 71, accomplished much in his life. He is being remembered today as one of the most influential comedians of the 20th century. Somehow this description barely scratches the surface.

Let’s start with Carlin the comic. In this capacity, he lampooned the absurdities of the English language, and, by extension, the absurdities of our American culture. He found hundreds of examples in his career, but one of his targets that leaps to my mind now is “jumbo shrimp”. He regularly used his logic against the oxymoronic windmills of our society.

It would also be an understatement to call him a member of the counterculture, or that segment of society that doesn’t instantly jump to attention whenever the ruling class snaps its fingers. He came to prominence during the Vietnam Era, when many people (most of them under 30) stood up and said, “Wait a minute”, before blindly acting on the government's orders. We’ll forever debate if the consequences of their actions were right or wrong, but no one should question that these people had the right to do so.

In this respect, Carlin was a pioneer of free speech, arguably the one freedom many Americans hold dear. The court battle that ensued over his “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” went all the way to the Supreme Court and displayed the flexibility of the U.S. Constitution. Many members of the Establishment would never agree on the outcome of that case, even as they quietly laughed at the routine itself.

Could we consider George Carlin a freedom fighter (another term he lambasted) who used words instead of guns? Sure, why not. He never staged a coup to overthrow America, but he led a revolution nonetheless. An entire generation of comedians have come up and matured under his influence. Their styles may differ, and some of their language makes the original seven words seem quaint. Ironically, for all the battles and bluster he waged over the years, Carlin’s seven words are still not allowed on television.

In the coming days we’ll hear many different labels pinned to his memory. Influential? Definitely! Award-winning? Yes, he won several Grammies for his recordings, and was due to receive the Mark Twain Humor Award at the Kennedy Center in November. His acceptance speech will now be lost to our culture, but we’ll have wonderful memories of all the times he made us laugh. The sound of our laughter was probably the greatest reward we could ever give him.

Above all this George Carlin was simply a very funny guy. Thank you, God, for allowing this genius to walk in our midst. I can just imagine what this genius of the counter revolution would say about this flowery eulogy. I can imagine it even if I dare not print it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why I Didn’t Vote for Hillary – Part 2

I hope I’ve made it clear why the more popular reasons not to vote for Hillary Clinton don’t apply to me. I didn’t vote for Obama because Hillary is a girl or because Obama is African-American. Simply put, I don’t believe Hillary is a viable candidate in this election.

First, there is the feeling that a vote for her would just be exchanging one political dynasty (the Bushes) for another (the Clintons). Now this is one area in which I do put some stock. Once we get stuck into this rut, who can say how long it would go on. If Hillary won the presidency for 4-8 years, then wouldn’t Jeb Bush feel it’s his right to occupy the White House? He could step forward and say, “Hey, it’s my turn now,” and he’d be right.

Bush I was lackluster, Bush II was a disaster, and then a third Bush should be given a chance to govern? I don’t think so. Besides, such a situation would put a crimp in my suggestion for a Constitutional amendment barring anyone with the last name of Bush from running for high office. Okay, I realize my idea is discriminatory as all hell, but as a liberal I can dream, can’t I?

Anyway, back to unviable Hillary. My main reason for not voting for Hillary is the vast right-wing conspiracy. Many people dismissed it as a figment of her imagination - and I don’t believe that it was organized enough to qualify as a conspiracy - but I can appreciate why she would think it was a huge plot against her and Bill. We have yet to find a smoking gun memo between Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich detailing a specific plan, but there were many elements in America working against the Clinton administration.

One element was Kenneth Starr, the so-called independent counsel. He tried every tactic imaginable to bring the Clintons to trial for the Whitewater scandal. He only succeeded later when the Monica Lewinsky affair fell into his lap.

Then there was the right wing media led by the aforementioned Limbaugh. He labeled the Clinton administration the “Raw Deal”, referencing Democratic icon Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” policies. Another contributor was televangelist Jerry Falwell, who offered racy video documentaries about the Clintons to anyone who sent money to his “Old Time Gospel Hour.” God? Jesus? Forget them, but here’s some juicy stuff on the President and thank you for your monetary offering.

With all these people working against them, it’s no wonder Hillary thought there was a conspiracy. This is what makes Hillary unelectable. A Clinton candidacy would have allowed these elements to rear their ugly heads again, and martial enough support to elect John McCain president. Hillary as the Democratic candidate would have been a gift to the GOP. The White House would have been neatly wrapped up with a bow on top for the Republican Party.

After eight years of lying to get us to war, constitutional abuses, and overall gross incompetence, the last thing I want to give the Republican Party is a token of my esteem.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Why I Didn’t Vote for Hillary

Okay, full disclosure time: I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary. Why did I do such a dastardly thing that was counter to my feminist principles? There are several reasons, but first let me shoot down the obvious reasons that Clinton supporters will lob at my reasoning.


Sesame-butt! (As opposed to poppycock!)

I have looked forward to the day when a woman would occupy the Oval Office for a long time. Hell, I was rooting for Shirley Chisholm in 1972. (Yes, the liberals indoctrinated me at an early age!) Call me crazy, but when it comes time to vote a woman into the White House, I will vote for the candidate who shares the same views on the issues as I do. I won’t vote for just any woman. Also, I would like to vote for a female candidate who has a snowball’s chance of winning the election, but I’m getting ahead of myself.


Wow, talk about extremes! During the course of the primary season, both sides were accused of resorting to the ugly –isms (sex and race) to make the other side appear unworthy of holding public office. Both campaigns fought hard from allowing the primary race from sinking to such depths, but in the end cooler heads prevailed. Now both sides have “kissed and made up”, pledging their combined resources to defeat John McCain.


People feared that Bill Clinton would have too much influence on his wife if she did win the White House. This was not a concern of mine when I voted. Consider this: all but one of the occupants of the Oval Office brought a significant other of some type to Washington with them. Each of these wives or nieces or whatever may have influenced the Commander-in-Chief in some way shape or form. Unfortunately, we may never know how much influence these women exerted. My guess is they had more influence on some of our Presidents than the voters would care to know. Until significant historical evidence is found to the contrary, we’ll have no choice but to give each of these ladies the benefit of the doubt.

This is the political world we’re talking about after all. Influence – good, bad or indifferent — comes with the territory. Even if Bill had the chance to influence Hillary, so what? I recall that there were good economic times during Clinton’s administration. I don’t know about you, but I really miss paying less than $3.00 per gallon for gasoline!

In short, I didn’t vote for Hillary because I did not believe that she was electable, at least not this time around. (TO BE CONTINUED)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Updates: Rick Oliveri and Bitter Pennsylvanians

Recent events and new information have prompted me to post updates on two previous blog entries. Both of these are just FYI and will probably not alter the course of the universe, but I feel in all fairness to everyone involved that an occasional update is warranted. (Take that, Donald Rumsfeld!) Anyway...


In this post, I commented about Barack Obama's overly-criticized remarks that many Pennsylvanians are bitter and cling to their religion and guns. I noted my own experience growing up in Catawissa and explained how the town had several industries and a lumberyard when we moved there in 1970. As a demonstration that Obama was partly correct about industries closing shop in rural Pennsylvania, I concluded my remarks by saying that the lumberyard was the only industry left in Catawissa.

Well, it turns out I spoke too soon. I later learned that the Catawissa lumberyard closed down (temporarily?) several months ago and transferred their operations to another facility in nearby Elysburg. Thank you, Mom, for the new information.

UPDATE: RICK OLIVERI VS. THE SUITS (originally posted 8/31/07)

This was the story of Rick's The Prince of Steaks, which has held a prime vendor spot in Philadelphia’s historic Reading Terminal Market for over 20 years. In the last year, Rick mounted a highly publicized battle with the Market's Board of Directors, who had terminated negotiations for renewing Rick's lease. It was a great battle of a small vendor David with support from the cheesesteak loving public (3,000 signatures on a petition to keep Rick's in the Market) and the other Market vendors against a corporate Goliath.

And the winner is...Goliath! (drat and @#&% it!)

A few weeks ago, Rick's lawsuit against the Market came to court. A previous ruling had struck down all but one of Rick's arguments, and thus he faced an uphill battle on the first day of trial. It didn’t look good, and when it looked like he would be expected to pay the Board's court expenses if he lost, Rick reluctantly conceded. I believe him when he explained that it was a tough decision to make, but unfortunately it was the only decision he could make given the economic reality of the situation.

Rick's will close by the end of October, but he vows to relocate to another Center City location. I wish him luck and will follow him to wherever he goes. In the meantime, Anne Marie and I will plan one last trip to the Reading Terminal Market for another Rick's cheesesteak, and then perhaps never darken the Market's door with our presence again.

I can accept the Market Board wanting to go in a different direction; personally, I see their chosen direction leading to bankruptcy, but what do I know? The Market Board may learn the hard way that their customers will vote with their feet if the Board does not give them what they want. Tourists and conventioneers (meeting upstairs in the Pennsylvania Convention Center) will have to journey farther than the Reading Terminal for an authentic Philadelphia cheesesteak.

The ultimate losers will be the other vendors left in the Market. They are the ones who will suffer the loss from any customer backlash aimed at the Market Board. It is a shame all around. Everyone may lose from this outcome.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Raising McCain

A story is circulating around the Internet about how presumptive presidential nominee John McCain went ballistic on his wife while they were attending a public event. Allegedly, as witnesses recount it, she playfully suggested that his hair was getting thin on top. He is reported to have replied, “At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a (rhymes with polyp), you (rhymes with bunt)!"

And this man wants to be President of the United States, where he’ll have access to the shiny, red button in the Oval Office? Sure, let’s just fast track this psycho to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and each of one can kiss our collective asses good-bye! He presses the button and all of our problems evaporate in a millisecond of eardrum-shattering noise and blinding, incinerating white heat. Ah, I can just hear Vera Lynn singing “We’ll Meet Again” now. Queue it up, everyone sing...

But I digress...

I apologize for veering away from our main topic which is “Loved Ones Saying Nasty Things to Each Other in Public.” First, we must recognize that each of us establishes certain communication patterns in all of our relationships, whether they are friendships, marriages, or relationships within a family or workplace. We all set up rules as to what type of language and communication habits will be allowed in these relationships. These rules are unwritten, but are understood by each person participating in the relationship. (My! I must be channeling Dr. Joyce Brothers, but I digress...)

For example, the communication patterns in a boyfriend/girlfriend situation may be marked by soft, loving words of courtship with occasional moments of physical contact, which is otherwise known as “getting some”. As the relationship matures into a marriage, the speaking tones may become harsher and the language may become stronger. Some people in these relationships even resort to using weapons, such as knives and guns, to more effectively communicate their wants and needs to the other member(s) of the relationship. Ah, but once again I digress...

It appears that the McCain's relationship has developed beyond the soft, soothing language stage, but has not yet graduated into open warfare. At this point, they seem to be in the great no mans land between, what the experts officially describe as “lovey-dovey” and “mortal combat.” We could be over-simplifying their current situation in the harshest light allowable. We could give them the benefit of the doubt and allow that the insults were nothing more than their pet names for each other.

As an example, John could call Cindy a (rhymes with stitch) in a loving and reverential manner. As long as Cindy doesn’t object, what right do we have to quibble? In all fairness to her, Cindy may call John that old (rhymes with, um...rhymes with...bastard). I have a feeling that Cindy may use the word old a lot. In any case, as long as John doesn’t order a napalm strike on her ass, then why should we protest?

In any event, the McCains, as a couple, have set up these communication patterns as an acceptable part of their lives together. This could become advantageous for the entire country, IF he wins in November. After all, they may become so busy calling each other nasty names in the White House that John will never find the time to play with the shiny, red button.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Short Notes – June 2008


The wonderfully funny talented actor passed away last week. He left behind many great comedic moments in film and television. We’ll always remember him for his immortal quote, “That’s Hedley.”


Has anyone noticed that the price of oil per barrel dropped $13 over the last few weeks? Also, did anyone hear that gas consumption in the United States fell by 11 billion drive miles this year – the largest drop since they began tracking drive miles in 1942? I was just wondering because apparently the executives running the oil companies didn’t get this information.

Okay, so what’s the problem now, oil execs? We listened to your stories about gasoline prices being where they should be given the laws of supply and demand. Fine, so the good little boys and girls of America adjusted their lives accordingly. We’re driving less, and taking buses, trains and trolleys more than we used to do. So, you know, we expected to be rewarded with lower prices at the pump. THIS HASN’T HAPPENED! I suppose now you’ll tell us well, there’s a lag time between when crude oil futures are set and the time when that gasoline actually gets to the pumps. Or perhaps you’ll tell us oh well, yes, demand is dropping here, but elsewhere in the world demand is growing and that still impacts our cost here. Blah, blah, blah! Just tell us the truth: you’re nothing but a bunch of greedy capitalistic pinheads who don’t give a damn about anyone but your own bottom line. At least we’ll respect you in the morning if you admit that much!


Scott McClellan recently published his memoir about serving as a press secretary in the Bush administration, and now everyone in said administration is acting like they were stabbed in the back. His experiences confirmed what everyone outside the Bush inner circle knew all along regarding this administration's incompetent factor. Good for him!

Washington insiders are wondering why he didn’t speak up sooner when he was serving in the White House. Okay, I’ll take a stab at this. He may have tried to speak out sooner, believing that he could best effect change by remaining in the belly of the beast. Or perhaps he realized that the Bush White House working environment was not conducive to whistle-blowing or even constructive criticism, so why speak up when he would be rewarded with unemployment. Or perhaps it just took awhile for his conscience to bother him. Others are criticizing why he took so long to say all this when he quit his White House post two years ago. The answer is: it takes time to write tell-all books.

Well, I guess we can cross Scott McClellan’s name off the White House Christmas card list this year!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Oh, Obama! You’re No Fun Anymore!

This week marks the end of the Presidential primary season. The Democratic nomination is still hotly contested. As of today, I don’t know if either Obama or Clinton has enough delegates to clinch the nomination.* My question today is: what happened in California?

Somehow the California primary got by me; I don’t recall hearing the results. I asked Anne Marie about it; she didn’t know either. So how come this big, plump, juicy delegate prize got almost no coverage in the media? Oh that’s right, the media were too busy extracting another apology from Barack Obama.

It appears that once again someone exercised their First Amendment rights and said something wildly stupid while standing at the pulpit of Barack Obama’s church. Once this hit YouTube, the media clamored for an explanation. Their logic dictates that, since Obama is the church member with the highest profile right now, he should offer some excuse for the offending remarks. They expect this even though (a) he was nowhere in the vicinity when the remarks were made, and (b) his remarks or the speaker were not endorsed by Obama’s campaign.

The media – and the Fox News Network in particular – should get a life!

This time the offender was a Catholic priest, who claimed Senator Clinton felt that it is her right to be elected to the White House and how dare this black man (Obama) steal her show. Okay, first of all we should mention that it was a Catholic priest speaking in the pulpit of a Protestant church. I actually view this as a step in the right direction – Catholics and Protestants meeting on common ground. (Are you taking notes, Northern Ireland?) There used to be a time, not so long ago, when Catholic children were encouraged to avert their eyes whenever they walked by a Protestant edifice. Anne Marie was one of these children.

Okay, so we’re over this cultural shock of a priest on foreign ecumenical territory. However, we’re not over the outrageous statements he made there. Obama apparently felt it was his duty (again) to apologize for the remarks. He went one step further by severing ties with the church where he has worshipped for more than 20 years.

Way to go, national media! Not only have you created a tempest out of an insignificant event (again), but you’ve managed to place a wedge between a man and his religious beliefs. I doubt that you saw this as a total victory. After all, how much more fun will Obama be if he is no longer affiliated with this church? Admit it, you’re going to miss him whenever something outrageous happens at the church in the future. Or perhaps you’ll totally ignore the church now that it is no longer newsworthy.

Now that this is all behind us, perhaps Obama can talk about the issues and the problems facing Americans. Now there’s a novel idea, since he’s nearly a candidate for President. While he’s at it, maybe he can answer this: who won California?

*Okay, this was as of June 3, 2008 at 12:55PM EST